Grotta Palazzese Restaurant, Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Italy

It’s currently trendy to overcome our fears, and nature provides beautiful backdrops for many blood-pumping activities, from surfing to skydiving and now, extreme dining. Going out to eat can be an adventure and offer an adrenaline rush on top of the memorable moments shared over a delicious meal. Some concept restaurants challenge their patrons by creating outrageously unconventional environments. Whether in the air or under the sea, these dining experiences will test your phobias while inviting you to taste some unforgettable meals.

 

Overcome your fear of heights

Dinner In The Sky is a truly novel way to enjoy a delicious three- or four-course meal, if you can avoid vertigo. What began in Belgium in 2007 has spread to 47 countries, and for approximately $300, diners strap into seats that are attached to table platforms and are hoisted by a crane to heights reaching 180 feet. Top chefs and servers soar with guests and add finishing touches to the dishes (that are first prepared on the ground).

dinner in the sky

The 10th Anniversary Celebration of Dinner in the Sky | Image courtesy of Dinner in the Sky

Also, the US has one of the only permanent locations, in Las Vegas. Who’s up for a side of sky with their main course?

dinner in the sky

Dinner in the Sky’s only permanent location in Las Vegas, NV | Image courtesy of Dinner in the Sky

dinner in the sky

Dinner in the Sky in Antwerp | Image courtesy of Dinner in the Sky

Leave the surf overhead and dine underwater

Usually, crashing waves enhance a feeling of relaxation when enjoying a meal, but what about dining 16 feet below the surf? At Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, diners are engulfed by panoramic views of turquoise blue and fish directly overhead. This is the first (and only) all-glass restaurant to be submerged under the sea.

rangali maldives

Maldives beach, Rangali and Rangalifinolhu island.

The subaquatic restaurant is located in remote Maldives, an island country located southwest of India and Sri Lanka, but the service will have you feeling like you’re in the center of a major metropolis. Lunch and dinner consist of four and seven courses respectively (which includes dessert). Clearly, plunging below the beaten path doesn’t need to mean sacrificing luxury.

 

Climb your way to a Swiss meal in picturesque surroundings

Scaling perilous cliffsides is a popular extreme activity, and in the northern Swiss Alps, the end of your trek can be met with a meal and drink along with the view. And although Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli is a hostel-style accommodation, a quaint breakfast or lunch reflecting the region’s produce (and cooked by the owner) is the main driving force that attracts many day visitors.

Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli Seealpsee

Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli Seealpsee | Photo: Patrick Dobler on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A cable car ride and 15-minute hike will cushion your efforts to reach this location. Once you make it, taking in the sights while sipping on a locally brewed beer or savoring a cup of coffee will make overcoming any reservations over steep precipices all the more worthwhile.

Spring scene in Appenzell Canton, Switzerland.

Spring scene in Appenzell Canton, Switzerland.

 

A fairytale ambiance awaits once you get past your fear of caves

While caves are typically described as dank and eerie, fantastical and romantic is a more accurate picture of the Grotta Palazzese summer cave restaurant. Located in Polignano a Mare, southern Italy, the restaurant sits in the limestone cliffside looking over the Adriatic Sea from 75 feet above sea level, and above the restaurant is its namesake hotel.

Grotta Palazzese Restaurant, Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Italy

Grotta Palazzese Restaurant, Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Italy

You may need to see this location for yourself to believe that it really exists. And don’t let claustrophobia prevent you from sitting inside the cave to dine, either. Not only does the seafood-laden menu fit the restaurant’s breathtaking view of the water, but you will also experience what was once the banquet venue for Italian royalty in the 1700s.

Grotta Palazzese Restaurant, Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Italy

Grotta Palazzese Restaurant, Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Italy

 

Brave the dark for tantalizing aroma and exploding flavor

Regardless of how a dish tastes, many people won’t touch it if it’s not visually appealing. The same mentality goes with enjoying a venue, and as this list has so far proven, the most beautiful, interesting or scenic sights top many to-go lists. Ignoring the trend in aesthetics, however, is what makes this last restaurant so exciting. Last but not least is Ctaste in Amsterdam, the restaurant where patrons eat in complete darkness, “seeing the taste” instead of the presentation.

Ctaste serre

Image courtesy of Ctaste

During this sensational dinner adventure, “sense” is the operative word. First, diners are led into a brightly-lit lounge, where the host will ask a few easy questions that will guide the chefs in creating a surprise meal. Options include a seafood dish, meat or poultry, or a vegetarian option, but it’s also possible to be 100% surprised. Afterward, a server will guide diners to their seats in a pitch black dining room and proceed to serve the dinner procession. If you go, be prepared to rely on your senses of taste and smell to guide you through a three- or five-course meal, each set at flat rates.