Confront Your Deepest Fears at These Restaurants

Not all restaurants are created equal in terms of ambiance. For every low-ceilinged, softly-lit subterranean grotto, there are scores of places that rate a resounding "meh" at best. On the other hand there are those that venture so far in the opposite direction of candlelight and live string quartets that they border, very much by design, on terrifying. Such restaurants make a point of incorporating fear-inducing thematic elements into their DNA, and those that do it the right way manage to offer their guests a fun dining atmosphere with a kick of adrenaline too. Each restaurant named here has devoted great attention to inciting emotional states that range from thrilling to mind-numbing panic, depending on what frightens you the most. So, what are you afraid of?
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  • Darkness: Blindekuh

  • The caveat accepted by anyone who opts to dine here is that flying blind is the only way to fly, so you can forget about the whole "We eat with our eyes first" thing. At this restaurant, meals are taken in a lightless, windowless dining room creating such pervasive darkness that you won't be able to see the three-course dinner set before you, much less the face of whomever gets seated opposite you across the table. Staffed by servers who are themselves blind or partially-sighted, the restaurant has more to offer than an extended round of peek-a-boo; live concerts and thrill shows are also on the menu to keep things interesting as you let your remaining four senses be your guide for the evening.
  • Heights: Dinner in the Sky

  • The skies of forty-five countries and counting have set the stage for more than five thousand quality meals served by forward-thinking chefs since this dining experience was born. One might say that to enjoy Dinner In The Sky, one has to check all fear of heights at the door, but that would be incorrect, because there is no door. There are no walls. In fact, there is no floor (unless you're the chef). This dinner is eaten at a table suspended by crane up to 180 feet off the ground. From the platform at the center of the wraparound bar-style table, your chef for the evening will prepare, plate and present meals ranging from seafood entrees to tapas. Restroom facilities are located on the ground, though, so going easy on the drink menu would not be unwise.
  • Flying: A380 In-Flight Kitchen

  • The heyday of airline hot meal service might be well behind us, but that doesn’t mean the era has been forgotten. The A380 In-Flight Kitchen is decked out to resemble the interior cabin of a jumbo jetliner, right down to having baggage compartments, headrests on the airplane-style seats, and oval-shaped "windows" dotting the walls. The establishment’s waitstaff dresses like flight attendants as they serve meals in plastic cafeteria-style trays to their "passengers." Sure, it might seem a tad gimmicky at first glance, but at least diners are spared the indignity of having to contend with mid-meal turbulence, runway delays, and having to satisfy wary TSA agents before being allowed a seat. All that and still having a beverage trolley roam the aisles between the tables sounds like possibly the most enjoyable airline-related experience any of us is likely to have in the near future.
  • Water: SubSix, PER AQUUM Hotel and Resorts Niyama

  • To even reach this restaurant situated six meters below the ocean surface requires one to make their peace with riding in a speedboat. Once that much is settled, head downstairs to one of this undersea eatery's "subaquatic lunches" featuring selections like Swimmer Crab with Fennel or Wagyu Beef tenderloin, or its champagne brunches. Shades of blue and green shimmer throughout the room, serving an undersea theme marked by a clam-and-seashell motif, with chairs resembling sea anemones. Watching schools of exotic fish play past the restaurant's floor-to-ceiling glass walls while you dine and dance at one of its twice weekly Underwater Glow Parties, one could momentarily forget to be terrified of the pressure exerted upon them.
  • Claustrophobia: Prison Theme Kebab Bar

  • A first of its kind in China’s Jilin province, this place aims to give its presumably innocent paying customers a taste of life on the inside. Patrons gather at tables inside cramped jail cells that lock from the outside. If having food trays shoved at you through a tiny cage window by servers dressed like prison guards holds scarce appeal, then the establishment’s owner has accomplished his mission. The confining atmosphere is meant to dissuade folks from engaging in criminality before things get real and getting out of their cell gets more complicated than paying the check. Besides the kebabs that are the place’s specialty, menu offerings are meager, including a steamed bread offering said to be standard fare in Chinese prisons. Despite a somewhat flavorless name, the restaurant allows its guests one glimpse of drama in the form of a three-dimensional art motif that resembles a police cruiser bursting through one of its walls.
  • Ghosts: Yurei Izakaya

  • Who hasn’t wanted to tuck into a dish of something wonderful inside a Japanese horror story brought to life? The Japanese word "yurei" means "ghost," a fact reinforced from all sides as one descends darkened steps into this subterranean lair to the sound of screams and chanted sutras. Below, "yurei" servers dressed in white burial robes weave among the stupas to welcome guests as new arrivals to the other side. The menu carries this macabre motif’s torch with pride, serving up ghoulish grub like "Ghostfire Flaming Spare Ribs" for diners to enjoy before visiting the restroom where "human skin" wallpaper awaits amidst the agonized, contorted plaster faces of the damned. All-you-can-drink and all-you-can-eat specials are available in this afterlife, and are worth asking about after getting to hear all about your yurei’s life when she was alive, and how she died. Sweet dreams!

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