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:
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: 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
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: 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
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: 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
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: 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
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: 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.
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: 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.
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: 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
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: 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
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: @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
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: 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!
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Hobbit House, Manila, Philippines
Though everything about this place may strike you as politically-incorrect, the waitstaff here seem to be perpetually upbeat. The owner was so inspired by the Lord of the Rings and thus created this place. Over 150 beers are available.
1212 Arquiza Trade Center, M.h. del Pilar St.Corner Arquiza, Ermita, (+632) 521-76-04
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Fortezza Medicea Jail Restaurant, Pisa, Italy
At an Italian prison in 2006, officials began operating a restaurant within the prison as a kind of social experiment and rehabilitation tool, using inmates as staff. The project was successful, and now attracts clients from all over the world. There are many inconveniences to dining in the Fortezza, reservations require a thorough background check and the OK from Italy’s Department of Justice, and all cutlery is plastic.
Fortezza Medicea Restaurant, via del Castello, Volterra; +39 058 886 099
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: NG Meat Bar, Tel Aviv, Israel
They’re website labels themselves as a “romantic place to eat”, but the scene can get downright barbaric. Their famous “Barbarian Meal” is served without cutlery or plates, and the guests are sitting around a large table and feasting on large chunks of meat with their bare hands.
6th Ehad Ha’am St., Neve Tsedek, +972 3 516 7888; www.ngrestaurant.co.il
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Pyongyang (Chain), Multiple Locations
Pyongyang is a restaurant actually commissioned and operated by the North Korean government. It aims to bring a taste of North Korea to the outside world, one of the rare glimpses that an outsider may get of this secretive regime. Menu items include barbecued cuttlefish and dog meat soup. Royalties are paid back to the North Korean government, and the staff is comprehensively screened for loyalty to their government.
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Heart Attack Grill, Las Vegas, USA
Recently winning a Guinness World Record for the most calorific burger (1.444kg/3lb 2.94oz Quadruple Bypass Burger has 9,982 calories!), the Heart Attack Grill doesn’t hold back. Fries are proudly cooked in pure lard, and burgers are served with bacon and doubled, tripled, and quadrupled.
450 Fremont St., Las Vegas; www.heartattackgrill.com
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Hajime Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand
This Bangkok, Thailand restaurant has dancing robots as waitstaff!
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Lainio Snow Village Ice Bar, Ylläsjärvi, Finland
Located in Western part of Lapland in Finland, the Lainio Snow Village’s Ice Bar is decorated entirely of ice and snow. In the ice restaurant you can choose your dinner from an á la carte menu.
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Alcatraz E.R., Tokyo, Japan
This restaurant is supposed to resemble a prison hospital, and menu items include intestines and penis, both made from sausages, and other horrifically wonderful treats. The nurse waitstaff handcuff you, pretend to inject a giant syringe into your ass, and then lock you in a cell.
2F Harvest Bldg, 2-13-5 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku; +81 3 3770 7100
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Muru Pop Down, Tytyri Mine, Lohja, Finland
Opposite of a pop-up space, the creators of Muru call this a “pop down”, because they took over a mine and quickly assembled a restaurant there. Menu items look quite appealing.
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: The Exchange Bar & Grill, New York City, USA
The Exchange Bar & Grill is set up to look like a stock exchange trading floor. Prices of drinks fluctuate with supply and demand.
256 3rd Avenue, (646) 596-9039, Exchange Bar and Grill
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Kinderkookkafé, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Children 2 through 12 can construct their own meals, and then wait in the play area until their creation is out of the oven. They are then called to the kitchen to deliver it to the table for the older guests.
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: ‘s Baggers, Nuremberg, Germany
At ‘S Baggers, there are no waiters. Instead “all good things come from above: freshly prepared, delicious meals and drinks ordered per touch screen are transported on metallic tracks directly to your table.” Gravity-fed tracks carry your order down from the kitchen directly to your table.
Am Steinacher Kreuz 28, D-90427 Nuremberg, +49 (0) 911 / 477 90 9
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Special Enjoyment, Chongqing, China
An A380-themed restaurant in China, guests are secluded in their own private booths designed to resemble the jet engines of the giant aircraft.
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Yellow Treehouse Restaurant, Warkworth, New Zealand
Located 45 minutes from Auckland, the pod-shaped restaurant is situated 10 meters up in a Redwood tree. Access to the pod is by an elevated walkway that winds its way up and is attached to adjacent trees.
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Disaster Café, Lloret de Mar, Spain
How weird would it be if you were eating dinner and then a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck during the meal? That’s what happens at the Disaster Cafe all the time. The underground, cave-like restaurant has times when the lights go out and then the whole place starts to shake, and guests must try to keep their balance and their drinks from being spilled.
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Restophone, Montpellier, France
This adult restaurant has telephones on every table and all other places in the bar and on the dance floor. Guests can call people they find attractive at other tables, using the concept to break the ice.
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Kagaya, Tokyo, Japan
Simply a weird restaurant, the restaurant’s owner is constantly donning new outfits, playing with puppets, singing, and so much more that it is hard to describe. Labeled by many as the wackiest restaurant in Tokyo, and that says a lot.
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Dr. Fish Cafe, Seoul, South Korea
At this little coffee shop, your feet go into a little tub filled with tiny fish which nibble at the dead skin on your soles as you sip your coffee.
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Imperial Herbal Restaurant, Singapore
At this restaurant in Singapore, the waitress will feel your pulse and take your temperature, and then “prescribe” you your meal.
Weirdest Theme Restaurants: Cabbages & Condoms, Bangkok, Thailand
This restaurant is the only one that has food that “is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy”. Menu items include things such as the ‘Spicy Condom Salad’. The restaurant benefits the Population and Community Development Association (PDA), a non-governmental organization with the aim to complement the efforts of the Royal Thai Government in promoting family planning in Thailand.
98 Moo 6, Phya Yen Sub-district, Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima 30320, 0-3622-7065, website