Menu Close

A guide to the world’s most exotic restaurants

From the scenic to the remote, the weird to the hidden, here are some of the world’s most distinctive luxury restaurants.

There are plenty of luxury restaurants around the world, but there are a few that really stand out thanks to their strange or beautiful settings.

We’ve listed just a few of the more unique restaurants from around the world, from those sitting in the ocean to those inside high-security prisons.

Go under the sea: Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives

Ithaa means mother-of-pearl in the Maldivian dialect of Dhivehi, and it’s a fitting testament to the beauty of this underwater restaurant.

Located five metres under sea level at Rangali Island, the luxurious Ithaa Undersea Restaurant serves a fusion of European and Asian influenced cuisine.

The six-course dinner features extravagances like prawn tartare and lobster-stuffed calamarata pasta. Meanwhile, the four-course lunch offers squid ink miso-dashi consommé and sous vide bresse chicken.

And while you eat, you’ll be afforded a view of the gorgeous blue Indian Ocean, as shoals of tropical fish swim overhead.

Dine in someone’s estate: De Grendel, South Africa

De Grendel, South Africa

Located in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, the De Grendel restaurant is housed within the estate of the influential Graaff family.

The house was built in 1898 by Sir David Pieter de Villiers Graaff, and the acclaimed restaurant opened in 2012.

Aside from the food, the best part is the fantastic views, which take in Table Bay and Table Mountain, providing a spectacular vista for fine dining and locally made wine.

Get locked behind bars: Fortezza Medicea, Italy

Book well ahead because this restaurant in Volterra is hard to get into. That’s not just because it resides in a 13th-century fortress, but also because that fortress is now a high-security prison.

The exclusive meals require background checks and security screening, but demand is high regardless – there are only eight events a year.

Prisoners serve meals and serenade guests, all while learning skills to help prepare them for the outside world.

A plate is pricey, but all proceeds go to charity; since 2007, the initiative has reportedly earned US$140,000 for various good causes.

Find this rocky outpost: The Rock, Tanzania

The Rock, Tanzania

Located on the island of Zanzibar, this little restaurant sits on a rock amid the waters of the Indian Ocean, having been repurposed from a local fisherman’s post.

You’d be forgiven for thinking it was abandoned, given that you can only reach it by wading at low tide or by boat at high tide.

Despite appearances, The Rock offers locally caught seafood and Tanzania’s best beef, dressed in Zanzibar spices. And if you just fancy a drink, try the open-air terrace under the African stars.

Hang off a cliff face: caFangweng Restaurant, China

Embedded in the cliff face, hanging hundreds of metres over China’s Yangtze River, is this unique restaurant.

It’s built in natural caves throughout the rock face. Specialities include the local Yichang Sturgeon and other fish dishes, though plenty of vegetarian options are available.

And while you eat, you can also enjoy the sight of bungee jumpers flinging themselves into the canyon from the opposite side.

From a diamond-eyed chocolate bunny to a water bottle made from 24-karat gold, these pricey delicacies put their conventional counterparts to shame.

Leave a Reply