As immersive events climb in popularity, a branch of dining escalates in tandem: immersive—or experiential—dining. While this type of dining exists almost exclusively as restaurant offerings or ticketed exhibitions, consider how your next event could notch up by incorporating experiential dining elements. Let us help! Gain some inspiration from these immersive dining experiences we’ve rounded up.
Onoir Toronto, Ontario, Canada
At this restaurant, guests are served by the blind wait staff in total darkness, allowing all other senses to come to life.
This restaurant was inspired by Blindekuh (meaning blind cow), in Zurich, Switzerland, which started the concept of serving patrons in complete darkness.
Pizza Pi Virgin Islands, US
A floating pizzeria, Pizza Pi allows guests to eat New York-style pizza on a sailboat while snorkeling in the Caribbean.
iChina Santa Clara, CA
This classy Cantonese cuisine is brought to life with several private dining options, including the VR Room, where patrons eat with video projected images on the walls, and the Heritage room, where they can watch the entire meal be made by the iChina chefs behind the scenes.
A dining experience room at iChina. Photo courtesy iChina.
Gingerline East London, UK
Speaking of scenes, Gingerline is an immersive and integrative dining company combines “set design, art installation, multimedia technology, storytelling, performance and audience involvement to create out-of-this-world dining experiences.”
A scene from the Gingerline show The Grand Expedition. Photo courtesy Gingerline
Laurie Raphaël Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
This restaurant uses themed courses to take guests on flavorful excursions, educating eaters about Quebec history, regions, food traditions, and local ingredients.
WA Theater Restaurant Hong Kong, China
WA Theater Restaurant uses video and themes to tell the story behind each dish.
Ultraviolet Shanghai, China
Chef Paul Pairet showcases his “psycho taste” philosophy about how food affects our minds using video, music, sound, temperature changes, lighting, and other theatrical elements to tell a 20-course story.
An immersive experience at Shanghai's Ultraviolet. Photo courtesy Ultraviolet
Aerobanquets RMX James Beard Foundation & Sublimotion at the Ibiza Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza, Spain
These virtual reality exhibits used Oculus and Samsung Gear VR technology to interact with eaters, fulling experiencing the meal on a variety of sensory planes.
Journey Experience, New York City, New York
This restaurant features 360-degree floor-to-ceiling video projections that entirely immerse diners in one of five locations for each course of the prix fixe meal.
Renowned chef Todd English is working towards the debut of his interactive dining hall in Boston, Mass. The food hall will feature immersive Monet & Van Gogh exhibits alongside a menu of French food, as well as offering explorable learning exhibits as part of a “food science museum.”
So whether you use video elements, narrative themes, multi-sensory dining experiences, or VR technology, get creative and start planning an immersive dining experience for your next event (and then send photos to [email protected] for a chance to be featured in Special Events!).