Theme restaurants are a special breed. The food itself isn’t often the main draw—instead it’s all about the incredible lengths these establishments go to create a truly wondrous atmosphere. Some go all in on the fantasy, such as New York’s Ninja, an underground restaurant where you dine in a replica of a feudal Japanese village. While you eat, masked ninjas pop out of the walls, and the cocktails come with dry ice and rubber throwing stars. Others embrace concepts that are more generalized, such as San Antonio’s Magic Time Machine Restaurant—packed with wall-to-wall bric-a-brac, the overarching vibe is pop culture nostalgia. And then there’s the world-famous Casa Bonita in Denver, Colorado, where the theme seems to be… theme restaurants.
Whether it’s dishes with names so goofy you can barely tell what’s in them, or animatronic parrots interrupting with jokes while you’re trying to eat, we want to hear about what makes your favorite high-concept eatery a winner.
Fill out the form below and tell us about your favorite theme restaurant. And if you have any terrific, original photos of your nominee, please email them to email@example.com with the subject line, “Great Theme Restaurants.” Some people pick restaurants based on the quality of their food, but true explorers also occasionally dine out based on the number of mid-meal performances.
Gastro Obscura covers the world’s most wondrous food and drink.
Sign up for our email, delivered twice a week.