We’re all about off-the-beaten-path experiences at Venuelust, and we can never resist a five-star meal on our travels. So, today we decided to combine the two to bring you the 10 Most Unique Dining Experiences in the World. Dust off your favorite flatware and pull that special-occasion china down from the top shelf—your belly (and your eyes) will be growling by the time we’re done with this one.
1. Breakfast with Giraffes in Kenya
What’s better than sharing breakfast alongside some mesmerizing long-necked friends? We’re not quite sure anything—which is why Giraffe Manor, set on the edge of a nature preserve along the outskirts of Nairobi, made the Number 1 spot on our list today. When it comes to unique dining experiences, you really can’t beat curious giraffes leaning over your breakfast nook while you sip coffee, enjoy fresh fruit and, yes, share a few bites with your newfound friends.
A part of The Safari Collection, Giraffe Manor is a boutique hotel that can accommodate up to 25 guests at a time among its 10 luxury rooms and suites. Activities range from afternoon tea on the property’s picturesque terrace to guided walks through the wildlife sanctuary, but we still think sharing breakfast with an endangered Rothchild giraffe takes the coffee cake.
2. Undersea Dining in the Maldives
For Number 2 on our list, we go from creatures that tower high above ground to ones that live deep underwater. Located 16 feet below sea level at the Conrad Hotel on the Maldive’s Rangali Island, Ithaca Undersea Restaurant boasts the impressive bragging right of being the world’s very first all-glass underwater restaurant. Rated “The Most Beautiful Restaurant in the World” by the New York Daily news in 2014, few dining experiences are as unforgettably serene as the one Ithaa (meaning “Mother of Pearl” in Dihevi) delivers its guests.
Open for mid-morning cocktails, private breakfast bookings, a four-course lunch and, of course, dinner, the options really are endless when it comes to when and how you’d like to enjoy your underwater fare. We recommend mimosas in the morning for a truly unique start to your day, or caviar for dinner, for those feeling extra indulgent.
3. Treepod Dining in Thailand
For those looking for a unique dining experience high above the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we recommend treepod dining at the Soneva Kiri in Thailand. Don’t worry, though—you don’t have to be an arborist to make this climb. Guests sit in their comfortable (and grounded) bamboo pod and are then hoisted to the tops of Koh Kood’s ancient rainforest, where they can enjoy views of the lush tropical foliage that surrounds them and the crystal-clear turquoise waters beneath them.
We especially love the fact that guests can enjoy the finest gourmet dining and wine while an acrobatic server ziplines around—bringing diners anything and everything they could ever need.
4. Roof-to-Table Rooftop Dining in Brooklyn
From the ancient rainforests of Thailand to the concrete jungle that is New York, Number 4 on our list takes us to Brooklyn for a unique dining experience that gives new meaning to “farm to table.” The Brooklyn Grange Farm is the leading rooftop farming organization in the United States, and, between its two rooftop gardens in New York City, grows over 50,000 pounds of fresh, organically cultivated produce every single year.
It distributes much of its produce to buyers throughout the area but—lucky for Venuelusters everywhere—also hosts private dining events, where guests are served dishes prepared by renowned NYC chefs, which consist of delicious, hearty produce grown just feet from the table they’re sitting at.
With airy breezes that carry the scents of the herbs and citrus trees that surround you, farm-to-table dishes that certainly don’t disappoint, and unobstructed views of one of the greatest cities on Earth, few dining experiences are as authentic (and organic) at that which the Brooklyn Grange offers.
5. Star-Gazing Dining in Australia
For Number 5 on our list, we leave the city that never sleeps and make our way to the ever-sleepy Australian Outback, where we head for a dinner beneath the stars at Table 131°. Part of Longitude 131°, a luxury glamping resort that faces Australia’s famous Ayers Rock, dinners at Table 131° include a four-course meal accompanied by some of Australia’s finest wines. But, while the food is world-class, we are especially enamored with the cultural lesson that comes along with the experience. As guests dine al-fresco under an Outback sky blanketed with stars, a local astronomer shares ancient tales of the constellations above.
6. “Supper Club” Dining in Las Vegas
Any list of unique dining experiences wouldn’t be complete without at least one venue from the entertainment capital of the world. Located in the always-awake Las Vegas, Nevada, Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at the Cosmopolitan is a self-described “modern supper club,” where fine dining meets speakeasy-chic meets live performing arts. With “spontaneous entertainment,” that ranges from tap dancers to acrobats to lounge singers, guests are guaranteed to never have the same experience twice—and the specifics of the venue’s entertainment schedule are perhaps one of Las Vegas’ best-kept secrets (after all, what happens there, stays there).
Dishes worth trying include Rose. Rabbit. Lie.’s famous caviar tacos (which were voted the city’s “Best Small Plate” by Vegas Seven) and the “cookie jar,” a combination of cookies and sweet treats that are definitely worth saving room for. You really can’t go wrong when it comes to cocktails, but a few of our favorites include The Peruvian Sour and the Salt of the Earth.
7. Treehouse Dining in Maui
Dubbed “Maui’s best kept dining experience,” The Treehouse at Hotel Wailea holds the Number 7 spot on our list for good reason. The dishes are as organic and local as they come, and menus are inspired by the island’s farms and fishermen alike—ensuring plates are as fresh and in-season as possible. Complete with stunning ocean views, an overhead canopy of ripening mangos and avocados, a five-course private dinner, and—wait for it—a sunset champagne toast for the books, few dining experiences are as romantic and nature-inspired as this one.
8. Dining Under a Canopy of Lemon Trees in Capri
For Number 8 on our list, we head to Italy’s coveted Amalfi Coast where the island of Capri offers one of the most whimsical (and delicious) dining experiences in the world. Set under a canopy of mature lemon trees (and when we say “canopy,��� we mean CANOPY), few dining experiences offer a sight like Da Paolino Restaurant. As far as dishes go, you truly can’t go wrong, but we recommend ensuring whatever your order has lemons in it (for obvious reasons). And, for pre-meal cocktails, you have to try their limoncello—it’s among the best (and most authentic) on Earth.
9. Dining in the Dark in New York
Number 9 on our list brings us back to the Big Apple for a unique dining experience as different (and unforgettable) as they come. Camaje Bistro & Lounge in New York City offers weekly “Dinners in the Dark,” where guests are—you guessed it—blindfolded throughout their meal to heighten all other senses (like taste and smell).
Menus are kept secret until the end of the meal, forcing guests to really focus on the flavors of each plate—making this experience perfect for any foodies out there wanting to put their knowledge to the test. Inevitably, the experience becomes an interactive one as guests try to figure out what’s on their plate and in their wine glass. We especially love the idea of booking a private Dinner in the Dark for your next celebration—the unique concept makes for a perfect outing for birthday dinners and bachelorette celebrations alike.
10. Snowy Yurt Dining in Utah
We round out our list today with a trip to Utah’s slopes, where guests at the Solitude Ski Resort have the opportunity to dine in a Mongolian yurt, surrounded by blankets of fresh powder and a lantern-lit forest. Dinner in the yurt begins with a quick snowshoe trip through a snowy Utah forest. Then, upon arrival, world-renowned chefs prepare a four-course meal for up to 24 of your closest friends and family. We love the idea of booking the yurt for a romantic anniversary dinner or even for a combined bachelor and bachelorette party.
Have any must-share unique dining experiences? Tell us about them in the comments section below.