15 of the World's Most Unusual & Unique Restaurants

Whether you’re a passionate foodie or just want to tell everyone you sat at a flying table — we have you covered. Take your travel and dining plans to the next level with a booking at one of the world’s most unusual restaurants.

🇵🇪 Central, Lima

The fishy dish ceviche alone should make any foodie want to travel to Latin America’s culinary capital. What makes Central so special, though, is that it is not only one of Lima’s finest, but the best restaurant in the entire world. Its exemplary menu reflects a passion for home and the environment, with dishes centred around Peru’s ecosystem.

The ingredients itself are grown all across different altitudes, the highest being over 4000 meters. Despite being 16 courses long, each dish is ingenious and rich both in taste and origin. It is no wonder that chefs from everywhere are desperate to know the secret behind Central’s success.

🇺🇸 Safe House, Wisconsin

Unassuming Wisconsin has a trick up its sleeve. Tucked away in downtown Milwaukee is the Safe House hiding in plain sight. Like a John le Carré novel sprung to life, the catch to getting in is a secret password. You might need to ask around, but rumour has it that politely following the doorman’s instructions can also get you inside.

Packed with Cold War memorabilia, this otherwise friendly restaurant is a great place to take friends or family for a meal. Despite the USSR flag painted on the wall, the menu is more ‘All-American’ — including a Mission Impossible burger, should you choose to accept it.

Photo: Downtown Milwaukee.

🇫🇷 Dans le Noir, Paris

Dining in the dark is a concept that has been around for a while, but it all began in 2004: when what would be the first of many Dans le Noir restaurants was opened in Paris. The idea is that by removing a sense, the dining experience both in ambience and taste is altogether enhanced. But Dans le Noir has other surprises in store: from a mystery menu to randomised seating arrangements.

If the courses are not thrilling enough, you can also take part in an additional escape room. For 1 hour, embrace the extra-terrestrial as you take on a planet-conquering mission in pitch black.

🇩🇰 Alchemist, Copenhagen

Technically, Alchemist is dinner and a show. If you replace romantic music played over three courses with a 7-hour long, 50 course spectacle where you participate in the choreography. Immersive theatre is a fitting description for Alchemist; the gritty message it sends is uncensored and overt.

People who have seen ‘The Menu’ may be perturbed by Alchemist, whose reservations sell out in lightning speed despite the high price-point. But this 2-time Michelin Star winning restaurant embraces horror in every sense, going so far as to serve a course inside a mannequin head…

Photo copyright: ©Photo Søren Gammelmark: @gammelmarkphoto.

🇬🇧 Cue Point, London

Unique doesn’t always have to equal a gimmick. Cue Point’s innovation is all about the food: blending together Afghan and British palates to create the ultimate (and inclusive) BBQ. Its smoky flavours go beyond slabs of meat — as even the vegan options are integral to the menu rather than just an afterthought.

Cue Point reinvents Afghan classics like Borani Kadoo, and adds its own twist to Tex-Mex dishes with Nacos: think tacos but with fluffy naan bread. But this inclusivity is not only apparent across the menu, but behind the scenes as well. From crowd-funding campaigns to their open support of refugees, Cue Point are forward-thinkers that are changing the game both in and outside the kitchen.

🇫🇮 Ice Restaurant, Lapland

Top off an already magical trip to Lapland with a visit to the Ice Restaurant, made almost entirely out of ice and snow. This awe-inspiring igloo is the closest thing to Queen Elsa’s ice palace, where kids under 14 can dine for €40 (15+ dine for twice the price).

Its dress code is the more layers, the better: with the hotel able to provide blankets or layers to keep you extra cosy. As is the case with anything in Lapland, booking far in advance is recommended.

Photo copyright: ©Tomi Kurtakko, Lapland Hotels.

🏝️The Rock, Zanzibar

Dinner by the sea is already romantic, but this location adds some drama to a traditional 3 course meal. Accessible either by path or via boat, this bookings-only restaurant is simplicity elevated: a no-fuss approach that allows the Rock’s natural beauty to shine.

Its ingredients are almost exclusively locally sourced, with its signature dishes being the Rock special or green tanzanite. Its menu also includes 1 main and dessert option for vegan patrons —  those being a green curry and chocolate mousse.

🇪🇬 9 Pyramids Lounge, Giza

Is there a better backdrop for a meal than the Great Pyramids? Whilst there are a handful of restaurants in Egypt that  overlook 1  of the world’s 7 wonders, none come as close as the 9 Pyramids Lounge: where you are mere minutes away from the stunning complexes.

Although the food is decent, what makes the 9 Pyramids Lounge so special is the unobstructed view: accessible at an affordable cost. Main courses start at 115 EGP: only €3.3. Since the Great Pyramids can get super crowded, the 9 Pyramids Lounge is a great alternative that still helps you tick off your bucket list.

Photo: Pyramids of Giza at sunset.

🇰🇪 Ali Barbour Cave, Kenya

You may have visited a restaurant with an open ceiling before, but have you ever dined inside a cave? Located inside a natural formation that is over 120,000 years old, the Ali Barbour restaurant looks like it came out of a storybook. Whilst this spot is magical in the daytime, the candlelit evening ambience is truly enchanting.

🇦🇪 Dinner in the Sky, Dubai

Forget rooftop restaurants. First invented in Belgium in 2007, ‘Dinner in the Sky’ has taken cities all over the world by storm. Being suspended 50 meters high may sound implausible, but in true Dubai style, this panoramic experience is not only efficiently organised but rather glamorous… So long as you don’t look down.

🇹🇭 Treepod Dining at Soneva Kiri, Thailand

Treepod Dining is similar in concept to ‘Dinner in the Sky’, but swap out the sea of skyscrapers for a wild jungle landscape overlooking the ocean. If sitting in the world’s coolest treehouse is not cool enough, the staff will amaze you. Like Tarzan, your waiter flies to your pod via zipline — all without dropping a single plate.

🇲🇾 Tamarind Springs, Malaysia

Dining in the heart of Malaysia’s forest is a full-body experience. This restaurant & spa is a getaway into paradise, where traditional plates of Indochinese cuisine melt into your mouth. From the electrifying Kuala Lumpur to the diverse scenery outside the capital, Tamarind Springs captures the culinary essence of Selangor.

🇸🇬 Ocean Restaurant, Singapore

Beyond the glass of Singapore’s most opulent aquarium is 40,000 sea creatures — from your classic angel and butterfly fish, to not-so-pretty barracudas. Coming face to face with a hammerhead shark may make you jump, but the captivating manta rays will soothe you soon after.

It can be difficult to find a novelty restaurant where the menu lives up to the vision. But Ocean Restaurant carries out this task with ease, opting for seafood in the style of modern European cuisine.

🇰🇷 Ddong Café, Seoul

Toilet themed restaurants are a thing — no matter how questionable it sounds. Rather than looking grim, Seoul’s own Ddong Café is charming and quite aesthetically pleasing: once you become desensitised to all the poop emojis everywhere.

Themed cafes in South Korea are known for going all out, but who would have guessed that lattes in toilet shaped mugs would be anything but off-putting? There are a few hot meals to pick from, including spaghetti and cream cheese risotto. But this café is best for those with a sweet tooth, as the menu’s most popular item tends to be waffles served with chocolate ice cream. Yes, even the food is ‘Ddong’-shaped.

🇯🇵 Pokémon Café, Japan

No one does quirky quite like Japan. Whilst there are an abundance of unique eateries throughout the country, nothing comes close to the Pokémon Café. Despite its cutesy design, getting a reservation here is more competitive than Whitney’s Miltank.

The Pikachu, Eevee and Snorlax plates are almost too adorable to eat. Ordering a latte is a must, although deciding on a Pokémon stencil can be challenging given that there are 55 to pick from across the first 5 games. Who will you choose to be your starter?

Pssst. If you want to more Pokémon themed travel inspiration, check out our article on the franchise’s real life locations here.

Photograph: Poke ball.
The header image for this article is of Alchemist in Copenhagen. It was taken by Søren Gammelmark: @gammelmarkphoto.
Starting from Skratch? Here are some links to help you get started:
Expanding your palate? Get the scoop on where to go next with our Food Guides series.

Which restaurant is for you? 🍽️

For the food 😋

🇵🇪 Central

🇬🇧 Cue Point

🏝️The Rock

For the views 😍

🇪🇬 9 Pyramids Lounge

🇹🇭 Treepod Dining

🇲🇾 Tamarind Springs

🇸🇬 Ocean Restaurant

For the vibes 😎

🇺🇸 Safe House

🇫🇷 Dans le Noir

🇰🇷 Ddong Café

🇯🇵 Pokémon Café

For the bragging rights 💁

🇩🇰 Alchemist

🇫🇮 Ice Restaurant

🇰🇪 Ali Barbour Cave

🇦🇪 Dinner in the Sky

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Hannah Douch
December 19, 2023
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