Take a trip around the world with us and see some of the sights of restaurants that might not have ever dreamed of – but oh, they’re real.
The Fortezza Medicea at Volterra in Tuscany
Housed in the town of Volterra, Italy, inside the town's Renaissance-era fortress, The Fortezza Medicea is an occasional restaurant that uses inmates of the prison as staff. Bet you didn't expect that. Customers of the restaurant must first pass a background check, and make it through several checkpoints. Oh, and there is only plastic cutlery.
It is primarily a rehabilitation scheme, but the restaurant does pull in some money as well. The restaurant proved to be surprisingly successful, with many guests raving about the food and the service. As of 2007, tables had to be booked far in advance.
The Refuge des Fondus in Paris, France
Few things are more lauded in the world of food than that of traditional French cuisine, but the Refuge des Fondus in Paris is even more than that. As long as you book at least a week in advance, you'll be able to enjoy a lively fondue restaurant that has plenty to drink and eat. Specifically, drink from baby bottles.
They've been served in such a way as to prevent spilling, which diners often did while jumping over the tables to reach their seats. The menu has remained the same since 1966, as have the recipes, and every meal has a fixed price of about thirty euros.
The Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas
Interested in a big burger? Then the place you need to visit is the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas. At this restaurant, you can get some of the biggest burgers you've ever seen, as well as heaping helpings of fries, and veritable gallons of milkshakes. The heavier you are, the less you have to pay – customers over three hundred and fifty pounds eat free.
If you finish a triple or quadruple bypass burger, you get a “personal nurse” to wheel you out to your vehicle in a wheelchair. Those who do not finish their burger are paddled by the nurses.
The Disaster Cafe in Spain
If you were eating at a restaurant and an earthquake hit, you would forget about your foot and get to safety. In the Disaster Cafe in Spain, that's what happens every time you eat. It simulates an earthquake at a 7.8 magnitude (which is high). You have to make reservations far in advance, so this must be more exciting than it is scary.
The thing is, the outside of the cafe looks perfectly ordinary – there aren't really warnings about what's going to happen inside. The ground floor is an alien-themed place for kids. However, the real fun happens below the ground.
The Barbie Cafe in Taipei, Taiwan
Posing here with one of the menus is a waitress dressed to serve at the Barbie-themed cafe in Taiwan. Barbie placemats, Barbie menus, Barbie decorations...you get the idea. It's wonderfully cheesy, as long as you don't mind Barbie dolls. Be warned, however – they stop serving food at three in the afternoon.
After that, it's only desserts. According to some people that visited, the desserts aren't even that good. They're okay, and they certainly present themselves well, but that's all they can manage. If this still all seems appealing to you, there's more bad news: the cafe is already closed.
The Redwoods Treehouse in Sonoma, California
While not exactly a restaurant, the Redwoods Treehouse is still a place where you can get the meal of a lifetime. Or we guess we should say you COULD get the meal of a lifetime there – it's been sold to operate as a rental. Regardless, it's a beautiful thing, and those that were able to visit and have something to eat will likely remember it for the rest of their lives.
The treehouse is built among the towering redwoods of Sonoma, and there are few fantastic experiences like it. Some rooms even hang from gigantic tree limbs.
The Magic Restroom Cafe in Industry, California
While the food this cafe serves is nothing special – boba drinks, noodle dishes, and desserts – the real draw is the shall we say unique décor. As you can see from the picture, all of the chairs at the tables and booths are repurposed toilets. Hopefully, they aren't attached.
The walls and floors are decorated to look like a big bathroom, and the place has sixty-eight seats waiting to be filled. Uh, we mean there are sixty-eight seats waiting for hungry customers. Why would the creators do this sort of thing? We don't know. Maybe they just had a bunch of toilets lying around.
The Dinner in the Sky at Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels
Hopefully, you aren't afraid of heights when you get a reservation at this restaurant. There are eight tables for four people each, and you can enjoy a five-course meal prepared in a central kitchen. Which, you must once more point out, is perhaps hundreds of feet above the ground.
The entire thing is lifted by a huge crane and moved about the skyline, as far as the crane can go. We'd love to know who came up with this idea, and what madman gave it funding. Still, the idea seems to be working, and there are now locations around the world.
The Okinawa Prison Restaurant in Okinawa, Japan
Haven't you ever wanted to get dressed up as a classic black-and-white striped inmate or a prison guard and enjoy some food? No? Of course, you haven't. Well, you still have the option at the Okinawa Prison Restaurant in Okinawa, Japan.
This place has a menu that consists of steak and pancakes (look, we aren't complaining, but it's still unexpected) and there's also an attached hotel that puts you in a room made up to look like a cell. The bathrooms also look a lot like cells, but they have far more privacy.
Dick's Last Resort at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts
If you have nowhere else to go in Boston, head to Dick's Last Resort, where the staff will be rude, there are no napkins at the tables, and you can expect to be insulted. By the way, this is all intentional – Dick Chase tried opening a fine dining establishment, but it failed. He decided to try something the eating public had never seen before, and it was a surprising hit.
The southern cuisine menu is perfectly edible, even if you will be mocked for whatever you order. The restaurant also recommends you upload your “#dickpic” to the internet.
Robot Waiters in Yiwu, China
This isn't a specific restaurant – it seems that some areas of China are relying on robotic waitstaff instead of the regular human variety. They move on rails that are set in the ground, and they apparently take orders, deliver food, and give people their bills.
There are two versions – a male option called “Little Blue” and a female option called “Little Peach.” Yes, we know it's pink. These were being used all the way back in 2015, and we bet the non-contact waitstaff has only become more popular in the years since.
Classroom-Themed Restaurant in Nanjing, China
They say learning is a lifelong occupation, but this might not be what people have in mind with that saying. This classroom-themed restaurant from China features a blackboard, dining tables built like student desks, and plenty of decorations that are supposed to look like Chinese schools from the eighties and nineties.
It was built specifically to remind customers of school life – perhaps because that's when everything was simple and easy. Hopefully, they don't serve the same kind of food that schools are known to hand out to students.
Cabbages and Condoms Restaurant in Sukhumvit, Bangkok
Not only has this exceptionally oddly-named restaurant won awards, but it's also thought to be one of the finest Thai restaurants in Bangkok. You know, the capital of Thailand? The restaurant began as a business that sold vegetables, along with things like key chains, t-shirts, underwear, and contraceptives.
It made locals chuckle and it drew curious tourists inside. Eventually, the business grew large enough to turn into a restaurant, and it's quite huge – it apparently seats four hundred guests comfortably. There are other locations in England and Japan, and they serve great traditional Thai food.
The O.Noir in Montreal, Quebec
The O.Noir is more or less your average restaurant, except you have less light to see (none, actually), and there are more blind people serving you (all of them). The zero-light atmosphere is supposed to accomplish two things.
The first is that it lets you experience the food with more than just your eyes – your tastebuds and nose are heightened and improved. In addition, it's supposed to give people a taste of what it's like to be blind, just like all the people that work at the restaurant.
The Twin Stars Cafe in Hong Kong
If you're after cute food, this is one of the premium places to find it. The Twin Stars Cafe in Hong Kong has plenty of options available if you want to have sugary looks on all your dishes. We don't even know what's being served on those plates and in those bowls, but they look like they would taste like cotton candy.
We think the one on the right is a sandwich of some kind. If this looks like your kind of place, be sure to check their website – it's a pop-up restaurant, so it has the tendency to move around or be unable to find.
Modern Toilet Restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan
Hopefully, that doesn't tell us something about the quality of the food. The Modern Toilet Restaurant isn't too hard to figure out – you sit down, you order, and you get your food in a little mini toilet. The toilets are actually hot pots, a dish that keeps the food warm as you eat it.
These kinds of hot pot restaurants are found all over the world, but they usually don't take themselves so darned literally. While the presentation is a little off-putting, the food does look pretty tasty.
The Please Don't Tell Bar in New York
So, what are we looking at here? It's just a phone with a message scrawled on it. Well, the funny thing is, the phone is tucked away inside a phone booth, and if you pick it up and dial one, someone from the restaurant will open a hidden doll and allow you to enter. Quite clandestine. Not only that, but the phone booth is inside a different restaurant – Crif Dogs, a hot dog joint.
The design of the cocktail lounge is that of the classic speakeasy, with wood paneling and plush benches. The walls are covered in taxidermy, for some reason.
Baggers in Nuremberg, Germany
Who says that food can't have a ride before it's eaten? At Baggers in Nuremberg, Germany, you order your food and it gets slid to you on a metal rail, much like a roller coaster. The rails swoop around above your head as you dine, looping around supports and hanging lights. There's even one point where the track goes upside-down for a moment (which they only send certain foods on).
Lights flash to let you know food will be coming your way. You order with a touch screen at a table, and there are no menus. The wait staff is also fast, getting drinks out in minutes and food not too much later.
Restaurant Onkel Taa in Bad Egart, Parcines, Italy
Tucked away in the middle of nowhere is the Restaurant Onkel Taa, in Parcines, Italy. You have to forge through an overgrown garden forest to reach the front door, and then you're swept into an interior that is dressed to the nines. Napkins that look like snails, vases full of flowers, and delicious food complete the experience.
This picture here is, we think, the front door. There are cats wandering around, and you're sure to be charmed by the atmosphere. The vegetables are home-grown right outside, which means you get an incredibly fresh meal.
Buns and Guns in Beirut
At Buns and Guns, a meat sandwich is called an M16 carbine. A burger is referred to as a mortar, and the veggie snack is called a 'Terorist meal'. That's the way they spell it. The menus are bullet-shaped, the food comes wrapped in camouflage paper, and the doggy bags are labeled as “top secret.”
Beirut has seen plenty of war, and while it hasn't changed much, the people's acceptance of it has, if this restaurant is any indication. The slogan of the restaurant is “sandwiches can kill you,” which doesn't seem like the best choice for somewhere you want people to eat.
The HR Giger Museum bar in Gruyeres, Switzerland
This famous artist has made some stunning, incredibly freaky artwork. He inspired Aliens, he did the cover of ELP's album “Brain Salad Surgery,” and there's also a museum dedicated to him in Switzerland. The museum includes a pub if you're interested in having a drink at a place that looks to literally be made of bones.
The table, the chairs, the roof, and the walls – it's all bones. Or, if not bones, the unique details Giger put into every single one of his pieces of art. Enjoy your meal!
The Snow Hotel Lumilinna in Kemi, Finland
Structures built entirely out of ice have been popular for some time, but they're usually confined to castles that you can visit for a little while. However, in Kemi, Finland, there is an entire hotel that is made of ice. Finland, being one of those countries that have much cooler temperatures, it is a much better idea than other places in the world.
Inside that hotel is, like all fine hotels, a place to eat. Do they serve hot food? We hope so. You can also visit the snow chapel, and see the nearby frozen sea.
The Conrad Hilton Resort on Rangali Island, Maldives
The Maldives are an exciting place, and that's not just because the food is good. If you want to be wowed by the atmosphere of a one-of-a-kind restaurant, the Conrad Hilton Resort on Rangali Island is the place to be.
You can enjoy some fresh seafood while looking up at the clear blue water and teeming sea fauna that surrounds you. You might not even be able to keep your eyes on your plate. Not many will be able to eat here, but if you get the chance, you should probably take it.
Carton King in Taiwan
That picture doesn't look like it has anything too strange going on, but look closer. Everything – the booths, the decorations, the tables, and the supports are all made of cardboard. It's one of the stranger ideas in the world of food prep. Plates, cups, chairs – it's all cardboard.
It's part of Carton King Creativity Park, which has many attractions made out of cardboard like a brown, miniature Eiffel tower. The main idea behind the park and restaurant is environmentalism and an understanding of how creativity can be used for good. After you use something, you can use it again.
The Robot Restaurant in Tokyo, Japan
Past a pair of sparkling robot girls in the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo, you are ushered into one of the most fantastic things about Tokyo – and that's really, really saying something. You're liable to get nauseated just from entering the place and sitting at the bar, and children need to have hearing protectors.
This place is one of the most insane places in the entire country, and that is ABSOLUTELY saying something. There is undeniable energy here, practically enough to power Tokyo itself, even if the quality leaves a little bit to be desired. If you want a flashbang to your senses, go to this place.
The Witches in Britches Theatre Restaurant in West Melbourne, Australia
Calling itself “Melbourne's most wicked night out,” this Halloween-themed restaurant has more than just spooky good food. It's a lively musical-theater restaurant that has witch-themed shows playing, and there are plenty of previous examples: “The Millenium Bug,” “My Big Fat Witch Wedding,” “Crazy Rich Witches,” and more.
There are special events for holidays like Valentine's Day, event packages, and – as you can see – lots of great outfits. It's been running since 1990, and it's still going strong. Actors and actresses from Australian television are common sights, and there's even a disco.
Ninja New York in New York City
Sadly, this fun location has shut its doors, but it still gave us ninja swords, shuriken, fire, and some darn good Japanese food. The servers were dressed like ninjas and allowed to be as over-the-top as they wanted. Despite high prices and initial bad reviews, this place ended up being a hit that endured for fifteen years, closing in early 2020.
Meals could easily cost a hundred dollars, but the quality didn't seem to be great. The theatrics was the big draw, and the restaurant continued to improve as time went on. Eventually, it became an area favorite.
Christon Cafe in Tokyo, Japan
Start clutching your pearls – this catholic-themed restaurant doesn't mind going sacrilegious with its design. Found on the eighth and ninth floors of the Oriental Wave building in the Shinjuku district, this restaurant has vaulted ceilings, candlelit chandeliers, thick velvet curtains, gold, marble, stained glass, and wooden altars.
While Christianity does exist in Japan, it doesn't have the same cultural force as in western countries, which allows people to not only make such a place but have it be successful. Well, it once was – it's now closed permanently, despite the draw.
The Airplane Restaurant of Colorado Springs, Colorado
The Boeing KC-97 tanker that makes up the exterior of this restaurant was built in 1953 and refueled aircraft mid-flight around the world. When it landed for the last time in May 2002, it began a new life as an aviation-themed restaurant in Colorado. There is much to see for the flight fan, including hundreds of pictures, memorabilia, and interesting artifacts.
It might not be actually touching the clouds anymore, but this plane is still an exciting experience. Classic American fare like burgers means you can get a nice meal out of the event at the same time.
Hello Kitty Dream Restaurant in Beijing, China
We hope you like the color pink if you're interested in visiting this next restaurant. The Hello Kitty Dreams Restaurant in Beijing opened in 2011, saying that it was a place where dreams come true, as long as those dreams involve Hello Kitty.
Dolls are everywhere and despite Hello Kitty being a Japanese creation, it's just as popular in China. We also hope that you have some kids to take with you when you visit, or it might get even more awkward. Especially if you're a guy.
Clifton's Cafeteria in Los Angeles, California
There's something relaxing about a cafeteria. You take your tray, fill it with the food you want, and you pay at the end. Clifton's Cafeteria in LA follows this style, but this isn't the high school lunchroom – this place has multi-story fake redwood trees, plenty of stuffed animals like lions, neon plants, and a petrified wood bar.
It opened in 1931, and many people have called it a precursor to the spectacle of the tiki bar. Clifford Clinton, the original owner, eventually went on to devote his attention to Meals for Millions, which gave food to malnourished people around the world in the wake of World War II.
Trailer Park Lounge and Grill in Chelsea, New York
A trailer park isn't where you would normally go to get your fill of tasty grub, but there's still a place in New York City that specializes in that sort of vibe. Eclectic, kitschy decorations and classic looks fill the walls and ceiling of this establishment.
Calling itself a good-natured parody, the Trailer Park Lounge and Grill serves food, cocktails, and souvenirs, and it has plenty of good reviews. And look, it's right next to a professional tae kwon do place, too. You can work up an appetite and then head downstairs for a burger.
The Amadeo Restaurant near Kathelijne Square in Brussels
All-you-can-eat spare ribs, wood-paneled walls, bookshelves, and hanging lamps? Sign us up! The Amadeo Restaurant in Brussels is the place for ribs in this European city – if you don't want ribs, you might just have to leave.
It's a dark and dingy place that nevertheless draws in a crowd every day and night it's open. Could you possibly walk past a restaurant that just has a stuffed cow chilling outside the front, in front of a big shelf of books that, we hope, are available to read while you wait for your food?
Kawaii Monster Cafe in Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan
If you aren't sure about your Japanese, kawaii means “cute,” or is close enough for our reckoning. If you had stepped into the Kawaii Monster Cafe in Tokyo before it closed, you would have been besieged by flashing lights, garishly-colored dishes, and lots of people dressed up in outrageous outfits.
Sebastian Masuda, who is seen as the father of kawaii culture, had some innovative ideas, and they all included lots and lots of bright colors. Just look at that picture. The camera could be upside-down and you'd barely even be able to notice.
The Nanairo Temari Uta in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
This place is thought to be one of the most unique restaurants in all of Tokyo, and wow, that's quite the statement. They might have a chance, though – first off, you sit inside a big ball, something called a Temari. They were traditionally toys (and much smaller, obviously), but then they became decorative and, finally, functional.
This restaurant has turned the Temari into a cozy little room that is perfect for private dinners or small social functions. Classic Japanese food such as sushi, salmon eggs, and more are on the menu.
Zauo Restaurant in Fukuoka, Japan
There are plenty of restaurants that let you pick out the food for your meal while it's still alive. You can choose the lobster right from the tank or pick the cow that will become your steak while it's still chewing on grass. But what if you had to CATCH your own food? That's what the Zauo Restaurant in Tokyo has as its main attraction – it's even cheaper.
You have to rent a pole, but you can ask to catch a specific fish, after which you will hand it to the staff and they'll cook it up nice, just for you.
The Laundromat Cafe in Copenhagen, Denmark
We've all had to sit and wait for our laundry to finish and thought to ourselves “wish I could get something to eat here.” Well, the obvious has finally come to pass and Copenhagen has made this wish come true.
The Laundromat Cafe has the look of a classic laundromat from decades past, but it also serves great food and drinks and even has a large library and plenty of table games to help pass the time while you're waiting for your food. But the million-dollar question: can you do your laundry? The answer seems to be yes.
The Clinic Bar in Singapore
There are only a few places in the world where you can get your Sangria in an IV bag, and at least one of them is in Singapore. It's called the Clinic Cafe, and it's a medical-themed bar and restaurant in the heart of the Clarke Quay district. It's said to be a tribute to artist Damien Hirst.
Wheelchairs and the normal seating, there are hospital beds to relax on, and the servers are all dressed in hospital whites. As theme restaurants go it's a little out there – not many people get an appetite from the hospital setting.
The Safehouse in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The worst-kept secret on the shore of Lake Michigan is that of the Safehouse, a spy-themed bar, and restaurant that is full of Cold War imagery. James Bond isn't the only classic character you'll see if you step in for a bite.
During the day you can bring the family for food, spy fun, and souvenir cups – during the night, the veteran spies can relax with martinis, code words, and classic music. It's been up and running since 1966 – while the cold war was still in full swing, mind you.
Gufha in Jayanagar, Bangalore
If you're like us, you've probably wanted to eat dinner inside a cave. Well, good news if you happen to live in Bangalore – now you can! This atmospheric eatery is made up to look like you're dining deep underground, with rocky walls and ceilings, lanterns, and even ambient noises.
They serve traditional Indian food to the region, but they also have Mughlai, Afghan, and classic finger foods on the menu. Not only will you be able to marvel at the idea of eating underground, but it looks like your stomach will be satisfied as well.
The Tokyo Snake Center in Tokyo, Japan
Eating alone is never fun, but at the Tokyo Snake Center in Japan, you never have to worry about being lonely during your meal. Go on and guess why. That's correct, there's a snake. Even better – if there's a specific snake that has caught your eye, you can pick that snake to accompany you to your meal.
You'll get a quick lesson in snake etiquette and cafe rules (available in both Japanese and English. There are snake decorations everywhere, you can pay a little extra to handle some snakes, and you can even grab some desserts and drinks while you're having fun.
The Rabbit Cafe in Hong Kong, China
Surely you've wanted to pet a rabbit while you eat your meal – maybe you even do that on the regs, since you have your own rabbit. For those that don't, they might have to go to the rabbit cafe in Hong Kong. The atmosphere is relaxing, the bunnies are cute, and there's plenty of good food. The means for the rabbit, too.
However, guests have to be coached on how to properly handle rabbits first, as rabbits are quite fragile mentally. They can quickly become overwhelmed by stress, and a proper diet is a big part of that.
The Scotland Cat Cafe in Stockbridge, Scotland
Custom-built to give cats a comfortable place to roam and give diners a comfortable place to sit and enjoy a meal, this cafe, Maison de Moggy, brings together two great things – cats, and eating. Forget your stress and visit a place that is relaxing and full of friendly felines. Unless you're allergic to cats, in which case you should not visit.
There are plenty of breeds that call this place home, and the homey, cozy feel is the perfect place to relax. You can even check in on your favorite cats through the cafe's Instagram page.
The League of Legends Restaurant in Chongqing, China
Maybe you've played League of Legends, or you used to back in the day, and for some really, really strange reason, you want to eat at a restaurant that is themed after the popular MOBA. Well, we hope you live in Chongqing, China, because otherwise, you might be out of luck.
At this restaurant, waiters and waitresses get dressed up like the characters from the game and will take your order. The restaurant is dubiously licensed, there are statues and artwork everywhere, the menu has themed dishes and drinks, and there are even alcoholic drinks themed after hp and mana potions.
The Mars 2112 Restaurant on Broadway in New York
A science-fiction restaurant and tourist trap called Mars 2112 wasn't only going to pull in people looking for a bite to eat – it was also going to get Rush fans. Imagine a rainforest cafe that gets rid of hordes of plants and pictures of animals, and replaces them with aliens, craters, and a spaceflight simulation ride that brings customers right to the hostess stand. Sounds pretty out of this world.
The place is huge, and every single detail makes it feel like you're on another planet. Sadly, it closed more than ten years ago, in 2012.
Platform 65 in Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Does food taste better on a train? There are some people that will tell you, yes, and this restaurant is the perfect way to put the theory to the test. Serving North Indian and Mughlai cuisine, Platform 65 has plenty of dishes to try while surrounded by the metal interiors and train design you'll find.
You can tour the train to see the conductor's room or other areas, and there are plenty of standout dishes that are on the menu, like dim sum, chicken soup, mutton biryani, and more.
Casa Bonita in Denver, Colorado
If you have a hunger for both Mexican dishes and a whole boatload of pageantry, then the place to be for your next meal is Casa Bonita. There are divers plunging into a bowl over a thirty-foot waterfall, puppet shows, and all the Mexican cuisine you can eat.
It's been referred to as the “Disneyland of Mexican restaurants,” but the restaurant has been closed for a while, even prior to 2020 – thankfully, “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been trying to revamp it and get it open again.
The Houdini Seance Room in The Magic Castle
Want to make things a little spooky at your next big event? Then there's no better place than the Houdini Seance room at The Magic Castle. You might not see the spirit of this famous magician return to you, but you can still eat a meal with some of your friends in a room that is spooky to the gills.
Aside from the dinner itself, there are also tons of pieces of Harry Houdini memorabilia, such as the only set of cuffs Houdini was never able to escape from.
The Mad Hatter Bistro in Paris, France
How about a tea party that will send you to another world? That's the goal of The Mad Hatter Bistro in Paris – there's no better spot to celebrate your happy unbirthday. The Mad Hatter and plenty of other famous characters are here to invite you to your big event, just make sure you arrive on time.
There's plenty of tea, of course, but there's also plenty of crazy and unique cocktails. It's all decorated to the nines, and there are plenty of shows to make sure your night is just the way you want it.
Big Nose Kate's Saloon in Tombstone, Arizona
You'd expect there to be a saloon in a place called Tombstone, but not with that kind of name exactly. This wild place is the destination for live music, good food, and a classic establishment that has been doing its thing for a long time – all the way back in 1982.
It's been called the best historic saloon in the west, and the movie “Tombstone” (perhaps the best western film ever) plays on a loop, literally all the time. You can take pictures, dress up, tell stories, look at walls that are full of history, and much more.