We’ve scoured the top food authority sites, blogs and food enthusiasts to bring you the 10 most unique (and some slightly strange) dining experiences from Chicago to Napa Valley!
Wine Train Dining in Napa Valley
Who’s Pick: Fodor’s Travel
The plush Napa Valley Wine Train takes the concept of wine and dine onto the tracks, in restored 20th-century Pullman or Visa Dome cars. As you glide past the vineyards of California’s wine country in the mahogany-clad train car, savor delicious bites, such as the tenderloin in a Cabernet Sauvignon reduction.
A Reclaimed Bank and a VIP Vault Room
Who’s Pick: Twisted Sifter
Located in Chicago’s Wicker Park, The Bedford reclaimed a historic private bank from 1926 and transformed the space into a supper club. The 8,000-square foot (743 sq. m) lower-level interior features terracotta, marble and terrazzo, all reclaimed and restored from the original bank. Inside the VIP vault room, the walls are lined with more than 6,000 working copper lock boxes.
Ninja New York
Who’s Pick: Reader’s Digest
In a review in the New York Times, Frank Bruni describes Ninja New York as “a kooky, dreary subterranean labyrinth… You are greeted there by servers in black costumes who ceaselessly bow, regularly yelp and ever so occasionally tumble.” Designed to look like a 15th-century Japanese feudal village full of dark nooks and snaking passageways, you’ll dine amongst stealthy warriors—the waiters—who roam, romp, and perform tricks, all the while serving sushi and sake. Just call it Japanese fare mixed with martial arts flair at its best.
High-Altitude Dining at the Ledge at Skydeck Chicago
Who’s Pick: Fodor’s Travel
Comfort food is taken to new heights at The Ledge at Skydeck, which serves famous Chicago-style stuffed pizzas from Giordano’s in a collection of private glass boxes that extend beyond the 103rd floor of Willis Tower. Or opt for Oysters Rockefeller and three-hour short ribs to complement the city lights sparkling 1353 feet below.
Joanie’s Blue Crab Cafe
Who’s Pick: The Food Network
Take two steps outside Joanie’s Blue Crab Cafe and you’re likely to spot an alligator — or two, or three. Located in the heart of the swampy Everglades, this crazy restaurant is surrounded by tons of the meaty reptiles, which diners enjoy in the form of chili, ribs and, most popularly, deep-fried gator nuggets.
The Airplane Restaurant
Who’s Pick: Travel + Leisure
Putting the diner in airplane dining, this Colorado Springs landmark is on a mission, code name: delicious. Owners gutted a decommissioned 1953 Boeing KC-97 military tanker to make room for booths and a bar, decorating it and the main restaurant spaces with tons of aviation memorabilia. Naturally, the menu is loaded with aviation puns and references as well, such as the Philly Flyer sandwich and Air. Tower nachos. For more information on the Airplane Restaurant, click here.
Who’s Pick: CNBC
The Cave is the nation’s only restaurant located in (you guessed it) a cave, serving American steakhouse/seafood and Italian fare. Located in Richland, Missouri, the space may not get much natural light, but it has waterfalls, fish ponds, and even a view of the Gasconade River. The space began as a natural cave that served as a dance hall in the 1920s, situated three stories up on a limestone bluff at a campground (visitors can still rent the cabins). Back then it was not spacious enough for 225 to dine, as it is today; the rest was carved and blasted out over the course of four years.
Who’s Pick: One Click Wonders
Instead of breakfast in bed, how about dinner? B.E.D. stands for beverage, entertainment, dining, and that’s exactly what you get…in bed! Executive chef Vitor Casassola’s menu includes cold appetizers like camembert tempura and tomatillo guacamole and entrees like surf & turf and Chilean seabass. And for dessert, an edible “pillow” called Cloud 9 Souffle.
Who’s Pick: Cheat Sheet
Located in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, Opaque diners enjoy their meals in a pitch-black room after selecting their menu items in a lit room. The theory proposed by the restaurant is that when a diner’s visual senses are cut off, other senses such are heightened which makes for a delicious dinner!
Heart Attack Grill
Who’s Pick: Thrillist
One of the few places in Vegas where the food and the waitresses will raise a diner’s blood pressure! This famous hospital-themed joint, Heart Attack Grill specializes in artery-clogging, four-patty Quadruple Bypass burgers, and serves anyone who weighs in at over 350lbs for free. See more deals on dining in Las Vegas.