Moscow

Eating In The Dark

Here’s a restaurant theme you didn’t see coming: darkness.

The concept of purposefully eating in complete pitch-black dark originated with Jorge Spielmann, a blind clergyman from Zurich. When guests ate dinner at the Spielmann house some would wear blindfolds during their meal to show solidarity with their host and to better understand his world. What Spielmann’s sighted guests found was that the blindfolds heightened their sense of taste and smell and made their dining experience more enjoyable. That gave Spielmann the idea to open a dark restaurant, which he did in 1999.

Today you can stumble into dozens restaurants around the world where that question made famous in an American commercial in the 80s — Where’s the beef? — takes on a whole new meaning. Most dark restaurants employ blind waiters, offer a single set menu, and ban anything that could give off light (like cigarettes, cell phones and cameras) from the dinning area. All of them also have normally lit bathrooms though you’ll need to ask your waiter for help in finding it.

Here’s our illuminating look at some of the world’s dark restaurants:

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Moscow On Ice

New to Moscow’s Krasnaya Presnya park: the world’s first ice sculpture gallery. This might also be the world’s coldest museum—the frozen exhibits here are kept at -10C (14F).

Visitors to the gallery are given special coat to wear that looks like a cross between an Eskimo’s parka and an alien costume from a low budget horror movie (see photos after the jump). The coats are partially to keep you warm (and looking ridiculous) but also to keep your body temperature from melting the displays. Even with the coats, to keep the temperature constant only ten visitors are allowed in the gallery at a time. The ice displays are open year round, making the ice sculptures in Krasnaya Presnya park a good place to cool off in the summer . . . or warm up in the Moscow winter. Entrance is 350 rubles (about $14, €9).

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