From glacier-top feasts to dinner in a date grove, culinary experiences don’t need to be confined to traditional restaurant settings, especially when traveling. We’ve rounded up 20 places where unique gourmet meals come served in peculiar locations, taking you from a steam boiler in Washington for smoked meats, to high up a tree in Thailand for canapés in a canopy.
By Anja Mutic
Observation Wheel Dining in Singapore
The Singapore Flyer, the world’s second largest observation wheel, arranges glitzy butler-serviced dinners on-board a private capsule. As you rotate 540 feet above landmarks like the F1 Circuit and Collyer Quay, indulge in a four-course meal with selections from a rotating menu paired with the city’s signature drink, a Singapore Sling.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Singapore Travel Guide
Treepod Dining at Soneva Kiri
WHERE: Koh Kood, Thailand
At eco-minded Soneva Kiri resort, adventurous diners can nibble on canapés in a canopy while discreetly dangling in a dense forest of trees above the jagged coastline of Koh Kood. The nest-like pod for four is hoisted up a tree, while zip-lining waiters serve taro chips and vegetables in Thai pistou from the island’s organic gardens.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Thailand Travel Guide
Wine Train Dining in Napa Valley
WHERE: Napa Valley, California
The plush Napa Valley Wine Train takes the concept of wine and dine onto the tracks, in restored 20th-century Pullman or Visa Dome cars. As you glide past the vineyards of California’s wine country in the mahogany-clad train car, savor delicious bites, such as the tenderloin in a Cabernet Sauvignon reduction.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Napa and Sonoma Travel Guide
Heli-Dining at Four Seasons Resort Whistler
WHERE: Whistler, British Columbia
The culinary team at the grand Four Seasons Resort Whistler offers a new twist on après-ski, transporting guests by helicopter to a glacier for an open-air buffet. This mountaintop dining experience comes with endless backcountry horizons and a customized menu that can include altitude beer sausages and bacon-infused vodka cocktails.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s British Columbia Travel Guide
On-stage Dining at the Hungarian State Opera House
Where: Budapest, Hungary
Dine center stage at the iconic neo-classical Hungarian State Opera House, courtesy of the regal Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace. The entire theater can be yours for the night as you enjoy a multi-act dinner with private opera concerts as you dine on sea bass and Rossini-style veal fillets, courtesy of a culinary performance from executive chef Leonardo Di Clemente.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Budapest Travel Guide
High-altitude Dining at The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago
Comfort food is taken to new heights at The Ledge at Skydeck, which serves famous Chicago-style stuffed pizzas from Giordano’s in a collection of private glass boxes that extend beyond the 103rd floor of Willis Tower. Or opt for Oysters Rockefeller and three-hour short ribs to complement the city lights sparkling 1353 feet below.
Insider Tip: Dining options vary depending on the month, so be sure to call ahead or look online before planning a visit.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Chicago Travel Guide
Steam Plant Dining in Washington
WHERE: Spokane, Washington
In tribute to the industrial revolution, the early 20th-century Steam Plant has been painstakingly restored into a multi-functional space iconic to Spokane’s skyline. At Stacks Restaurant, dine in a massive steam boiler, savoring favorites like Manila clams in Cutter’s Pale Ale brewed on site.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Spokane and Eastern Washington Travel Guide
Tramline Dining at High Finance
Where: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Nestled on an observation deck 10,378 feet in the air, the High Finance Restaurant & Tavern features stunning views of the Sandia Mountains. To reach the isolated eatery, which serves up green chile chicken alfredo and New York strip, you have to glide 2.7 miles on a tramline, passing the rugged rock faces above Rio Grande Valley.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Albuquerque Travel Guide
Alfresco Dining in Date Grove
WHERE: Yuma, Arizona
Cordon Bleu-trained chef Alex Trujillo has interpreted ‘date night’ literally, serving a date fruit-inspired menu under the stars in a date grove. Sponsored by the Yuma Visitors Bureau, the multi-course dinners also include a presentation from a grower.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Southern Arizona Travel Guide
Seaside Dining at Namale Resort & Spa
WHERE: Savusavu, Fiji
At the all-inclusive Namale Fiji resort, a candlelit pathway sprinkled with flower petals guides guests into a cave archway on the edge of the Koro Sea for dinner in Pacific bliss. With tiki torches flickering against the lava rock, take in rainforest vistas as you sample Fijian kokoda made with the catch of the day.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Fiji Travel Guide
Outdoor Dining at the Santa Fe Opera
WHERE: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Tailgating is taken up a notch at the The Santa Fe Opera. This car-side feast of lavish dinner boxes, with flank steaks and spinach tarts, takes up the parking lot three hours before the curtain opens. Visitors can bring their own food or order one of these tailgate boxes, prepared by Bon Appétit.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Santa Fe Travel Guide
High-altitude Dining at Mammoth Mountain
WHERE: Mammoth Lakes, California
Sip champagne from bottomless glasses before you hop on the luxury snowcat to your elevated gourmet experience at slope-side Mammoth Mountain Inn. You’ll dine at the high-altitude Parallax Restaurant overlooking the snowcapped peaks of the Eastern Sierra landscape. Wrap up the chef’s table experience with homemade marshmallows at 9,600 feet.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s The Southern Sierra Travel Guide
Dining in the Dark at O.NOIR
WHERE: Toronto, Canada
Try and fork up your grilled octopus or guess your surprise dessert at O.NOIR, a restaurant where guests dine in complete darkness, served by visually impaired waiters. This dining in the dark experience intensifies taste, smell, and touch.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Toronto Travel Guide
Mountaintop Dining at Homewood Mountain Resort
WHERE: Lake Tahoe, California
When the snow melts at the lakeside Homewood Mountain Resort, this established ski destination continues to thrive. Every summer chefs, like Billy McCullough, host a series of Farm to Peak dinners on a mountaintop, reachable by a scenic ride on the Quail Chairlift. Dine on delicious culinary creations and humble slow food, paired with birds-eye vistas of Lake Tahoe below.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Lake Tahoe Travel Guide
Farm-to-Table Dining at Red Rabbit Farm
WHERE: Orcas Island, Washington
It did not take long for renowned local chef Christina Orchid, who had otherwise retired, to return to the stove. On her historic Red Rabbit Farm on Orcas Island, Christina hosts farm-to-table dinners in her barn every Sunday, where guests dine on lamb platters and rhubarb crumble during these family-style get-togethers.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s San Juan Islands Travel Guide
Tree House Dining at Tongabezi Lodge
WHERE: Livingstone, Zambia
Nestled on the banks of the Zambezi River, the alfresco chalets at Tongabezi Lodge offer a peaceful retreat between African outback safaris. Wrapped around a riverine Ebony tree, the tree house is an ideal place to stay, and with a candlelit deck that juts out over the river, it’s an ideal spot for sundown dinners.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Zambia Travel Guide
Yurt Dining at Solitude Mountain Resort
WHERE: Solitude, Utah
Strap on a pair of snowshoes, take a short jaunt along a lantern-lit trail, and splurge on lobster crepes and Cabernet-poached pears in a secluded Yurt. Surrounded by the pine forests of the expansive Solitude Mountain Resort ski area, a different five-course menu is prepared in front of guests every night.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Park City and the Southern Wasatch Travel Guide
Seafood Shack Dining at LoLo’s
WHERE: New York City, New York
Husband-and-wife team Chef Raymond Mohan and Skai Young take customers on a culinary journey, inspired by their own American and Caribbean roots, at Lolo’s Seafood Shack. This humble hut in Harlem with scrap wood interiors and steaming pots stirs up a Caribbean mash-up menu showcasing conch fritters and shark+bake johnny cakes.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide
Lunch Train Dining at Terry Bison Ranch
WHERE: Cheyenne, Wyoming
Visitors to the authentic Western-style Terry Bison Ranch can hop on board the Sunday Lunch Train and munch on fingerlickin’ buffalo burgers—voted the best in Wyoming by the Food Network. On the jaunt, you travel through the prairies of this private estate that spans into Colorado, with bison roaming along the tracks.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Wyoming Travel Guide
Tipi Camp Dining at Amangani
WHERE: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
A winter highlight at ridge-top Amangani is the Western-style dinners at the Tipi Camp located via sleigh ride along the swerving Snake River. Take in moonlit vistas of the Gros Ventre Butte as you travel thorugh the National Elk Refuge before stepping into a warm tipi where you’ll be treated to a feast of free-range buffalo prime ribs and salmon.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Jackson Hole and Northwest Wyoming Travel Guide