Four Unique Luxury Dining Experiences Around The World

Explore four spots that offer unique tasting experiences, including multi-course meals in an ice cave and an underwater restaurant.

Great restaurants provide unforgettable gustatory adventures to their guests, but some take it to a whole new level. Sure, fine dining establishments have their unique selling points, but many of them have fairly ordinary setups in most respects. Except, of course, for some spots that go out of their way to pair unconventional and imaginative locations with delicious meals.

Just how unconventional is “unconventional”? Think dining spots in the open African safari, underwater meals, and dishes served inside an icy cave. Though these seem like outrageous scenarios, they’re quite real. 

To learn more, below are five lavish dining establishments that think (or rather, serve) outside the box:

Klein Jan at Tswalu Kalahari, South Africa 

It’s one thing to go on a safari trip, and it’s another to actually enjoy your meals within the African wilderness. Klein Jan—situated in South Africa’s biggest private safari reserve, Tswalu Kalahari—offers all this and more. 

Klein Jan at Tswalu Kalahari, South Africa 
Klein Jan’s century old farmhouse in the African safari of Tswalu/Photo from the Tswalu website

The dining establishment has a seasonal, multi-course menu composed of authentic Northern Cape meals. Michelin-starred chef, Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, helms this culinary haven, which serves dishes in theatrical, ambient environments that indulge the senses. 

Klein Jan at Tswalu Kalahari, South Africa 
Klein Jan’s subterranean root cellar/Photo from the Tswalu website

What’s more, the restaurant is located in a 100-year-old farmhouse with an open dining area. It also boasts a subterranean root cellar that’s four meters below ground. This is where the restaurant stores its finest raw, cured, preserved, and dried ingredients under carefully controlled conditions—ready to be used for sumptuous meals.

Shangri-La Vancouver, Canada

Shangri-La Vancouver takes luxury to new heights with its exclusive “Ice Caves Heli Adventure” package. Guests who avail of the offer will be brought to British Columbia’s famous Whistler’s Ice Caves. The chosen mode of transportation? A private helicopter (complete with a personal photographer to capture Instagram-worthy moments). 

Shangri-La Vancouver, Canada
A private helicopter flight is a part of Shangri-La Vancouver’s exciting luxury package/Photo from the Shangri-La Vancouver website

Guests will not only be touring the aqua blue chambers, but also enjoying a curated five-course menu at the heart of the ice caps. Afterwards, they’ll be brought to a second, beautiful location to enjoy champagne paired with decadent desserts. 

Shangri-La Vancouver, Canada
Explore the aqua walls of British Columbia’s Whistler’s Ice Caves/Photo from the Shangri-La Vancouver website

To cap it all off, guests will also take part in a mixology lesson using 12,000 year-old glacier ice collected during their tour, as well as an ice-inspired afternoon tea session. 

Shangri-La Vancouver, Canada
Enjoy a curated five-course menu at the heart of the ice caps/Photo from the Shangri-La Vancouver website

Under, Norway

Norway’s Under is a fine dining establishment with an interesting title that encapsulates what it has to offer. “Under” translates to “wonder” in Norwegian, but it could also be hinting at the fact that the restaurant takes diners under…well, water. 

Under, Norway
Under from the outside/Photo from Under’s website

Located near Lindesnes, Under looks like an oblong box that juts out of the sea at a 45° angle, according to an article by National Geographic. Guests must climb down a staircase as they enter the establishment, which leads them to a minimal yet stylish dining space with a window that provides a view of marine creatures at five and a half meters below sea level. 

Under, Norway
Under’s interiors are sparse yet sophisticated/Photo from Under’s website

“Each guest will be given a unique opportunity to experience a submerged universe, exploring marine life in ways they otherwise may never see,” reads the restaurant’s official website. With only 40 seats, the establishment promises an intimate and exclusive 18-course culinary adventure.

Under, Norway
Guests can expect the freshest ingredients from sea to plate/Photo from Under’s website

Chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard only uses fresh ingredients with “pure, naked flavors.” He creates dishes with meats from an assortment of fishes, crustaceans, wild seabirds, and sea vegetation.  

“Just on the other side of our iconic window the ocean is bursting with fresh delicacies from the sea, so the journey from the kitchen to the plate is minimal,” shared Ellitsgaard.

The Cave, Bali, Indonesia

Bali’s The Cave is a go-to spot for extra adventurous epicureans. Chef Ryan Clift transformed this 25,000-year-old subterranean cave into an exciting culinary project that serves multi-course menus.

The Cave, Bali, Indonesia
The natural stalactite interiors of The Cave/Photo from The Cave’s website
The Cave, Bali, Indonesia
A bird’s-eye view of The Cave’s interiors/Photo from The Cave’s website

There’s a reason why the restaurant won a 2022 Luxury Lifestyle Award. It’s here where guests can enjoy a seven to ten course meal among the majestic stalactites that line the cave’s interiors. Diners can also have wine and cocktails to pair with their mouth watering meals. These include dishes like Hokkaido scallops, foie gras, tiger prawn, Butterfish, and venison. 

The Cave, Bali, Indonesia DISHES
A peek of The Cave’s tantalizing dishes, including tiger prawn/Photo from The Cave’s website

Banner photo from Under’s website.

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