Buns and Guns – Beirut, Lebanon
At Beirut’s Buns and Guns everything is military themed – from the camouflage décor and weapon-adorned names of dishes to the helicopter sounds that play constantly in the background. It apparently reflects the under siege mood of the city during Lebanon’s 2006 war with Israel – because that’s the kind of thing people want to remember. You can order yourself an M16 Carbine meat sandwich, a Mortar burger, or, our particular favourite, a Terrorist meal (which, ironically, is vegetarian).
Nyotaimori – Tokyo, Japan
‘Nyotaimori’ in Japanese literally means ‘female body plate’ – you can pretty much guess where this is going, right? Guess again. Picture an edible body, with dough ‘skin’ and sauce ‘blood’ wheeled into the room on a hospital gurney and placed upon a table. The hostess then cuts into the body with a scalpel and hungry patrons dig in, operating on the body to reveal the edible ‘organs’ inside. Bon appetit.
Cabbages and Condoms – Bangkok, Thailand
The only restaurant in the world dedicated to birth control, Cabbages and Condoms offers not mints on your way out the door, but condoms and a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ with various STDs. Their slogan, emblazoned on T-shirts in the gift shop, is “Our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy”.
Modern Toilet – Taipei, Taiwan
At Modern Toilet, yup, you guessed it, hungry customers take a seat on a toilet (Western style, not Asian squat, for the record) and enjoy faeces-shaped chocolate soft serve in miniature toilet bowls (among other more conventional dishes). Toilet rolls are hung over the tables for use as napkins, and drinks come served in miniature urinals. It’s not clear what the actual toilet is like in this place.
Maid Cafes – Tokyo, Japan
Japan (surprise) scores another mention on this list with any of the many maid-themed cafes in the Tokyo area. Giggling women in cartoonish maid costumes call patrons ‘master’ and pat them on the heads like babies. Unsurprisingly, it’s not about the food here – which is usually overpriced and less than appetising (think spaghetti topped with ketchup). It’s about the service, which often includes playing games like Barrel of Monkeys (for a fee, of course) and, uh, complimentary ear cleaning.
Pitch Black Restaurant – Beijing, China
It’s often said that if you take away one or more of your senses, the remaining ones become stronger. That’s the idea behind Pitch Black, a Beijing restaurant where patrons eat in complete darkness. Illuminating devices like cell phones and watches are strictly forbidden, and it’s so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face – you’ll just have to assume the meals are amazingly presented. Don’t think you can get away with any funny business, either – the waiters all wear night-vision goggles.
New Lucky Restaurant – Ahmadabad, India
The name of this place is more than a little deceptive. There’s probably nothing lucky at all about being surrounded by coffins while you eat. It’s probably even less lucky when those coffins are occupied. The New Lucky Restaurant began as a tea stall outside a centuries-old Muslim cemetery, and grew to encompass it over the years. Business is brisk, and the owners say that the graves bring good luck.
The Hellfire Club – Manchester, UK
The Hellfire Club, with its Gothic decor and creepy theme, might not seem like a place to enjoy a world-class meal, but if it’s any consolation, the food is apparently pretty good. It’s located in a reportedly haunted 19th century building and resembles a dungeon, with skeletons, coffins and red lights strewn throughout. Menu items include steaks named ‘Kiss of the Vampire’ and ‘Cannibal Holocaust’. No word if the God of hellfire himself, Arthur Brown, makes a ghostly appearance.
Vampire Café – Tokyo, Japan
Continuing the theme of death and pretty much everything else you don’t want to think about while eating, the interior of Tokyo’s Vampire Café (yes, yet another Japanese entry) is almost entirely blood red. Guests are ushered down a long hallway with red blood cells superimposed on the floor, while inside the decor includes heavy velvet drapes, black coffins dripping with red candle wax, skulls and crosses. Many of the meals are vampire-themed, and diners drink red cocktails from martini glasses.
Eternity Restaurant – Truskavets, Ukraine
When a group of undertakers set out to open a restaurant, you know it’s going to get a little weird. Eternity Restaurant in the Ukraine is a windowless building shaped like a giant coffin. Inside you’ll find funeral wreaths, black shrouded walls and human-sized coffins. Menu items include dishes with names like “Let’s meet in paradise”. Ummm, let’s not?
Hobbit House – Manila, Phillipines
Long before the Lord of the Rings trilogy debuted on theatre screens, the Hobbit House was founded in Manila by former Peace Corps volunteer and Tolkien fan Jim Turner. Don’t expect to find the sort of lush Middle Earth scenery that filled the movies, however – what you’ll encounter instead if you stop at the Hobbit House are ‘the smallest waiters in the world’. That’s right, check your political correctness at the door – this is one group of little people who are okay with being referred to as hobbits.