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The 20 Most Unique Restaurant Ideas Around The World

Dining, at its heart, is all about the food. But there are only so many ways to cook chicken, and it seems like they’ve all been done. So what’s a discerning restaurateur to do to make her restaurant stand out? Offer a distinctive dining experience as well as delicious food.

In this article, the experts at Sling reveal the most unique restaurant ideas from around the world. Use them as inspiration for your own dining establishment.

20 Unique Restaurant Ideas

1) El Diablo – Lanzarote, Spain

Restaurant in Spain

Source: CuriousHalt.com

What makes El Diablo in Lanzarote, Spain so unique? It’s perched atop an active volcano. If that’s not unique enough for you, how about this: all the food is cooked on a basalt grill built over a crack in the earth that uses the volcano’s geothermal energy. Grill temperatures regularly reach 840-930 degrees Fahrenheit, so all three courses at El Diablo cook very quickly.

And if you’re worried about an eruption while dining, rest easy. Experts regularly monitor the mountain’s activity, and volcanologists have certified the restaurant No Immediate Death By Volcano.

2) The Disaster Cafe – Lloret de Mar, Spain

At The Disaster Cafe in Lloret de Mar, Spain, they take the words, “Shaken, not stirred,” to a whole new level. You’ll enjoy delicious food, stellar customer service, and…periodic 7.8 earthquakes throughout the evening. These tremors are man-made, but they make for an unforgettable dining experience.

No one has been injured while dining at The Disaster Cafe—the staff wears construction helmets and other safety equipment—but spilled drinks and food are very common.

3) O.Noir – Toronto, Canada

Want to take a picture of the fare at O.Noir in Toronto, Canada? Good luck! Guests are seated and served in total darkness. There are no flashlights, cell phones, matches, cigarette lighters, luminous watches, or anything else that gives off light. 

Without the use of your sight, you rely on your touch, taste, and smell to experience the food in completely new ways. It’s a sensual pleasure (as in gratification of the senses) like no other. And if dining in the dark isn’t enough for you, all the wait staff at O. Noir are visually impaired, if not completely blind.

4) Ithaa – Rangali Island, Maldives

Restaurant in Rangali Island

Source: ConradHotels3.Hilton.com

Ithaa—which means ‘mother of pearl’ in the Maldivian language of Dhivehi—on Rangali Island in the Maldives is the world’s first and only under-sea restaurant. But the experience goes well beyond just dining 16 feet under water.

Up to 14 guests at a time are offered 180-degree panoramic views of the vibrant coral gardens and marine life through Ithaa’s transparent walls. Considered one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world, Ithaa truly is a dining experience that has to be seen to be believed.

5) Sur un Arbre Perche – Paris, France

Sur un Arbre Perche (French for ‘On a Perched Tree’) in Paris, France seats guests in a swing for the duration of their stay. If you’re concerned about motion sickness while trying to eat, you can relax. Regular (i.e., stationary) tables are available for the less adventurous who just want to focus on the fine French food.

6) Villa Escudero – San Pablo, Philippines

Restaurant ideas from the Philippines

Source: Traveling-Up.com

Have you ever wanted to enjoy a meal while seated at the base of a waterfall? At Villa Escudero in San Pablo, Philippines, now you can. And we’re not talking about sitting at a table on dry land.

Guests here can experience what it’s like to dine IN the gently flowing water of a man-made river after it cascades over a hydroelectric waterfall. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to swim. The water at Villa Escudero is only 12 inches deep.

7) Tongabezi Lodge – Livingstone, Zambia

Restaurant in Zambia

Source: TongaBezi.com

At Tongabezi Lodge in Livingstone, Zambia, you can choose to dine with other guests or at a private table on one of three open-air dining decks, or in the dining room and bar. Doesn’t sound unique enough? The dining decks are raised like treehouse chalets and jut out over the Zambezi River. This allows diners to experience a Zambian sunset dinner like no other.

Guests at the Tongabezi Lodge can also choose to dine on a traditional sampan (boat) that is attended by waiters who deliver each course by canoe.

8) Ichiran – New York City, New York

Most of the time, dining is about both food and conversation. But at Ichiran in New York City, New York, they want to enhance the sensory experience of their guests by doing away with unnecessary distractions. At Ichiran, that means all social interaction.

Guests are seated individually in “flavor concentration booths.” They order their ramen by filling out their own order form. And they request refills by placing a bowl on a sensor that summons one of the wait staff. There’s no need to talk. According to Ichiran, this allows diners to focus on the flavors and textures of their noodle bowl.

9) H.R. Giger Bar – Gruyeres, Switzerland

Restaurant in Switzerland

Source: HRGiger.com/BarMuseum.htm

The H.R. Giger Bar in Gruyeres, Switzerland is attached to the H.R. Giger Museum that houses the works of that surrealist painter, sculptor, and set designer. If you’re thinking to yourself, “Who is H.R. Giger?”, he’s most famous for his work designing the eponymous alien from the Alien movie franchise.

The interior of the H.R. Giger Bar is an experience unto itself, made all the more surreal by its one and only offering: alcohol. The walls and ceiling are covered and crisscrossed with what looks like the vertebrae of some massive prehistoric monster.

10) Jekyll And Hyde Club – New York City, USA

restaurant ideas

The Jekyll and Hyde Club offers the most unique dining experience in the world! Enjoy continuous live entertainment and spooky special effects. In fact, the creatures and memorabilia come to life and interact with you while you enjoy your meal.

Encounter bizarre characters such as Claw the Gargoyle, Tobias the Werewolf, Dreadmina the Vampire, or a genuine Egyptian mummy. Witness the incredible re-animation of Frankenstein’s Monster or the mysterious transformation of Dr. Jekyll into the horrifying Mr. Hyde.

Something unusual happens every 10 minutes at the Jekyll And Hyde Club…you’ve been warned!

11) Dinner In The Sky – Montreal, Canada

Dinner in the sky restaurant ideas

At Dinner In The Sky, the sky is no longer the limit.

The concept originally started as a flying dinner table for 22 young European restaurant owners. Since then, it’s traveled around the world to more than 60 countries, including many in Europe, Australia, Japan, India, Dubai, South Africa, Brazil, the United States, Mexico, Canada, and China.

Dinner in the sky not enough? You can now arrange for other events in the sky such as a wedding, a movie, and even a concert.

12) Aurum – Clarke Quay, Singapore

Unique restaurant ideas

Aurum’s reception is a fake morgue and operating theater. On the second floor, where the restaurant is located, customers sit in gold-painted wheelchairs and eat from metal tables designed to resemble operating tables. You’ll even get to (have to) sort through a drawer of surgical instruments to find your cutlery!

After that, though, the food becomes the show. Chefs use liquid nitrogen, syringes, gas canisters, and equipment typically found in scientific laboratories to whip up a bizarre blend of foods, such as “isotonic lychee caviar” and “piglet deconstructed mosaic of pear with coleslaw.”

13) Redwoods Treehouse – Warkworth, New Zealand

Treehouse restaurant ideas

Set 10 meters high among treetops and surrounded by countryside, the Redwoods Treehouse is a world-class venue that never fails to wow visitors. From weddings and private parties to award nights, product launches, and corporate events, the unique Redwoods Treehouse will elevate your celebration.

Features include:

  • 32-person capacity for seated private dining in the Treehouse
  • 50-person capacity for stand-up functions
  • Provision for marquee below for up to 250 guests
  • Ceremony areas
  • Roll-down sides for wet weather
  • Live music / DJ friendly
  • On-site catering facilities, to be used by our preferred suppliers
  • On-site toilets
  • Liquor license provided by catering companies
  • Free parking available
  • Wheelchair-friendly bathrooms and access ramp

14) Cat Cafe Nekrorobi – Tokyo, Japan

Cats in a circle

If you’re just in the mood for a hot beverage or some miso soup and would enjoy it all the more with more than 13 cats roaming around, the Cat Cafe Nekrorobi in Tokyo, Japan might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Visit around dinnertime to witness the furry felines each eating from their own glass bowls arranged in a circle on the floor.

15) Homewood Mountain Resort – Lake Tahoe, California

Restaurant overlooking Lake Tahoe

After a long day of skiing, experience the magic of Lake Tahoe’s Homewood Mountain Resort. You’ll enjoy panoramic views from every table, old Tahoe charm, and fresh California cuisine in a setting that can’t be beat.

A heat lamp is included at each table, but don’t forget your coat because dining is outside only and it can get pretty chilly when the sun goes down.

16) SafeHouse – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

SafeHouse - Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Gather with your fellow spies to experience Milwaukee’s best-kept secret since 1966: The SafeHouse.

You’ll enjoy specialty cocktails, music, and mystery in this spy-themed bar and restaurant that requires a password to get in.

While older agents will enjoy the decor and atmosphere, SafeHouse is also a family-friendly restaurant that allows agents-in-training to investigate the different rooms on the premises but reminds them that any intelligence found must be kept a secret.

17) The Bubble Room – Captiva Island, Florida

The Bubble Room - Captiva Island, Florida

The Bubble Room first opened its doors in 1979 on its present site on Captiva Island.

The decor started out with old toys from the 1930s and 1940s in just one room, but the collection soon took off from there.

Many of the original items are still on display along with model trains that roam all three floors.

The restaurant was popular with movie stars of the time and photographs soon graced the walls and grew to the profusion of old idols and scenes from the big screen that adorn every available wall space.

Eventually, the front room was decorated for Christmas and the theme of “It’s always Christmas at the Bubble Room!” took shape with the introduction of many Father Christmases, the Elf Room, and year-round Christmas lights. The present owners have followed and developed these original ideas faithfully adding more and more fantastic toys and decor.

If that weren’t enough, The Bubble Room was one of the first on Captiva Island to introduce the bright and cheerful pastel colors now widely used everywhere you go on the quays.

18) Beetle House – New York City, USA

Beetle House - New York City, USA

Beetle House is a year-round celebration of Halloween with an artistic and thematic atmosphere inspired by horror culture, magic, and the artistic, literary, and cinematic works of Tim Burton, Alfred Hitchcock, Bram Stoker, Washington Irving, Edgar Allen Poe, and many more.

In short, it’s kind of like an adult Halloween party with a Burtonesque feel, curated by Alfred Hitchcock, with a 90s goth band on stage, and everyone is wearing weird costumes.

Beetle House started out as a pop-up restaurant in New York City in April of 2016. Due to its demand and success, Beetle House moved to its permanent location in 2019.

19) Napa Valley Wine Train – Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley Wine Train - Napa Valley, California

The Napa Valley Wine Train is a decadent journey aboard an elegant vintage train through the Napa Valley and back to another time: the glamorous days of rail travel.

There, you’ll embrace a slower pace and dine in sophisticated comfort. You can choose either a lunch or dinner experience, enjoyed in two different types of stylishly refurbished antique Pullman rail cars.

The Vista Dome — an elevated observation-style dining care with luxuriously plush booths — offers private dining, fresh California cuisine, and beautiful views during the three-hour dinner tour.

It’s an experience unlike any other!

20) The Airplane Restaurant – Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Airplane Restaurant - Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Airplane Restaurant centerpiece is a fully intact Boeing KC-97 tanker. Built in 1953, this magnificent airplane refueled aircraft throughout the world during its time in service.

Then, in May 2002, it began its second mission: to be the preeminent aviation restaurant in the United States.

Forty-two passengers can actually eat in the plane of the 275-seat restaurant that is built around the port wing of the aircraft.

Rich in aviation history, displaying 100’s of pictures, memorabilia, and rare artifacts, The Airplane Restaurant offers much more than great food, it offers a flight through aviation history.

Don’t Neglect The Essentials

Inside the sling app

No matter how unique your restaurant idea, don’t neglect the two essential components for success:

We can’t help you with the food, but we can help you create the best service. Sling offers a suite of powerful cloud-based tools that allow you to streamline the scheduling and communication processes — so you can focus on running your business and giving diners an amazing experience.

Whether you build the schedule one team member at a time, repeat successful schedules with user-defined templates, or let your employees choose their shifts, the Sling app simplifies and streamlines every aspect of the scheduling process — from who works when, where, and in what job, to labor expenses, payroll, and overtime.

With Sling’s help, you’ll have more time (and energy) to focus on building your business. Not only is Sling an extremely powerful and versatile automated scheduling app, but it’s also a:

All of this is rolled into one easy-to-use package that doesn’t take months to get used to. You can even use one Sling account to schedule employees across multiple locations.

Add in the onboard A.I. that notifies you when there’s a scheduling conflict, or you missed a request for time off, and you’ve got the perfect system for managing your team.

The Sling app is free, easy to use, and will help you concentrate on building the intangible aspects of your team — like company culture, your management style, and your business as a whole.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.

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This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal, tax, HR, or any other professional advice. Please contact an attorney or other professional for specific advice.

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