We all know that Japan is a mecca when it comes to bizarre theme cafés (see: cat cafés; owl cafés; maid cafes; cuddle cafés; etc, etc, etc). Most of these cafés, however, are more about the theme experience (Purring kitties! French maids dancing!) than the actual food and drink.
We sought out some of the craziest theme restaurants and cafés in the world where the food, instead of being an afterthought, is an essential part of the experience. Read on, and book your flight now:
1. Kewpie Mayonnaise Cafe
Of all the condiments, mayonnaise might be the most controversial—you either love it or hate it. Rocket News 24 reports that a pop-up café dedicated entirely to Kewpie mayo, a brand as popular in Japan as Hellmann’s is in America, opened in Tokyo this month. There's Kewpie incorporated into all the dishes, like a gratin of cheese, mayo, taro, and miso. Don't miss the assorted raw veggies and French fries served with a variety of flavored mayo dipping sauces.
2. Alice in a Labyrinth
If Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is one of your favorite books, imagine it as a fantasy dining destination--then head to the reality at Alice in a Labyrinth in Tokyo’s Ginza district. The décor is right out of the pages of the classic novel, with chairs in the shape of rose bushes, dining booths inside giant tea cups, and a ceiling covered in playing cards. The food reflects the story as well: You can order a tiered tea party platter with scones and sweets, a sushi roll shaped like a caterpillar, and an ice cream dessert themed after the Cheshire cat. Fun cocktails with names like the White Rabbit or Mad Hatter scream "drink me."
3. Zauo Fishing Restaurant
A fishing-themed restaurant with several locations in Japan, Zauo is the whole package: You catch your own fish and then eat it for dinner. The restaurants boast fishing ponds stocked with live red snapper, flounder, and more. Grab a rod and some bait, cast your line, and hope for the best. Once you catch a fish, they'll cook it to your liking—grilled, fried, or even turned into sashimi. And don't worry, if you're feeling lazy the staff will catch a fish for you—but where’s the fun in that?
4. Hello Kitty Chinese Cuisine
A dim sum restaurant themed after Hello Kitty may be the most adorable spot in Hong Kong. The famous feline adorns nearly every item in the restaurant, from the ceiling lanterns to the dishware and wall art. But it's the food that's the most fun—assorted dumplings, buns, and sponge cakes are shaped like Hello Kitty, complete with that famous hair bow (made out of rice flour dyed with beets!).
5. Heart Attack Grill
Las Vegas' Heart Attack Grill is a study in delicious satire: A huge scale greets you when you walk in, and anyone over 350 pounds eats for free. (Seriously.) The menu is comprised of insanely gluttonous burgers, fries, and shakes, all served by a wait staff dressed as nurses or doctors. But don’t bite off more than you can chew: If you don’t clear your plate, you might get a spanking from one of the nurses! (Again, seriously.) Burgers like the Quadruple Bypass (with four beef patties) and the Coronary Dog, a half-pound hot dog topped with chili and cheese, ensure you'll barely make it out alive. Wild, scary times.
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