If you’re a big-time foodie, you’re going to want to pocket this list for your next travel adventure. There’s something so divine about trying dishes from new places around the world. It gives you a sneak peek into the heart and soul of that region. With the flavor combinations and the unique ingredients, you’ll fall in love with every bite.
Here are ten absolutely unforgettable culinary experiences that will make you want to cash in all your vacation time and hop on a plane. But don’t take our word for it. Try them out for yourself!
10 Hurawlhi, Maldives: Under the Sea
You already love dining by the ocean; how about under the ocean? At the Hurawlhi Resort in the Maldives, you can grab yourself a table at their Undersea Restaurant. You’ll dine 19 feet (5.8 meters) down in a roomy glass tunnel surrounded by coral and colorful marine life. The tables are quaint and simple, so the focus stays on the food and the fish.
There is a light dress code here but with a twist. No shoes allowed. None of the dining guests are allowed to wear shoes in the space. You have to leave them at the entrance when you walk in.
But it’s worth it for what you’ll try. This isn’t one of those restaurants where the atmosphere is amazing, but the food is practically from a cafeteria—no, the food is out of this world. They offer a 5-course lunch and a 7-course dinner. And you can enjoy flavors like Alaskan king crab and Wagyu beef. Hopefully, the fish don’t look too closely at what you’re eating.
9 Alchemist, Copenhagen
Okay, you’ve heard about holistic medicine, but have you heard of holistic dining? At Alchemist in Copenhagen, they’re combining science, art, and gastronomy to give you an incredible new culinary experience. Supposedly, it’s a sensory experience that will change the way you eat.
They seek to apply the principles of alchemy (purifying and perfecting) to the dishes they serve up.
Dining at the Alchemist isn’t something available year-round. In fact, there’s a long waitlist to get tickets, and tickets are released in three-month groups. You can only get in with specific group sizes, so make sure you take a date.
I’m sure the food is delicious, but there’s something about this place that gives off vibes from the 2022 horror film The Menu. Hopefully, they know how to make a good cheeseburger.
8 Ultraviolet, Shanghai
Eating at Ultraviolet is essentially the culinary equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting. It’s crazy, uncoordinated, eclectic, abstract, and completely genius. Armed with one of Asia’s highest-tech kitchens, this restaurant transforms everything about the space into a sensory experience for you. They even have a dry-smell projector and a “” (I’m not really sure if I want to know what that one is).
Let by Chef Paul Pairet, it’s a journey through your memories and emotions. He communicates through food, tells jokes, and makes you feel things. You could wind up with a plate full of gummy bears—who knows? There are no rules here.
If you’re hoping to swing by all on your own, think again. They don’t even disclose the location until it’s time for your reservation. You only know that it’s somewhere in Shanghai. And they have you meet at a different spot first and then take you over there. They only have ten seats available at a time, but they serve 20 courses!
7 Soneva Kiri, Thailand
At the Soneva Kiri resort in Thailand, there is literally a dining experience for everyone. They have a wide variety of experiences, all with unique menus and insane views. At the Colourful Garden, your meal comes with a mixology lesson. Or stop by Tuk’s Kitchen for a no-menu menu that offers freshly caught local seafood. Have supper and sip with a sommelier in an actual wine cellar or stop by an actual wall of ice cream.
Every dining location at Soneva Kiri highlights food from different regions around the globe. So you can try local Thai cuisine, or you can taste the world.
But out of all these experiences, the most interesting option has to be the Treepod Dining experience. They’ll place you in a sturdy bamboo pod with a dining table and pull you up into the treetops of their local rainforest. You can sit up there for up to two hours, trying elegant food with an insane view.
6 The Test Kitchen-Fledglings, South Africa
Okay, this dining experience is slightly different from the others on this list, but maybe that’s a good thing. Nestled in South Africa, The Test Kitchen-Fledglings has a unique business model. They seek out novice or “fledgling” chefs who don’t normally have access to the industry.
Giving them a paid position, they train with experienced chefs who mentor them in traditional techniques and turn them into all-stars.
While you can order a la carte, they have a special menu that highlights the strengths of their young chefs, so you can taste their progress. This restaurant is only about a year old, butare already raving about it. From taste to ambiance, these fledgling chefs are really hitting it out of the park.
5 Le Royal, Champagne, France
As you step into Le Royal, get ready to be captivated by a breathtaking panorama. The windows have an unparalleled view of Epernay and the picturesque Marne Valley. It’s an idyllic backdrop for an unforgettable dining experience. Above you, our chandeliers are adorned with a thousand crystal pendants. Their sparkling presence casts a warm and elegant ambiance.
Le Royal even has a Michelin Star, a testament to their commitment to culinary excellence. Under the visionary guidance of Chef Paolo Boscaro, they transform locally grown vegetables and herbs into masterpieces. Each dish is meticulously crafted, showcasing the rich flavors and vibrant colors of the region’s bountiful produce.
Since the culinary journey at Le Royal demands a certain level of elegance, there is a rather posh dress code. So leave the flip-flops at home. And while kids under five aren’t allowed, they offer a babysitting service so you can enjoy your meal in peace.
4 Dans Le Noir, London, UK
You can forget about dancing in the dark; now, we’re dining in the dark. That’s what Dans Le Noir translates to, and the restaurant concept takes this theme pretty literally.
When you walk in, you’ll be led by a visually impaired host to your table in a completely dark dining room. And while you can tell them about your allergies and restrictions, the rest of the menu is a complete surprise. You get to focus on the smell and the taste with heightened senses since you can’t see a thing. You’ll have to check your purse and any valuables in a locker so nothing is lost in the dark room.
They have large, group-style seating, so you’ll most likely sit next to a stranger or two. But Dans Le Noir believes that is all part of the gastronomic experience. The restaurant also offers sensory workshops and wine tastings led by a sommelier.
3 SingleThread, California
If you want to dine at SingleThread, you’re going to have to watch their newsletter like a hawk. But it’s definitely worth the effort. You can make a booking at their inn up to three months early, and their three Michelin-star rated restaurant offers a ten-course meal. Ten—let that sink in.
With a farm right on the property, they work with the community to grow hundreds of different crops on site. You know the ingredients in the food you eat will be fresh, fresh, fresh!
Kyle Connaughton is the owner and head chef. He works alongside his wife, Katina, who is the head farmer. Together, they’re changing the food game in California, both onsite with creative dishes and in their community.
Along with fresh produce and gorgeous flowers, you can also check out products that are handcrafted by local artisans. Oh, and SingleThread has a pantry line as well, so you can take those incredible flavors home with you.
2 Snow Crab Safari, Kirkenes, Norway
Embark on an exhilaratingin the enchanting town of Kirkenes, Norway, where adventure is waiting. Book your excursion through the SnowHotel, and whether you visit in the winter or summer, this experience allows you to channel your inner explorer as you set out to hunt the red king crab.
Accompanied by a professional guide and fisherman, you’ll navigate through the icy landscapes. When you encounter a magnificent king crab, be prepared for a thrill as you capture these remarkable creatures. Your guide might share insights into the crab’s behavior, anatomy, and the delicate balance of their habitat. And at the end of your trip, you’ll get to feast on a freshly caught king crab meal.
You have to have a minimum of two people for the Snow Crab Safari. And guests need to be at least seven years old. The excursion typically lasts approximately three hours, which is ample time to immerse yourself in the Arctic wonders and create memories that will last a lifetime.
1 Cafe du Monde, New Orleans
For being such a small spot, New Orleans might as well be its own little world. It has a fascinating culture and some of the most incredible food. And the menu served atis the perfect way to get a taste of the city.
But here’s the kicker: They pretty much only serve one thing. Aside from a fresh cup of coffee or some fresh-squeezed juice, their specialty is beignets. You can get them in packs of three.
Picture a golden, pillowy dough lovingly fried to perfection. Beignets are more than just pastries; they are an experience. It’s in the magical moment when you take your first bite, and the warm dough crunch meets the sweetness of the powdered sugar. It will leave you craving more.
Beignets encapsulate the spirit of New Orleans, a city known for its vivacity and love for life’s simple pleasures. As you savor each one, you can almost feel the rhythm of jazz infusing your soul, transporting you to the heart of the French Quarter.
Cafe du Monde might be a one-trick pony, but it’s a very good trick. Just be careful about wearing black clothing if you sit inside!