Dining out is a global event that can bring lots of fun, entertainment and satisfying meals for the whole family without having to do the dishes. Most restaurants follow set standards and present themselves professionally so they can accommodate anyone and everyone who walks through their doors. Then there are other restaurants that like to take bolder risks and deliver on a thrilling experience through themes.
Themed restaurants can be an incredible experience by providing quality entertainment, a fun atmosphere or a unique gimmick that makes your dining experience a lifelong memory you recommend whole heartedly to others. Yet other themed restaurants, whether by accident or by design, are so disturbing, so unsettling, or so disgusting that they make you question not only the sanity of the owner but cause you to lose faith in humanity because they stay in business for so long.
Themed restaurants are always a risk because what’s fun for some may be frightening for others and a quirky gimmick for one diner may cause another to lose their previous meal. One thing’s guaranteed is that everyone leaves with a lasting impression of the place.
This list is comprised of themed restaurants we need to visit and themed restaurants that make us question everything. So get ready to start making travel trips for the good ones and find a good corner to shudder in for the bad.
20 Need To Visit: Redwoods Treehouse
This fun restaurant in New Zealand has it’s diners enjoying their meal in a modernized version of Robinson Crusoe’s house in the tree tops. The pod shaped structure is reached by an elevated walkway and gives a view of the incredible New Zealand forest. It was also featured in an episode of the fantasy series The Chronicles of Shannara.
While the restaurant isn’t open for individual diners, it looks like a fun place to book a corporate event, family gathering, or get your buddies together for a Shannara-themed dinner party.
19 Question Everything: Trailer Park Lounge
If you’re looking for a quiet place with fine food and a romantic atmosphere, this place definitely isn’t it, at least we hope you don’t find this place romantic. The Trailer Park Lounge in New York has more kitschy decorations you can shake a fist at and mannequins that will absolutely give you the creeps. The website advertises the restaurant as the place you can “meet your future ex”.
It’s possible some New Yorkers haven’t had too many experiences with rural trailer parks and find this restaurant to be a fun, quirky cultural experience, but it still seems like a terrible place to take a date.
18 Need To Visit: El Diablo Restaurant
This restaurant located in Teguise, Spain has gained worldwide attention for their jaw dropping location and unique cooking style. The entire restaurant is built on top of an active volcano and they utilize the natural heat vents to cook their traditional Spanish dishes.
The restaurant is designed to overlook the surrounding mountains with massive glass walls and they have a viewing room where you can watch the volcano’s heat rise up from the ground through a large vent and cook your meal. While it seems sketchy to run a business over an active volcano they probably save a lot on their energy bill.
17 Question Everything: Dinner In The Sky
Thrill seekers are probably the only ones attracted to this chain of restaurants located throughout the world. Dinner In The Sky uses a massive crane to lift a large table with connecting chairs into the sky where diners eat their meals suspended hundreds of feet above the ground.
The chairs do have seatbelts and the servers are located in the center of the table, but you better hang on to your belongings because it’s a long way down and your smartphone definitely won’t survive the fall. They probably have to have extra utensils and napkins on hand.
16 Need To Visit: Undersea Restaurant
Located in Hurawalhi, Maldives this restaurant is absolutely magical for its stunning underwater scenery. Considered the largest underwater all-glass restaurant diners are met with an unobstructed view of the ocean as they dine 5.8 meters under the waves.
This fine dining restaurant would make an incredible experience as you enjoy watching the fish go by and the coral wave lazily in the current. Admittedly some might find it hard to enjoy their seafood as they watch the fish swim by which is probably why the restaurant includes steak on the menu.
15 Question Everything: Magic Restroom Café
This restaurant probably takes the cake for being one of the more disgusting on this list. Located in California this restaurant has a thing for toilets. The seats are toilets, the walls are decorated with urinals, and perhaps the worst part of all, the food is served in mini toilets.
While any food would look putrid in a toilet bowl the chefs have kicked things up a notch by designing dishes that make it so much worse. Things like pork meatballs in a brown sauce or chicken curry that should never belong in a white porcelain bowl, much less eaten out of one. The restaurant in California closed a few years ago as it proved unpopular with the locals, but if you still want to try this theme out then they are incredibly popular in Asia with many restaurants using the same idea and doing very well, somehow.
14 Need To Visit: Ninja Restaurant
This restaurant in New York takes a fun theme and runs with it. The dimly lit restaurant resembles a village in Japan with paper lanterns, sliding doors, and everything’s cooked over Hibachi grills.
What really sets this restaurant apart are the staff outfitted in black ninja attire who utilize sleight of hand and tricks of illusion while cooking and serving meals. It's also common to startle guests by sneaking around the restaurant, jumping out of the shadows and playing pranks. It looks like a really fun atmosphere with a staff that absolutely love their jobs and are committed to their roles, and the food looks incredible.
13 Question Everything: Kawaii Monster Café
Out of all the items on this list, this restaurant is easily the one that makes us question everything the most. The Kawaii Monster Café in Tokyo, Japan is an explosion of color, sound, anime cosplay, and cuteness that threatens to overwhelm the senses and drive people insane.
The performers looked to have leapt off the pages of a Manga and the food looks like they were created by an anime school girl. There are bright pink burgers, rainbow spaghetti and ice cream with so many colors and toppings you’ll wonder if there’s any ice cream. Shows are performed on a routine basis providing even more activity, color, cuteness, and sound that threatens to burst eardrums and burn eyeballs. The only thing more scary than this restaurant is imagining what monsters children become after being exposed to this sensory and sugary overload.
12 Need To Visit: The Labassin Waterfall Restaurant
If you ever find yourself in the Philippines this restaurant is an absolute must according to the locals. It’s a restaurant inside of a resort that has diners eating in a shallow river next to an artificial waterfall. The waterfall serves as a gorgeous backdrop and provides a cool mist that combats the heat.
This fun restaurant lets you cool your feet while the kids can play in the water and get their energy out. It’s carefully designed so the mist won’t soak your food and looks to be a neat experience.
11 Question Everything: Dick’s Last Resort
We’ve all had negative experiences when eating out where the server was rude and you weren’t treated at all like a valued customers. While this would be a deterrent for most customers from ever going back, this restaurant capitalizes on this negative experience and charges customers for the opportunity to be insulted.
Dick’s Last Resort in multiple locations in the US specializes in good food and some of the rudest waitstaff you’ll ever meet. Within minutes of arriving you’ll be donned with a dunce cap written with some insult and if the servers discover an insecurity of yours you better believe they’ll use it against you the entire time you’re there.
10 Need to Visit: Zauo Fishing Restaurant
This quirky restaurant in Tokyo Japan provides a unique twist on the seafood dining experience. At first glance it looks like a fun restaurant with a fishing theme with tables and chairs set in boats on the water and fishing gear all over the place.
But what makes this a unique experience is you have to actually fish for your food. Using fishing poles, bait and nets provided by the restaurants you cast your line into the waters and wait for your dinner to take the bait. The fish are separated into different ponds and prepared to order once you catch them. This seems like a fun place to eat and seafood doesn’t get fresher than this, but we do wonder what the wait times are like if the fish aren't biting.
9 Question Everything: Alcatraz E.R.
This horror themed restaurant from Japan is a very unique dining experience. The entire restaurant is jail hospital themed with tables inside cells, dark lighting, and concrete walls that look rotting.
The wait staff dresses up as blood splattered nurses and lock you in your dining area while you eat. The drinks come in lab beakers and the food that varies from sandwiches to pizza, come served in bed pans. Oh, and if you want a refill on your drink the waitstaff will come by with an IV bag to fill it up.
8 Need to Visit: Opaque
While some restaurants on this list may make you distrustful of the staff, this one asks you to put one hundred percent faith in theirs. Opaque is a unique restraint in California that operates in complete darkness. Once you place your order in a lit part of the restaurant the wait staff, who are blind, take you by the hand back to your table and get you seated where you fumble around in the dark to eat your meal.
Fans of the restaurant say it’s a humbling and neat experience and many applaud the restaurant for employing the visually impaired.
Admittedly this restaurant may go on some people’s list as a scary place as you can’t see your food and have to trust that no one has done something to it, but reviews say the food is amazing, the staff is helpful and it’s a fun experience so we’re putting it as a need to visit.
7 Question Everything: New Lucky Restaurant
The New Lucky Restaurant is a simple place that serves Indian food in Amedabad, India and is a hit with both tourists and locals. Oh yeah, it’s also built over the top of a historic Indian burial ground.
That’s right, at this restaurant your dinner guests are the deceased, entombed in unmarked graves located between the tables. The going theory is that they are the followers of a Sufi saint in the 1500’s and the owner decided not to disinter them or pave over the top of the tombs, but simply incorporate them in the design. He claims its good luck to eat next to the dead and the restaurant is careful to maintain respect by replacing the flowers on the exposed tombs and sectioning them off with steel bars.
6 Need To Visit: Giraffe Manor
The Giraffe Manor is a hotel in Nairobi that offers a unique dining experience to it’s guests. While enjoying a fine meal in the small onsite dining area guests are often visited by hungry giraffes who stick their long necks in the windows looking for a snack.
The manor was built by the Mackintosh family who built their fortune with Mackintosh Toffee. The manor was sold to the Melvilles who have turned it into a hotel and a sanctuary for giraffes and other animals of Africa. This magical place has been visited by numerous celebrities like Naomi Watts, Richard Branson, and Walter Cronkite whom they named a warthog after.
5 Question Everything: Harvey Washbanger
Life can get busy and the restaurants that accommodate the hectic pace of work or school often get the most loyal customers. While most restaurants would settle for quick take-out or delivery to meet this need, this restaurant went one step further and provided an onsite laundromat while you eat.
On paper it sounds like a cool idea, get some laundry done while you grab a bite. Yet the longer you spend thinking about it the worse this place seems. You’re eating your food while you and other people are washing their dirty laundry. No amount of hand sanitizer dispensers is going to make this a pleasant experience.
4 Need To Visit: Safehouse
The Safehouse restaurant in Chicago is proof that sometimes the most successful restaurants are those that are hard to find and difficult to get into. This spy themed restaurant is disguised as a boring building labeled “International Exports Limited” and the door is often tucked behind corners or in back alleys. To get in you must give the password or be willing to do an embarrassing mission like hula hooping that’s broadcast on the tv screens inside for other diners to enjoy.
Once inside you’ll find yourself in a spy themed restaurant with all the famous drinks consumed by every fictional spy you know and love. The tables even have privacy domes to prevent eavesdroppers from listening in on your conversations.
3 Question Everything: Disaster Café
Located in Spain this simple restaurant appears to be totally normal both on the outside and upon entering. Your only indication that something might be amiss are the signs warning of danger inside, the servers wearing hard hats, and that everything is bolted down and secured.
This restaurant, without any warning or notice, will simulate a 7.8 earthquake that lasts for several seconds. The entire room will shake and lights will flicker while everyone holds onto tables or walls to prevent themselves from falling. It’s unclear if they wait to serve food and drinks until after these events, but either way it seems like a potentially dangerous and strange way to enjoy a meal.
2 Need To Go: Chillout Ice Lounge
The last place you’d expect to find an ice themed restaurant is in the middle of the desert in Dubai. But this fun and wild restaurant has the inside almost completely sculpted out of ice. The chairs, the tables, the decorations, and the icicles from the ceiling are entirely made of ice and everything is kept extremely cold to prevent things from melting.
If you wish to visit this place make sure to pack your warmest coats for your trip to Dubai, laugh at the odd looks you get on the streets for carrying snow gear in the desert, and bundle up to enjoy a unique and fun experience.
1 Question Everything: Airplane Restaurant
Usually theme restaurants will create an ambiance that's fun, exciting, or makes the meal you’re eating more at home by providing a tropical environment or a western décor. The Airplane Restaurant in Colorado Springs decided that the inside of an old airplane would be a fun theme to draw in diners.
The food is probably good and it could be neat for airplane fans, but an airplane theme makes it sound like a restaurant that will have limited leg room, requires you to store your belongings, and delivers a meal that Jerry Seinfeld will make fun of in his comedy routine.