Dining out can be fun and all (Ooh, look honey. They have a fish tank!), but we pretty much always know what to expect. That is, until we heard you could literally order wine and scallops from the middle of the Indian Ocean. Or sip margaritas above a rainforest. Yep, such places do exist, which is why it’s time to break out the bucket list. Here, seven of the most unique restaurants around the globe.
IN A CAVE: POLIGNANO A MARE, ITALY
Stunning aquamarine waters, the sounds of crashing waves echoing through cavern walls and the smell of authentic Italian cooking: Grotto Palazzese, a giant cave turned restaurant on the coast of the Puglia region of southern Italy, has been used as an exquisite dining location since the 1700s (!), when nobility would dine and admire the surrounding Adriatic Sea. To get there, take the stairs down the limestone cliffs of Polignano a Mare. Refuel from your trek with on a meal of the freshest seafood and pasta you can imagine. Just be sure to go before October (when the restaurant closes until summer).
IN A TREE: KOH KOOD, THAILAND
Anyone with a fear of heights need not apply to the Soneva Kiri, where diners ascend 16 feet into the branches via a “treepod,” a booth-and-table structure that’s hoisted up to overlook the Koh Kood rainforest. And please be sure to tip your zip-lining waiters (even if a water refill takes a bit longer than usual)… Seriously, they actually fly down to your table via cable and harness to deliver your meal. Now that’s service.
UNDER WATER: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
A scuba diver’s paradise, the submerged pod of The Pearl is located in one of the deepest indoor pools in the world. At $106 per person, the underwater experience ain’t cheap, but we hear the foie gras and Champagne (served in airtight containers by expert divers) are worth the hype.
IN THE OCEAN: MICHAMVI, ZANZIBAR
If saltwater is more your style, book a table at The Rock. Appropriately named, this former fisherman’s post in the Indian Ocean serves up some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever eat. And don’t worry about getting seasick on the boat ride back from dinner: It’s really only a stone’s throw (sorry, had to) from the beautiful white-sand beaches of the Zanzibar coast.
IN THE EIFFEL TOWER: PARIS, FRANCE
Although tourists flock to this famous landmark, only Le Jules Verne reservation holders get a chance to wine and dine from inside the tower. Although it’s not too difficult to get a reservation, we hear the prime window-adjacent tables can be a tough score, so you may want to book a few weeks in advance and make a note of where you’d like to sit. Boasting an esteemed Michelin star, it certainly beats the half-eaten baguette you’ve been toting around all day.
IN THE MOUNTAINS: SCHILTHORN, SWITZERLAND
Take in the sweeping 360-degree views of the Bernese Alps as you dine at Piz Gloria. Yep, not only is it literally on top of a mountain summit, but it spins around as you eat steak and goulash soup that’ll warm you right up. Don’t worry, no climbing required. Just hop on board the longest aerial cable car ride in the Alps to the tippy top, where you’ll immediately need a martini—shaken, not stirred. After all, this was a shooting location for the 1969 James Bond flick, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
IN A FORMER CHURCH: ANTWERP, BELGIUM
Set inside the old chapel of a military hospital, the breathtaking beauty of The Jane could just make your dining experience a holy one. The original ceiling and stained-glass windows have been elegantly preserved, but the double-Michelin-starred dishes are the true works of modern art.