20 Strangest Restaurants Around the World


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There's something inherently ridiculous about theme restaurants. It's as if they're saying, "The food's not bad, but get a load of these wacky surroundings!" Yet despite the gimmickry, some of them just plain work. They aren't places most people will dine on a regular basis — and for some college students living on Ramen noodles, they're just a pipe dream — but for the few, the proud, the affluent travelers, they're destinations worth seeking out.

  1. Cabbages and Condoms: This Bangkok restaurant offers after-dinner condoms to its guests, but not as a salacious encouragement to get crazy with your dining partner. The proceeds go to HIV/AIDS prevention in the region and benefits the Population and Community Development Association.
  2. Modern Toilet: Who hasn't been out to dinner and thought, "I wish I were already on the toilet"? Taiwan's Modern Toilet aims to solve that problem (kind of). The commodes at the tables aren't functional, but all the seats are designed to look like toilets, with swirls of soft-servce ice cream dished up in mini-potty dishes. Way more photos than you could ever want are here.
  3. Opaque: The "dark dining" trend might sound cool or awesome, but that's because you haven't done it. Restaurants like Opaque in Los Angeles (which also has locations in San Diego and San Francisco) invite diners to eat in total darkness, as waiters use night-vision goggles to deliver food. To get a feel for the experience, next time you lose your power in a storm, make a sandwich. If it's so much fun you want to do it again but pay $100 per person, give these guys a call.
  4. B.E.D.: The restaurant's title is partly an abbreviation of its tagline ("beverage.entertainment.dining"), but it's really all about beds. Specifically, eating in them. At Miami's B.E.D., you can lounge on a mattress and pillows while you eat, which is both as logistically challenging and depressingly tacky as you'd think. It's one thing to have breakfast in bed at home, but getting dressed up just to lie down again?
  5. Hospitalis: Finally, a restaurant that mixes graphic bodily humor with all the trappings of mental disease! Enjoy the nurse-styled waitresses who feed you while you wear a straitjacket.
  6. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant: Part of the Conrad Maldives resort (located on the island nation in the Indian Ocean), Ithaa sits 16 feet below the surface of the sea, which makes for some impressive views for diners who can overcome their fear of dying underwater should the glass shatter. I'm kidding! It's totally safe, just terrifying.
  7. Dinner in the Sky: Scratch that: this is terrifying. Based in Belgium, Dinner in the Sky takes 22 diners 150 feet into the air by using a special crane to lift their table 15 stories into the sky. Then you eat, if you can still function.
  8. Eternity: When planning your next vacation, consider a stop in the Ukraine, where you can eat inside a giant coffin and have your worst fears realized all at once. Some of the dishes are named after local mourning rituals, just to drive the point home.
  9. Hobbit House: Located in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, Hobbit House chucks political correctness out the window by employing a staff of midgets and referring to them as hobbits. For fans of The Lord of the Rings and demeaning nicknames alike!
  10. Alux: Built in Mexico's Playa del Carmen, Alux is housed in an underground cave discovered in 1994. The natural rock formations are gorgeously lit, providing a unique experience. If you're okay with small spaces, this is definitely worth visiting. They're also on Facebook.
  11. 's Baggers: The confusingly named 's Baggers (I tried putting quote marks around it, but it got even worse) opened a few years ago in Germany with a novel concept: no waiters. Instead, customers are served via a complex system of robots. At least you'll never have to worry about tipping.
  12. The Dining Pod: The Soneva Kiri resort in Thailand offers beautiful beaches, pristine waters, and the ability to eat in a treehouse, like a kid. The woven frame holds four diners and lifts them a relatively safe 16 feet off the ground, just enough to escape foot traffic and the feel of responsibility.
  13. Kayabukiya Tavern: What do monkeys love more than anything? That's right, being dressed as people and pressed into gimmicky service. The Kayabukiya Tavern in Tokyo uses a few macaque monkeys to serve patrons and distribute drinks. Probably not the most hygienic way to enjoy a meal.
  14. Noah's Ark Restaurant: Winston, Oregon, residents can take advantage of Noah's Ark, a restaurant inside a mock ark that's 300 feet long and 75 feet wide. Because nothing says dinnertime like envisioning yourself surviving an apocalyptic deluge.
  15. Calico Cat Cafe: Another Tokyo establishment, the Calico Cat Cafe charges diners an hourly fee to hang out with cats. That's it. Food and drink are extra, but whether you order food or just want to hang out, you can pay to do it with cats playing around you. A cute idea that gets depressing if you think about it too long.
  16. Snow Village's IceBar: Finland can get cold. Like, 4 degrees below zero Fahrenheit cold. If you feel like seeing how much of that cold you can stand, head to Snow Village for a drink at IceBar, where all the interior decorations are made of ice and snow and the whole shebang is inside a giant igloo. Just don't lick anything.
  17. Mars 2112: If not Times Square, then where? Mars 2112 puts a retro sci-fi spin on planetary exploration, with outlandish monster masks for the Martians and a decor that's straight out of 1970s fantasy book covers. But come on, how fun is it to order a Gemini Cheeseburger?
  18. Alcatraz E.R.: Because more meals should feel like you're in an industrial slasher flick, Tokyo offers Alcatraz E.R., which simulates a prison hospital. Diners eat in cells and drink from IVs stocked with stuff that's not blood but looks too much like it for comfort.
  19. The Airplane Restaurant: Colorado Springs is a military town, so it's no surprise you can get a meal in this Boeing KC-97 tanker plane.
  20. Guolizhuang: Last, and certainly the most unsettling, is this Beijing restaurant whose dishes revolve around penises. Yep. The male organs come from deer, horses, seals, ducks, and so many more that you should probably just read for yourself. They're rumored to increase a man's sexual potency, if he can stomach the ride. (The pics alone are terrifying.) Not for the faint of, well, anything.
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