Food is central to travel, especially when it reflects the culture of the people and places you're visiting. Restaurants can offer travelers an authentic taste of new cities, regions and countries, an insight to the customs of territories unexplored.
And sometimes they can just be weird.
The travel experts at Cheapflights.com have taken a culinary tour of the world and present to you the weirdest restaurants around.
If you’ve ever considered bringing a snack into the bathroom – and this thought hasn’t completely repulsed you – then Modern Toilet restaurant might be right for you. Originally a Taiwanese ice-cream shop that sold scoops of chocolate in toilet-shaped containers, the owners embraced the popularity of their novelty act and turned it into a full-fledged restaurant chain throughout Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan where diners sit on (non-functional) toilets and eat meals out of toilet- and urinal-shaped dishes. Search and compare <a href="http://www.cheapflights.com/flights-to-taiwan/" target="_hplink">cheap flights to Taiwan</a>.
The next time brainstorming for your next company outing is on the table, pitch this: A crane that lifts 22 diners 50 meters in the air to dine (very) al fresco. Belgian creator David Ghysels is responsible for the no-frills concept, which involves three staff – chef, waiter, entertainer – who serve a dangling bunch of patrons high-end cuisine, high above the ground. Past locales include Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon – do you think your co-workers are up for it?
Fair warning: This restaurant is not recommended for diners with deep fears of the dark. With locations now in LA, San Fran, San Diego, New York and Dallas, Opaque is America’s take on “Dining in the Dark,” a concept that’s enticed diners in Europe for years. Guests order in a well-lit lounge, and then are escorted to a pitch-black dining room, where they are guided by blind or visually impaired servers through a specially prepared meal. Past patrons insist that the fully-dark experience enhances their senses, pushing them to experience the meal with a greater appreciation for the taste, touch and smell of the cuisine. Search and compare<a href="http://www.cheapflights.com/flights-to-los-angeles/" target="_hplink"> cheap flights to Los Angeles</a>.
For the jetsetters (and wannabes) whose idea of a good time is eating high-class food while soaring far above the clouds, there is A380 in Chongqing, China. Named for the double-decker Airbus plane of the same model (the largest passenger airliner in the world), the novelty restaurant is laid out like the luxurious interior of an idyllic airliner fuselage and features waitresses dressed as stewardesses who deliver top-notch food on the requisite plastic trays. Search and compare <a href="http://www.cheapflights.com/flights-to-china/" target="_hplink">cheap flights to China</a>. Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lilychen/" target="_hplink">Lily Chen</a>
You won’t want to send a dish back at this high-security restaurant. Fortezza Medicea, located in the Medici Fortress in the Tuscan town of Volterra, started as a simple rehabilitation plan for prison inmates, and has evolved into one of the area’s most in-demand restaurants. Convicted chefs and waiters serve up delicious food night after night, all while serving time. Understandably so, diners must undergo security checks weeks in advance and can only eat with plastic utensils. But despite the tough price of admission, diners rave about the food – and the service. Search and compare <a href="http://www.cheapflights.com/flights-to-italy/" target="_hplink">cheap flights to Italy</a>. Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmenard48/" target="_hplink">jmenard48</a>
Here’s the thing about robots: they’re awesome. What’s even better is when they serve you food. At Hajime Robot Restaurant in Bangkok, owner Lapassarad Thanaphant has invested close to a million dollars in robots that take orders, serve food, clear tables and dance. (The extra entertainment is especially great for younger diners!) You won’t find curry or pad thai at this bustling establishment; the high-tech waiters serve traditional Japanese food and barbecue. Search and compare <a href="http://www.cheapflights.com/flights-to-thailand/" target="_hplink">cheap flights to Thailand</a>.
If James Bond hasn’t held a really important business lunch here yet, he should. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant is, as its name suggests, the world’s first glass-enclosed, undersea eatery. Located on Conrad Maldives Rangali Island in the Maldives, the tubular dining space lies 16 feet beneath the ocean’s surface and offers diners a 180-degree view of the deep blue sea. Seating capacity is limited, so it’s best to make reservations well in advance if you want to feast on contemporary European cuisine while testing your grade-school knowledge of marine life. Search and compare <a href="http://www.cheapflights.com/flights-to-maldives/" target="_hplink">cheap flights to Maldives</a>. Photo credit: <a href="http://conradhotels3.hilton.com/en/index.html" target="_hplink">Conrad Hotels & Resorts</a>
The Liberty hotel – a jail-turned-hotel situated in Boston’s prestigious Beacon Hill neighborhood – recently made our list of Top 10 quirky hotels. It’s fitting, then, that the historic building’s top restaurant, CLINK, would make this list. Try New England’s delicacies of the sea – oysters, mussels and scallops – prepared as high-end dishes in the lowest-of-end settings: a jail cell. Nosh in intimate quarters that convicts once called home, then plead guilty at Alibi bar, the jail’s old “drunk tank,” with after-dinner cocktails and late-night snacks. Search and compare <a href="http://www.cheapflights.com/flights-to-boston/" target="_hplink">cheap flights to Boston</a>.
It may be a German restaurant, but the French father of science fiction, Jules Verne, would be mighty proud. There are no human waiters at ‘s Baggers in Nuremberg. Instead, diners punch in their orders on touch screens, then wait and watch as their food is delivered through a network of spiraling railways and conveyor belts. The fare is grounded in traditional German staples (think potato- and sausage-centric dishes), but the experience is otherworldly. Search and compare <a href="http://www.cheapflights.com/flights-to-germany/" target="_hplink">cheap flights to Germany</a>.
A dress code isn’t really enforced at Disaster Café, which makes sense when you consider that most patrons leave the restaurant with their dinner on their laps. A 7.8 earthquake is simulated at this in-demand restaurant, leaving guests flustered by more than just their delicious meals. Upstairs is an alien-themed restaurant, perfect for families with little ones. But for thrill seekers, there’s the downstairs: a cave-like underground that shakes and tremors mid-meal like a natural – but in this case, fun – disaster. Search and compare <a href="http://www.cheapflights.com/flights-to-spain/" target="_hplink">cheap flights to Spain</a>.
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