When traveling, most people go to see the wonderful attractions and sights that a specific city might have to offer, but eating at a restaurant there can be rather mundane. For the bored tourist, looking for another kind of attraction to experience, many cities offer restaurants revolving around a specific theme, and some of those restaurants are downright weird. Some have bizarre cuisine, others show off their weird and/or talented waitstaff, and still others cater to specific fetishes. Here are some of the best ones, in no particular order:
1. Ninja New York, New York City, USA
Ninja New York offers guests a bizarre dining experience. The restaurant is below ground, and an elevator lets diners out onto a “secret path” where there are ninjas that pop out of the woodwork (literally), ready to scare the bejeezus outta them. Guests sit down at a table with throwing stars and other ninja paraphernalia. But the near heart attacks continue during the meal, as ninjas pretend to throw plates at you like said throwing stars to make you flinch, while yelling and then running off. Take a Xanax with you.
25 Hudson St., New York; +1 (212) 274-8500; www.ninjanewyork.com
2. Guo Li Zhuang, Beijing, China
This restaurant is all about genitalia. Dishes are prepared from the penises and testicles of animals such as horses, oxen, donkeys, dogs, deer, goats, sheep, and snakes. If putting cooked genitals in your mouth makes you queasy, they also serve more family-friendly fare, such as stewed deer face, sheep fetus in brown garlic sauce, and peacock claws. Yum!
34-3 Dongsi Shitiao, Dongcheng District, +86 (010) 8411 6666
3. Modern Toilet, Taipei, Taiwan
Every seat in the house is a real toilet, food is served in miniature versions of an actual porcelain throne, and drinks come in mini urinals. The entire place is adorned with things found in a common bathroom: tile, shower heads, plungers, etc. The signature dessert is chocolate ice cream swirled to resemble shit, served in a mini toilet, of course.
2F, No 7, Lane 50, Xi Ning South Road, Taipei; +886 2 2311 8822; www.moderntoilet.com
4. Dans le Noir, Paris, France (& Multiple Locations)
Dans le Noir is a concept restaurant with multiple locations, started in Paris, that offers what they call “dark dining” or “blind dining”. Guests are seated in a pitch-black dining environment, served by waitstaff who are actually blind, and it is meant to flip the tables – to let people feel how it is like to be blind and to put them in an environment where blind people are comfortable. Patrons choose from different fixed-menu options, such as “Blue” or “White” and must use only their taste to determine what it is they are eating. One drawback – diners, unaccustomed to the dark surroundings, usually yell to make themselves heard; not the most romantic of date ideas. Other locations in London, Barcelona, New York, St. Petersburg, and Kiev.
51, rue Quincampoix 75004 Paris; 01 42 77 98 04
5. Nyotaimori, Japan
Not one restaurant, Nyotaimori (Japanese for “female body presentation”) is the Japanese concept of eating sushi, sashimi, or other edibles directly off of a naked female body (Nantaimori is the same practice using a male model). Often referred to as “body sushi,” nyotaimori is not legal in many countries, due to the hygienic issues at play, and it is not really popular in Japan. Many people also object as they consider the models objects, though others consider it art or just plain fun.
6. Eternity, Truskavets, Ukraine
Located in the small Ukrainian town of Truskavets near the Polish border, this coffin-themed restaurant is the work of some funeral parlor workers. The joint itself is 20 meters long, six meters high and resembles a casket. On the menu are salads such as the “Nine Day Salad” and “Forty Day Salad”, named after local mourning rituals, and a dish called “Let’s Meet in Paradise”.
Can’t locate an address, but it is somewhere in Truskavets/Lviv, Ukraine.
7. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Alif Dhaal Atoll, Maldives
Ithaa Undersea Restuarant is Conrad Hilton Hotel Maldives’s unique restaurant, the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant, located 16 feet below sea level on Rangali Island. Guests enjoy 180° views of reef and marine views, while sipping champagne cocktails and eating the Maldivian-Western fusion cuisine.
Conrad Hotel Maldives, Rangali Island 2034; +960 668 0629
8. Izakaya Kayabuki/Kayabukiya Tavern, Utsunomiya, Japan
Tokyo is hands-down the winner when it comes to weird and unusual restaurants, and this place is one of the many. Here one gets served drinks by two Japanese Macaque monkeys, named Yat-chan and Fuku-chan, who are both employees who receive their wages in the form of soybeans.
4688-13 Miyukihoncho, Tochigi Prefecture, 028-662-3751
9. @Home Maid Cafe, Tokyo, Japan
There are almost 300 maid cafes in Japan now, and the idea has really taken hold in Japanese culture. Basically, women dressed as maids will serve the food and do all sorts of cute little numbers, all while calling the patrons “master” and singing. They also chant “moe moe kyun” over your drinks to make them tastier.
Mitsuwa Building 4F-7F, Soto-Kanda 1-11-4, Chiyoda-ku, tel. 03 5846 1616, www.cafe-athome.com
10. Dinner In The Sky, Multiple Locations
Dinner in the Sky in a concept by a Belgian designer that allows people to eat in a fancy dining room suspended by a crane 50 meters over a location of the client’s choosing. Instead of reservations, one must book the entire set for 8 hours at a time, probably costing a small fortune. But the views are hard to beat!