While us students usually don’t mind what, where or when we eat, there are some restaurants that brought the dining experience to a whole new level (which a few of them even did, literally). Today’s dining guests want more than a perfectly cooked beef wellington, served by the most amiable waiter: they are looking for an experience. As a restaurant owner, you may choose to have a band playing in the corner to spice up the ambiance or invite a prestigious cook to entertain your guests with his or her art of cooking. However, there are also some restaurants which came up with bizarre concepts which strangely enough worked very well. You may have heard of an underwater restaurant or being served by robots. Even in the Netherlands you can have an extraordinary dining experience. We came up with five unusual dining experiences in our small country. Even the sky is no longer the limit! 

1.   Shamelessly playing footsie

There seem to appear more and more restaurants where one can experience dining in pitch black darkness. Of these restaurants, Ctaste in Amsterdam is one of them. All the sources of light are removed to make sure you can’t see a single thing. This means that finding your cutlery might be a bit of a challenge, moreover you have no idea of what exactly is on your plate. The idea of dining without any lights is that eliminating one sense, intensifies the others. While your sense of smell enhances, your receptiveness of differences in temperature and texture also increases. Furthermore, you will be served by a visually impaired staff. So besides an unforgettable sensory experience, it also leads to more awareness of the visually impaired. And since you can’t see anything, there’s no need to worry about which spoon to use or about food stuck between your front teeth. Well, at least until you walk outside then.

2.  The sky is no longer the limit

Unlike many others, I will not easily go on a balloon flight. Let alone that I could eat something in a situation at that height. However, Angelique Schmeinck thought otherwise. In her hot air balloon restaurant called ‘CuliAir Sky Dining’, there is room for 14 people. They will not only enjoy stunning views of the Netherlands, but also get culinary delights prepared in the sky. Fun fact, while Angelique cooks, she makes use of the hot air in the balloon. Cool right?

3. Go green

Restaurant De Kas is located in a set of greenhouses in Amsterdam. You might think that this setting would be dull and gloomy, but if I may believe the many great reviews, nothing is farther from the truth. Guests have indicated that De Kas brings you into a fairy-like world with a great ambiance. On top of that, the food is amazing and really fresh. De Kas grows their own herbs and vegetables in the greenhouses and gardens at the restaurant. Based on the harvest of that day, they will prepare a dinner. So that means that the menu differs from day to day and you don’t know what you’ll eat until it is served.

4. Haute cuisine – literally

Ever dreamed about a flying dinner table? The dining concept ‘Dinner in the Sky’, takes guest 50 meters up, suspended by a crane, to enjoy a meal. As if that weren’t enough, the diner is prepared and served by top chefs. Some even with Michelin stars to their name. The idea of dining in the sky came up several years ago in Belgium. Over the past few years, ‘Dinner in the Sky' has taken place in the skies of 45 countries, including the Netherlands. The views are to die for, until you have to pee…

5. Time is money

In the Russian Ziferblat cafes you have to pay for the time spent there, rather than for the refreshments. Based on the fact that you can only drink a cup of coffee and have a little snack, the Ziferblat cafes aren’t comparable to the unique dining experiences like the ones I’ve mentioned before. But since such a similar café has opened in Groningen last Tuesday, I couldn’t resist mentioning it in this list. Surprisingly, it is called the ‘Minute Bar’ and it is located in the Steentilstraat. For every minute that you spend there, you have to pay 5 cents. In exchange they offer you unlimited coffee, tea, snacks, power supply and high speed internet. So if you’re a person that always says: ‘Time is money!’, then perhaps this is the right place for you.