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Food Network’s 11 Favorite Experiential Restaurants

May 22, 2023

Feasting under a waterfall, supping in the sky and sipping cocktails on a secret island are just a few of these unique adventurous dining options.

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Photo: Dinner in the Sky

What Is Experiential Dining?

People are looking for new and fun ways to dine out the white tablecloth experience on its own just doesn’t necessarily cut it anymore. Enter experiential dining, which brings guests memorable, unique meals. From lunch beneath a waterfall to dinner in the sky, here are the restaurants you need to reserve now for a meal you won’t soon forget.

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Photo: Daisy Rose Coby/Anderson


San Francisco, California

Price per diner: $50 and up

What do you get when you cross North African cuisine, Michelin-starred hospitality and acrobatic performances? The answer is Berber, an opulent San Francisco restaurant that’s earned rave reviews for its unique spin on dinner-and-a-show (Thursday to Sunday). The cabaret-style layout ensures that everyone has a view of the stage and the dazzling evening theatrics, which includes a weekly-changing line-up of dancers, aerialists, acrobats, contortionists and musicians. Menu highlights include a trio of dips with house smoked bread, mains such as a camel burger or lamb tagine plumped up with spiced prunes and apricots and desserts such as Turkish coffee creme brulee or baklava paired with pistachio ice cream. Once a month, you can bring your dog to a special brunch, when Fido will also get to enjoy a three-course feast.

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Photo: Fever Originals

Dining in the Dark

Multiple locations across the U.S. and worldwide

Price per diner: $80 to $110, depending on location

If it’s true that 80 percent of people eat with their eyes, what happens when the lights go out? The folks behind entertainment company Fever bet that eliminating sight would heighten diners’ sense of taste and smell. Turns out it does, and Dining in the Dark is a trend with staying power it’s now available in 30 cities worldwide including top U.S. culinary destinations such as New York, Miami, Chicago and Houston. Diners choose their menu ahead of time according to their dietary preference. Upon arrival, guests are blindfolded throughout their meal (barring bathroom breaks, of course!) and a three-course menu unfolds. Project manager Isabella Szpigiel shares that some of the most popular Dining in the Dark menus have included modern twists on traditional Balkan dishes, Southern Italian flavors and Mexican cuisine.

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Photo: Dinner in the Sky

Dinner in the Sky

Various locations worldwide

Price per diner: $200, on average

The sky is no longer the limit when it comes to adventure dining. Since its inception more than 15 years ago, Dinner in the Sky has hosted over 10,000 unique events and featured 100 Michelin-star chefs across more than 80 countries. It’s all made possible thanks to the joint forces of Hakuna Matata, a communication agency specializing in gourmet experiences, and The Fun Group, a company specializing in amusement park installations. Owner David Ghysels shares that one memorable event featured chef Joel Robuchon cooking for Prince Albert of Monaco, while another featured a soprano serenading guests from a fishing boat while diners nibbled dessert from their lofty perch in the air. Visit their site for the latest offerings, like "Santa in the Sky" come Christmastime or an "Opera In the Sky" at the Tower of London.

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