share
by Allen J. Sheinman | April 29, 2011

Fork to food, fork to mouth, chew, fork to food... There's a sameness to eating that can get tedious at times, but not in the five restaurants noted below, where the environment offers a unique experience for even the most jaded attendees.

1. Hajime Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand

This might be taken for any Japanese restaurant (even in Thailand) except for the four dancing robots that serve your food. No, not people in robot costumes, but four actual dancing robots. Suggested tip: a few drops of WD-40.

2. The Airplane Restaurant, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Dine in a genuine, fully intact, vintage 1953 Boeing KC-97 tanker, meaning its job was to refuel other aircraft. Today, the land-based eatery refuels up to 42 people in the fuselage (and another 233 in the surrounding venue) on fare such as the Philly Flyer (which sounds suspiciously like a cheeseburger) and the Flying Fortress Fajita Salad.

3. Opaque, Los Angeles
Imagine eating in pitch blackness -- that's Opaque. Upon entering the dining room (at least that's what we're told it is), you are seated and served by blind or visually impaired waitstaff. The idea, according to the eatery's PR notes, is that "you are abandoning your vision in exchange for a new, more stimulating dining experience." Menu options range from seared ahi tuna steak to filet mignon (they wisely forgo any dipping sauce here), and the dress code is, well, let's just say you can clash all you want.

4. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Rangali Island, Maldives
At the 146-room Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, you can dine 16 feet below the Indian Ocean, under a canopy that doubles as a domed shark tank. We trust the glass is nice and thick, because those sharks can't be too happy watching patrons pick at their relatives.

5. Mars 2112, New York City
If this is an accurate representation of Mars, you'll be glad the U.S. space program has run out of money. But you'll still enjoy a wild and wacky time in what the restaurant describes as a "35,000-square-foot, bi-level, multi-dimensional, immersive environment" complete with dancing Martians, weird scenery, drinks with names like the Cosmo-Politan and futuristic-looking metallic gizmos powered by incredible triple-AAA batteries. The cuisine is Asian/Indian, but the gestalt is out of this world.