Do you have your favourite time and place for dining? Have you already tried everything on the menu and has the excitement steadily faded away? Do you want to beat the routine and go beyond your usual dining out? Have you ever heard of restaurants that provide once-in-a-lifetime dining experiences that will surely tip the scales? Read on and get to know the restaurants that offer truly unique dining opportunities. Some of these restaurants take it to the extreme, and most of them are so interesting that they’re bordering on weird. Unusual places, unusual food — everything about them is out of ordinary!
10 Dufferin Street, Exhibition Place
If you like Medieval Times, take a trip back to a time when jousting was the popular sport and dinner was a celebration. Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament Toronto offers an 11th-century experience, complete with dinner and a show. Related onsite offerings also include a bar, a dance floor, a display of medieval artefacts, and even a medieval torture museum. The first Medieval Times castle opened 40 years ago in Majorca, Spain, and it soon ventured overseas. They currently run attractions in nine North American cities.
The show strives to provide authenticity and entertainment. Dine with the king and queen while watching the knights joust and sword fight. And if you can’t find the fork, don’t worry; in medieval times, people enjoyed their meal with their hands! It may seem a bit messy but it makes the taste of a four-course meal more intense.
Typically, you will be first brought pitchers of pop and water, followed by a tomato bisque (call it Dragon’s blood for kids) poured into a soup cup and a slice of garlic bread for any remaining soup. Afterwards, you’ll get half of an herb roasted chicken and a baked potato. Next up is a massive plate of ribs and a dessert, of course. There are vegetarian meal options, which consist of the potato, vegetables, and rice. Once the show is over, you can get your picture taken with the knights. If such extraordinary dinner theatre is what you’re looking for, Medieval Times won’t disappoint!
620 Church Street
The most unique feature of O.Noir Toronto is the “dine-in-dark” concept and practice, the service from legally blind people, and the trust between guests and services. “Dark dining” claims to shine a light on flavour, and if you’ve ever taken a bite of something with your eyes closed, you’ll probably agree with me. The increasingly popular “dark dining” phenomenon has its roots in both Europe and North America, and the playful concept is currently spreading quickly across Asia, too.
A typical meal at these restaurants goes like this: after choosing the dish, diners are led to a pitch-black room where visually impaired guides seat them at a table. Many describe such an eating experience as if they were eating for the first time. They are often unable to recognize something they’ve eaten many times before. And everyone says you’ll find it easier than expected to eat in the dark.
The O.Noir company opened Canada’s only “dine-in-dark” restaurant first in Montreal then a second in Toronto. Apart from the sensual dining experience and stimulation of the senses, O.Noir tries to provide customers with an authentic feeling of what it’s like to be blind — just like their entire wait staff. This socially conscious concept was promoted by a blind Swiss pastor, Jorge Spielmann, who used to blindfold his own dinner guests to show them his eating experience. In 1999, he set up a project that focused on teaching the sighted about sightless life and getting work for blind people.
If you are tempted to go there for dinner, you might try their most popular main dish, Five Spice Filet mignon served with Potatoes and Vegetables. Popular starters are Arugula Salad (with fresh Mushrooms and Parmigiano shavings with lemon) and Grilled O.Noir Octopus (with olive oil and lime). O.Noir customers most often order the Surprise Dessert as the last course. The most extraordinary customer request was a marriage proposal and engagement in their dining rooms, playing music or songs by the man who proposed to the woman. If the idea of eating in the dark doesn’t weird you out, your should try it!
49 Front Street East
This is a nice, entertaining restaurant that will satisfy all those who wish to savour the atmosphere of a harem, enjoy some belly dancing, and dive into the spicy flavours of the Middle East. The downtown restaurant is carved into two distinct parts, Café Moroc upfront and The Sultan’s Tent in the back, which are both popular choices for locals, tourists, and large parties. The first is a rather luxurious site that resembles Rick’s Café from the movie Casablanca, the latter an exotic hideaway. Both venues are served by the same kitchen, with some variations on the menu.
Dark and atmospheric, the restaurant offers a wide variety of exclusive dishes. The menu includes classic Moroccan favourites such as B’stilla, a sweet and savoury pastry with chicken, almonds, and caramelized onions; couscous, lamb, chicken, and spicy meat as well as Middle Eastern-inspired variations like house-cut fries. The Couscous Royale and sweet keskesu (sweet couscous, cinnamon, almonds, raisins, and orange blossom water) are among the most popular orders. Portions are generous yet not overwhelming, and service is friendly and attentive. The ambiance is attractive at first glance: silk tents lit by lanterns, comfortable divans, soft cushions everywhere, and tea poured into tall ornate glass. It’s a great idea for a romantic dinner.
3401 Dufferin Street
This restaurant might appear like childish, but The Rain Forest Café is often enjoyed by adult visitors as well. The elaborately decorated themed facility with moving robot animals and servers dressed in safari gear will make children especially happy. There are moving monkeys, snakes, elephants, birds, and more along the walls, accompanied by authentic sound effects. The interior doesn’t lack a waterfall and star-gazing section, either. When you walk in, a giant fish tank surrounds you. Every half an hour, a simulated thunder storm occurs and you can hear thunder. At last, where else can you eat a volcano?
Their menu features a wide array of tropical treats, including exotic salads and creative entrées that come in generous portions. Every five minutes, you can hear a server shouting, “VOOOOLCANOOOO!” as the servers rush out with the Sparkling Volcano dessert. They have also the special kids’ menu for children aged 10 and less. You can order curiosities such as Python Pasta, Rainforest Rascals, Gorilla Grilled Cheese Delight, or Lava Mud. Even though the prices there are quite high and the place is always noisy, this themed restaurant is definitely a great place to take kids for a variety of attractions.
2122 Bloor Street West
Caesar Salad in Rawlicious
Looking for 100 per cent raw all the time? Then Rawlicious is the right choice for you. This restaurant is a suitable place for vegans, vegetarians, raw foodies, and those with celiac disease as well as for those willing to venture out and try something new. Although their goal to serve not just healthy but also delicious food might seem too ambitious considering the process in which dishes are done, you will probably be pleasantly surprised by the rich and flavourful taste and the dash of creativity there. Many regular customers claim that Rawlicious is unlike most of the vegan or raw restaurants that are often either cafeteria-style or just feel like cheap stuff with expensive prices. Curious about how raw versions of the Nacho Platter, the taco wrap, or lasagna taste? If you also want to feel good about what you eat, Rawlicious should be the destination to check out.