Restaurants have become more of a fad than a place where people go to relax and enjoy a good meal. Throughout recent years, people have been challenging restaurants as well as its owners to provide them with an “alternative dining experience”. In order to meet the customers’ demands, several men and women have created a new meaning to “adventurous eating” and “dinner with a view”. While some do it in the name of love for food and the industry, some just want to attract customers using weird alternative techniques. From a toilet-themed joint in Taiwan, to a skyview hotel that provides impressive views; here are 10 eateries that take weirdness to the next level. Read on to find out more…
1. Modern Toilet: Taipei, Taiwan
If you thought that a restaurant you visited was bad, then you might want to reconsider. Modern Toilet in Taipei, Taiwan literally serves you food out of a steaming hot toilet.
Taiwan is a place that is filled with weird businesses and restaurants; such as the Hello Kitty Kitchen, a hospital themed restaurant named D.S. Music Restaurant (beer is served in the form of an IV drip) and many more. To take the weirdness meter to a whole new level, Taiwan recently opened a new restaurant known as Modern Toilet. Strangely enough, it is a highly successful restaurant that focuses on all things latrine.
The owners of this latrine based restaurant, Wang Tzi-Wei and Dao Ming Zi, got the inspiration while watching a Japanese cartoon. The duo first thought of serving doodie-shaped ice cream and chocolate, naturally, in Japanese toilets. Their idea became a sensation and before you know it, a full-scale restaurant based on the loo-hole was started.
2. Robot Restaurant: Tokyo, Japan
Every night in a basement in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district, women in bikinis perform mock battles on stage – all while you enjoy a hot meal.
3. Dinner in the Sky
For thrill seekers and adventurers, this is surely an amazing thing. Otherwise, if you are someone like me, who is afraid of heights, this would be a total nightmare.
If you were to see a giant crane in the middle of the city, the first thing that may come to your mind is: “I wonder what’s up on that crane?”. Oh nothing, just a small dinner party known as “Dinner in the Sky”. This unusual concept was born in Belgium in 2006. Today, adventurers and those wanting an adrenaline pump during their meal, can enjoy this in over 55 countries. A giant crane suspends a table in mid-air while the guests are strapped into the seats.
In order to provide a complete and delicious dining experience, three chefs will be hopping on with you, 150 feet in the air. Each session, or table, is capable of seating a maximum of 22 people and one can eat everything from sashimi rolls to a steak dinner. Don’t get too excited though, since each seat will cost you a minimum of €250, or around $280 at today’s conversion rates. According to Forbes magazine, Dinner in the Sky is one of the world’s ten most unusual restaurants.
4. Kayabukiya Tavern: Utsunomiya, Tochigi
When you think that you have just seen it all, Japan comes up with something new to make us facepalm again. Kayabukiya Tavern is a traditional Japanese “sake-house” restaurant where monkey business delights customers.
The monkeys also provide entertainment by performing tricks on a makeshift stage with the help of masks, drums, hoops and other stage props. Kaoru Otsuka makes sure that the monkeys are well fed and maintained. He also limits the amount of time they spend in the restaurant – roughly one or two hours each day. The human staff is also careful with the monkeys and do not allow them to handle food within the restaurant. According to Kaoru,
“The monkeys are trained. They won’t take food from customers. Even when eating their own food, they won’t eat until the owner says they can. They’re very smart. We raised them since they were babies. They probably think they are humans.”
5. Giraffe Manor: Nairobi, Kenya
Love giraffes and dream of dining with them? Then look no further than Giraffe Manor. Here, you can not only watch them roam around freely, you can also share your food with them as they poke their heads inside.
This unique restaurant is located in the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. The Carr-Hartley family shared their big and beautiful manor estate with these wonderful and endangered creatures. The hotel opened in 1984, sprawls across 140 acres and is home to eight giraffes. Even though it’s small in size, the hotel provides its guests with a one of a kind experience by allowing them to hang out with these gentle giants. Every morning, the giraffes approach the house and poke their heads inside through the windows and doors looking for morning treats. Guests can have breakfast with them, take pictures or interact with them through the second floor windows.
The manor estate provides a unique experience but it definitely comes with a huge price tag. There are only 10 rooms in the estate and if you wish to get one, you have to pay a minimum of $500 per person. It might be a bit expensive, but will surely be an incredible life experience. The Giraffe Manor is not only a sanctuary for these gentle creatures, they also run a breeding program in order to save them from the brink of extinction. A weird and wonderful place that is surely working for a great cause.
6. Seva Cafe: Gujarat, India
Imagine a restaurant with no prices and at the end of your meal you are served with a bill that reads, 0.00₹ ($0) with this footnote:
“Your meal was a gift from someone who came before you. To keep the chain of gifts alive, we invite you to pay it forward for those who dine after you.”
The Seva Cafe, located in Ahmedabad, India, started as an experiment in ‘peer to peer’ generosity. Today, the small social experiment has grown into one of the country’s largest and best services. The restaurant is driven by volunteers and modest staff who operate it six days a week. Guests are greeted with a smile and hug at the entrance and meals are cooked and served to everyone as a genuine gift. The circle of giving continues with the help of contributors who wish to pay-it-forward.
The cafe follows the motto “Atithi Devo Bhava”, which translates to “The Guest is God” – a deep and ancient Indian view that honors each guest with reverence. People who visit the cafe are not treated as guests, but as part of their family. With the help of smiling and generous volunteers, people often describe the place to feel closer to home than that of a restaurant. The idea of pay-it-forward or gift economy was started by Anupreet Dhody along with Susheel Nair. According to Anupreet,
“The idea is to connect with people, exchange ideas and make a change.”
7. Cat Cafe: Shinjuku, Tokyo Prefecture
If you are someone who is in love with furry felines, then this is the right place for you. Cat Cafes are now popular in Tokyo. Since the opening of the first ‘feline’ cafe on June 1, 1998, it has grown to ten such cafes; spread throughout Tokyo Prefecture.
Even though we might think that it would be weird to eat at a place filled with cats, the view and experience is nothing new to Tokyo and its residents. The cafes are part animal shelters and are more of a sanctuary for cats who suffered any form of injury. If a guest is interested in adopting one during a visit, the cafes make that possible, too. Basically, the restaurants are not only a place where you can relax with a coffee and enjoy a bit of feline company, they are also adoption centers for the furry creatures.
If the guests are only interested in having them as company, the cafes accommodate. Guests can even buy canned shredded chicken and feed the cats as they are sipping their coffee. For those who are afraid of cats and do not wish to have the cats climbing over them, there’s a small room covered with glass.
8. Disaster Cafe: Lloret de Mar, Spain
What’s better than partaking of a lovely meal whilst experiencing simulated earthquakes? That’s exactly what you get at Disaster Cafe – a 7.8 on the Richter Scale earthquake.
Guests who dine in the restaurant have to be alert at all times, to make sure that they are not spilling their drinks. Since the 7.8 earthquakes occur randomly, it shakes the unsuspecting guests pretty good. When the simulated earthquake occurs, the lights burn out and everything from spoons to tables start shaking. The guests have no other choice but to wait until the session is over, to take the next bite of their bread.
9. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant: Rangali Island, Maldives
The Ithaa Undersea Restaurant in Maldives is surrounded by coral reef. In order to access the clear glass dome that is located underwater, visitors have to climb down a spiral staircase at the end of a jetty.
The curved roof, which looks like a tunnel, is located five meters below sea level at the Hilton Maldives Resort and Spa. The restaurant offers its guests an amazing view of the thriving underwater life. The restaurant started in 2005 and was designed by M.J. Murphy Ltd., a design consultancy based in New Zealand. One might think that in order to have a meal underwater with a 120-degree panoramic view would surely cost a fortune. Ithaa charges a minimum of $120 per lunch for those who stay at their hotel.
The underwater dome also qualifies as the world’s largest aquarium tunnel. Since the restaurant is placed in a location where sea conditions are extreme, it is estimated that the dome would only last for a mere 20 years. Although the view might seem scary for some, the unique restaurant offers one to enjoy a good meal at sea level.
10. Ninja New York: New York
If you have not heard of Ninja New York, located in Tribeca, I wouldn’t be surprised. Like the Ninjas, the restaurant hides in plain sight. The special occasion dining spot is worth a shot, especially if you have kids.
The restaurant is filled with ninjas that jump out from the shadows and surprise you with screams or magic tricks. Guests are served with continental and Japanese foods along with Ninja Art Dishes that involves some kind of theater as they are served (often including fire or sharp knives). Ninja New York is not a children’s restaurant but it is very kid-friendly and ninjas often appear from the shadows and give small Japanese toys, origami and stickers to them. The restaurant that focuses on dreary subterranean labyrinth costs as much as $200 for a family of four.