Ever eat in Alcatraz? Dine on Mars? Then it's about time you get a taste of some of the wackiest, weirdest, out-of-this-world restaurants.
Restaurant: Hajime Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand Culinary Concept: Robot run. Owner Lapassarad Thanaphant (pictured) has high hopes for her robot-run restaurant. Thanaphant invested nearly $1 million to purchase four dancing (yes, they also dance!) robots who serve diners Japanese delicacies.
Eating with Sharks
Restaurant:Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Rangali Island, Maldives Culinary Concept: Fish-eye view. Ever dine on octopus and oysters surrounded by octopus and oysters? Well, you can do just that at the luxurious Ithaa restaurant beneath the Indian Ocean. Ithaa, meaning "pearl," sits between three and six feet below sea level (depending on the tides) and weighs over 200 tons, so the chef won't drift out to sea. On the menu: crustaceans and wild game.
New Meaning for Noodle Bowl
Restaurant:Modern Toilet, Taipei, Taiwan Culinary Concept: Bathroom themed. If you're into poop jokes (and can get over the gross-out factor), then you will find this toilet-themed restaurant plenty entertaining. Guests slurp up Asian noodles from commode-shaped bowls while sitting on their very own can. Keep the seat down.
On the Rocks
Restaurant:Laino Snow Village Ice Restaurant, Ylläsjärvi, Finland Culinary Concept: Ikea meets igloo. Just north of the Arctic Circle the winters are cold enough to sustain Snow Village's Ice Restaurant for the season. Inside the 200-square-meter all-natural ice structure, diners sit on solid-ice chairs at solid-ice tables while savoring local fare like cream of Lappish potato soup with cold smoked salmon, tender reindeer, and game meatballs served with — what else? — vodka-lingonberry jelly.
Floating in Air
Restaurant:Dinner in the Sky, worldwide Culinary Concept: Suspended supper. Dinner in the Sky brings new meaning to alfresco dining. If you have $40,000 to spare, you and 21 of your closest friends can lavishly dangle 150 feet above any city (or golf course) while conspicuously consuming beef and foie gras mille-feuille (savory layered puff pastry) and sipping Dom Pérignon.
Restaurant:Yellow Treehouse Restaurant, Auckland, New Zealand Culinary Concept: Treehouse treats. Using resources from inside the Yellow Pages, Pacific Environments architects constructed this pod-shaped eatery accessed by an 180-foot "treetop" walkway. There, 18 diners savored a multicourse menu that included pan-fried lamb loins with baby beetroot and mandarin salad with caramelized garlic. (Unfortunately, the restaurant was just a temporary project and has since closed.)
Wine for Whiners
Restaurant: Le Refuge des Fondus, Paris, France Culinary Concept: Bottle service. As rumor has it, this favorite tourist attraction in the Montmartre neighborhood first began offering patrons wine in baby bottles as a way to avoid the French tax on wine served in proper glasses. While sucking down the grape juice, winos can fill their bellies with toothsome cheese or beef fondues.
Life on Mars
Restaurant:Mars 2112, Times Square, New York City Culinary Concept: Earthling eats. NASA predicted by 2112 we'd be making commercial flights to Mars. Why wait for the airfare wars when you can pay a visit right in New York's Times Square? Upon arrival, friendly Martians guide hungry earthlings into the hot, dry, red planet, where they can dine on the Martian Seafood Platter — exotic ocean shellfish, squid, shrimp, mussels with a spicy seafood sauce.
Beverages Behind Bars
Restaurant:Alcatraz E.R., Tokyo, Japan Culinary Concept: In(ti)mate atmosphere. If you were ever curious (and who isn't?) about life in a medical prison, Tokyo's Alcatraz E.R. will serve that sentence. Diners are handcuffed upon arrival and taken to their "cells," where they can choose from a list of bizarre elixirs served in blood-transfusion apparatus by hospital orderlies.
Dining in the Dark
Restaurant:Opaque, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, CA Culinary Concept: Blind taste-test. At Opaque, patrons are led into the restaurant by visually impaired or blind employees to experience dining in the dark. The absence of light allows the senses to spring into action, enhancing the smell, taste, and texture of favorites like luscious mango panna cotta with coconut crème anglaise.
The Long and Winding Road
Restaurant: 's Baggers, Nuremberg, Germany Culinary Concept: Roller-coaster service. At this futuristic eatery, the waitstaff is a thing of the past. Guests place their orders via a touch-screen computer at each table. When the food — which, according to the restaurant, is based primarily on local, organic ingredients and cooked with minimal fat — is ready, it zips to the table along a twisting track from the kitchen above.
Ancient Japanese Underworld
Restaurant:Ninja New York, New York, NY Culinary Concept: Japanese warrior fare. Forget Ninja Turtles. This Japanese venue with a labyrinth-like interior was modeled after an ancient Ninja castle. After your waiter impresses you with his gravity-defying acrobatics, dine on the Katana, a $50 prime steak marinated in teriyaki sauce, and finish the ninja-filled night with the smoking piña colada-assorted diced fruits with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream sinking in a mysterious pineapple coconut pond. Don't forget your sword.
Restaurant:The Airplane Restaurant, Colorado Springs, CO Culinary Concept: Mile-high meals. Onboard this grounded 1953 Boeing KC-97 tanker, diners feast on atypical airline food like the Reuben von Crashed — tender corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing served on fresh marble rye bread.