For many, eating out has become a bit of a dull affair. The standard three courses, no matter how delicious, just don’t get the juices flowing like they used to. Exciting and eclectic eateries are now a prominent feature on the restaurant map, with unusual settings and adventurous cuisine bringing about something of a revolution in the way we eat. Though rather than detracting from the culinary experience, this move away from the norm can serve to enhance, and leaves diners with gastronomical memories they’re unlikely to forget in a hurry. For those looking for something a little weird and wonderful, these unusual haunts in Europe offer gourmet dining with a twist.
Dans Le Noir – London, England
For a truly unique culinary adventure, Dans Le Noir sees diners sample French-inspired flavours in complete darkness. Guests choose from colour-coded categories which offer meat, fish and vegetarian options, as well as an innovative selection from the ‘surprise menu’. Led through the darkness by blind waiters, diners are encouraged to completely re-evalute the notion of taste, and focus on the intense aromas, and vibrant explosions of flavour. Never compromising on culinary finesse, Dans Le Noir presents an enlightening experience in London’s trendy Clerkenwell.
Solo Per Due – Rieti, Italy
For the most intimate dining experience the world has to offer, Solo Per Due presents a globally-renowned eatery in the idyllic village of Vacone. The concept is simple: one couple occupy the restaurant at a time. Seasonal delicacies are crafted each day, which are served accompanied by the undivided attention of the restaurant’s staff. Often cited as one of the world’s smallest restaurants Solo Per Due is housed within an attractive 19th-century building and decorated with plush Chesterfield furnishings and glistening candelabras. Catering for the seasons, guests can bask under the jungle of exotic plants in the summer whilst enjoying views of the valley or nestle by a crackling log fire in the winter.
’s Baggers – Nuremberg, Germany
Bringing a welcome end to bad service, ‘s Baggers in Nuremberg brings an ingenious concept to the restaurant scene: the automated waiter. Housed within a trendy warehouse conversion, ‘s Baggers brings an end to forgotten drinks, mixed up orders, and that guy that’s asked you if you’d like a top-up- eleven times. Ensuring absolute precision, guests use touch screens to order, and are even given exact waiting times. Dishes then glide through the multi-storey building via metal rails, coming to an elegant halt right in front of the hungry diners.
Hospitalis – Riga, Latvia
Bringing a whole new dimension to ‘doctor’s orders’, Hospitalis sees guests enjoy hearty Latvian and European cuisine in a wonderfully slapstick, hosptial-themed setting. Recline in the dentist’s chair or decant your cocktail from a test tube, whilst nurses dressed in slinky uniforms offer a glamorous edge. Sleek and sterile, Hospitalis offers radically presented Latin-named dishes for the adventurous diner, as well as traditional European cuisine.
Le Restophone – Montpellier, France
Blending haute cuisine and arguably the most sociable dining room in the world, Le Restophone is a fashionable eatery in Montpellier. Leave your mobiles and phone cards behind and instead go old-school – each table is fitted with its own telephone which interconnects every table in the restaurant, letting diners lose their inhibitions and get to know each other. Infinitely easy-going, La Restophone is filled with contemporary art, and flashy cocktails are mixed at the bar. Meeting and greeting undoubtedly works up an appetite, and Le Restophone doesn’t disappoint with its refined selection of French cuisine. Favourites include beef tartar or a succulent house burger.
Written by Emma Starkie – Emma is a London based editor with a passion for good food. She is always on the lookout for exciting restaurants in London, and her favourite restaurant is Galvin at Windows in Mayfair.