From sleek, fine dining establishments to quaint, local cafés, Europe has its fair share of great restaurants. However, for when you want something slightly different and more creative, take a look at OROGOLD’s top picks of the most unusual restaurants in Europe.
Le Restophone, Montpellier, France
A fashionable and popular restaurant in Montpellier, Le Restophone has a concept that is unlike any other. Rather than guests being glued to their own mobile phones during their meal, each table at Le Restophone, which focuses on authentic French cuisine, has its very own telephone that is connected to each of the other tables in the restaurant. This enables diners to get to know each other, giving them an easy way to spark up a conversation with someone they may not otherwise have spoken to. Since the restaurant is situated in a club, it is also an effective way to ask another diner for a dance!
El Diablo, Lanzarote, Spain
All of your pre-existing ideas of what constitutes a great barbecue will be thrown out of the window after you visit El Diablo in Lanzarote, Spain. Situated in the volcanic Timanfaya National Park, the last volcanic eruption in the park was in 1824. Although the volcanoes are now dormant, they are still constantly producing geothermal heat, which is what El Diablo uses to cook its food. A giant cast iron grill lies across a volcano opening, with the hot vapor cooking food at 400 degrees Celsius – the ideal temperature for volcanic grilled meat. While eating your volcano-cooked food, you will be able to enjoy panoramic views of the Fire Mountains, a mountain range made up of over 100 different volcanoes.
Fortezza Medicea, Volterra, Italy
Fortezza Medicea, in Volterra, just outside of Pisa in Italy, is a restaurant with an extremely unusual location. Situated inside a 500-year-old prison, the restaurant is staffed by some of Italy’s most hardened criminals, many of them serving 25 to life. Prison guards stand over the crowds, ensuring that everyone is kept safe, and diners have to hand in mobile phones and any bags before stepping into the prison complex. As daunting as this may seem, the restaurant has proven to be extremely popular, largely due to its vegetarian signature menu serving up southern Italian gourmet dishes. Although the cutlery and plates need to be plastic, and the security is always tight, tables at the restaurant are usually booked weeks in advance, and the inmates themselves are gaining some great hands-on experience, with many hoping to join the restaurant industry once they have completed their sentences.
Europe is full of unusual restaurants, and while some may be gone as quickly as they appear, due to a temporary food trend, others, such as the ones that OROGOLD has mentioned, seem to have a much longer lasting popularity. Since these are each one-of-a-kind restaurants, they all will require advanced bookings, so be sure to plan ahead if you are hoping to visit one.