1. Cat Café Nekorobi- Tokyo, Japan
Located in the Ikebukuro district which is famous for its entertainment services, this is one place you should drop in if you swear by cats. This is an uptown café where the glass doors would lead you to a dimly lit place where cats walk around as if they own the place and where you can grab your drink from a drinks dispenser vending machine which offers coffee, green tea, royal milk tea and the like. The best time to visit this place is in the evening when you get to see the cattos feasting on their food arranged in a circle around a floor lamp.
2. Ninja New York- New York City, USA
Having been described by Frank Bruni as ‘a kooky, dreary subterranean labyrinth..’ for his review in New York Times, this place is Japanese exotica exemplified, what with its design resembling a 15th-century Japanese feudal village. You would be led in by servers in black Ninja costumes through dark corners and meandering passages to the dining area where the waiters would serve you delicious Japanese dishes while performing martial arts tricks.
3. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant- Rangali Island, Maldives
With sea creatures swimming in the famed clear blue waters of the Maldives, this is almost an otherworldly experience. You get to sit in an all-glass restaurant to get a 270-degree view more than 16 feet below the sea level. Opened in 2005, this seafood joint with an acrylic roof is located at the Conrad Maldives. Able to seat 14 people, you should pay a visit while you still can, as the saline water and the marine growths on the steel structure will eventually defeat the protective zinc coating.
4. Dinner in the Sky, Belgium
While today this has spread to over 55 countries, you should pay a visit to its place of origin to pay respects. Located in Belgium and starting operations in 2006, you need to digest meals like ham salad and sautéed prawns cooked in a small oven at the centre while strapped into chairs at 150 feet above the ground. And that is half as high as the Big Ben!
5. GrottaPalazzese, Italy
Located along the Adriatic Sea, this restaurant operates out of a cave which has served as a dining joint since 1700s, when aristocrats threw parties here. So if you are willing to shed at least 33 dollars, you get to have awesome meals amidst the clear blue water with the setting sun or the rising moon. For dinner, choosing the premium ‘Gran Carte’ would need you to have at least 3 courses, while you can opt for any of their tasting menus if you want a lighter meal, or if your group consisting of more than six people. Keeping up with the royal air, this place doesn’t allow men in shorts and flip flops.
6. Dick’s Last Resort Restaurant
Want to move your masochistic desires from the bed to your palate? Then Dick’s Last Resort Restaurant is the place for you. If the name is not enough to make you understand, you actually get insults written on dunce caps which you have to put on while eating. Located in prime locations all over USA like Chicago, Boston and Dallas, the staff even takes pains to call out rude names to you. Nice.
7. Tombs Restaurant, Ahmedabad, India.
Want to reflect on the fleeting nature of pleasure while indulging in some lip smacking milk tea and bread rolls? Then this hotel in Ahmedabad, India is the place for you. While the owner claims to have inherited this 40 years’ old business, nobody knows who lie beneath the tombs (yes, they are real!) placed in between the tables. Spooky, isn’t it?
8. Cannibalistic Restaurant
Visiting this restaurant would be possible only if you have strong guts, and no, we are not talking about shadows moving about tombs. Objectification hits you in the face with a dish called Nyotaimori, which translates to ‘female body plate’. You get it, right? You get a woman’s body made with food served on a surgery table from a hospital, which you have to cut to extract dishes like sushi and sashimi from secretions that resemble blood. Sounds promising!
9. D. S. Music Restaurant, Taipei
You would expect to walk into this restaurant to have a treat with awesome music playing in the background. Well, it is a pain breaking it for you right here, but this restaurant is nothing like that. You would be pushed to your table by staff dressed as nurses in wheelchairs. Not only that, you are to have your drink from IV-like contraptions hanging from the ceiling. The nurses also ask you ‘trivia’ stuff, and correct answers would mean shots of tasty drinks squirted into your mouth with a syringe. And once you are finished with the food, a seemingly unhinged ballerina dances on your table as a special treat!
10. Marton Theme Restaurant, Taiwan
What goes around comes around, and what better place to experience that than in Marton Theme restaurant in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, which is decorated to resemble one big toilet? The chairs are in the shape of thrones, the tables look like bathtubs, and the delicious food comes in crockery designed like toilet seats. One of the owners actually hit upon this idea while reading when he was in a toilet. Today, this is a great success, with outlets spread across Asia. So if you are okay with being watched while on a throne, drop in here the next time you are at Taiwan.
11. Devil Island Prison Restaurant, China
The intention behind this restaurant is very noble- to serve as a reminder of the consequences of committing crimes. So, you are greeted with handcuffs on your wrists and led to tables surrounded by rusting jail bars where you are served fries shaped like coffins. The waiters are all in jailbird uniforms and there are guards all around. A very creepy feature of this place is the occasional mannequin that you would come across with coverings over the head- made to look like convicts heading for execution.There is a similar restaurant in Beijing which is deceptively named ‘Zen Cool’.
12. Mars Restaurant, New York
This is the place you visit when you want to have the thing closest to the Martian food from a sci-fi flick. Located right in New York’s Times Square, you will be conducted to this place by friendly Martians who would serve you dishes like squid, shrimp, sea scallops and clams with seafood sauce on the Martian Seafood Platter.
13. Hajime Restaurant, Bangkok
The owner of this place in Bangkok, Thailand, actually invested $1 million on four robots that not only serve food to the customers, but also dance with them. So please pay them a visit on your next trip to the city and make all of them (yes, the robots even) happy!
14. Redwoods Treehouse, New Zealand
With a seating capacity of 30, this is one of the most exclusive experiences you would have on top of a………….tree. Yes, this is your childhood treehouse coming to life with a lot of class to boot. To reach this pod-shaped restaurant 32 feet above the ground, you need to move along a raised treetop walkway made of an in-situ redwood tree. While you can no longer have dinners here, this structure built by Pacific Environment Architects to promote the area’s yellow pages also goes by the name Yellow Treehouse Café, and is located at Warkworth, north of Auckland.
15. O.NOIR, Toronto
While not a very novel concept, O.NOIR catapulted to fame when they opened it for the first time in Montreal in 2006, to be soon followed by their second outlet in Toronto in 2009. The philosophy behind dining in the dark is that our senses are heightened then, meaning that we can enjoy our meals more. After placing their orders, the diners are led to a pitch dark room, where the two hours dinner service begins with servers in infrared glasses explaining things. Luminous objects like flashlights, watches and cellphones are not allowed in here.
And these were only 15 of the names. A lot of these restaurants have lost their novelty thanks to doppelgangers, but they still manage to hold their ground in the increasingly lucrative and competitive field of themed restaurants. But coming up when they did, they never cease to amaze. Ah, the power of the human mind!