Blind dining, also known as dark dining, started becoming popular in 1999 and has since grown into an industry that offers this unique experience on every continent except Antarctica.
I became fascinated with trying out restaurants that provide an experience based on removing that sight-check from the equation and having you enjoy your food based on smells, tastes, and textures.
Some places provide a true 100 percent light-free experience, while others only dim the lights and blindfold you. Either way, you’ll have fun and enjoy your food in ways you didn’t know you could.
Check out these restaurants around the world where you eat in total darkness.
Dans Le Noir
69-73 St John Street, EC1M 4AN, London
Phone: +44 207 253 1100
The London location of Dans le Noir, French for in the dark, is a full-on 100 percent blind restaurant experience.
They take your phone, watch, and whatever can make a light before you enter the dark area. Then, you’ll order your meal and meet your guide before they take you to the dark dining room.
I recommend ordering the Dans le Noir’s Tasting Menu to completely enjoy your experience by trying a variety of food in total darkness.
The meal comes with five courses providing a combination of fish, vegetarian, or meat, four glasses of wine, a glass of Champagne, and water. You can order more food or drink by calling your guide by their name.
BLACKOUT Dining in the Dark Las Vegas
3871 S Valley View Blvd Suite 8, Las Vegas, NV
Phone: (702) 960-4000
BLACKOUT Dining in the Dark serves a delicious meal and experience just off the main Vegas strip.
The staff explains everything you need to know upon arrival before asking you to put all light-emitting devices into a provided locker.
This blind restaurant takes blind to another level with the menu – you don’t get to choose your meal. They don’t even show you the menu unless you ask.
I suggest diving into the darkness, removing all standard dining concepts, and experiencing each new bite with ignorant bliss.
Enjoy all seven plant-based courses based solely on how they smell, taste, and feel. BLACKOUT can make accommodations if you have any food allergies.
Dining in the Dark Experience
Located in Various Cities
Dining in the Dark is the name of a worldwide event taking place in restaurants across the world.
The organization that runs the event partners with restaurants to create a menu and blind restaurant experience.
You can find this experience in American cities like Dallas, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. You can find this experience in cities like Bordeaux, Paris, and Marseille in Europe.
And you can also visit this dining experience in Perth and Sydney in Australia.
Taking part in these events won’t provide a 100 percent dark experience due to its temporary setup, but blindfolds block sight as you enjoy your meal through your other senses.
The menu changes based on what city you’re in, and even then, you aren’t told what exactly you’re eating. You choose between a vegan, seafood, or meat dish and the rest is a mystery until you take a bite.
Opaque – Santa Monica
2020 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403
Phone: (310) 546-7619
Opaque is located in sunny Santa Monica, just a few miles from the beach and Santa Monica Pier.
It’s a great place to eat and have a unique cherry-on-top experience after a day of the ocean, boardwalks, shopping, and more.
After a day in the sun, submerse yourself in darkness at this blind restaurant.
I recommend ordering the braised short ribs. The meat is delicious and served over garlic mashed potatoes and organic asparagus spears with a red wine reduction.
Follow your entrée with their vegan Hawaiian coconut pudding. The made-in-house dessert features fresh strawberries and roasted coconut spears.
The Blind Café
The Blind Café isn’t a restaurant – it’s a mobile pop-event that travels worldwide. However, you can book them for a private event in your space.
The organization takes pride in bringing sighted and visually impaired people into the same space to enjoy conversation, music, and food in a room where everyone is in darkness.
The menu changes regularly, so I can’t provide any recommendations on the food.
However, the thought and love that goes into creating the overall experience here is so wonderful I don’t mind taking a break to discuss a menu.
Just sit back, listen to the music, enjoy great conversation, and experience for a time what it’s like to be without sight.
193 Henry Street, New York, NY 10002
Abigail’s Kitchen is located in New York’s Lower East Side, just outside Chinatown and near the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge.
Chef Abby Hitchcock grew up on nearby Long Island and found her passion for food while attending university in England before coming home to dive into New York’s rich food scene.
The restaurant invites diners in on Wednesdays and Saturdays for blindfolded dinners in the dark.
Menus are kept secret until after you’ve eaten to allow for a full immersion in the blind tasting experience. Dinners consist of four courses with unlimited wine.
You must register and purchase your ticket online before going, as seating is limited, and you’ll have the chance to input any dietary restrictions.
Two Locations: Zurich and Basel
Blindekuh is located in two cities, Zurich and Basel. The Zurich location is in a relaxing residential neighborhood just outside the hustle and bustle of downtown Zurich.
After your meal, head over to nearby Chinagarten Zurich to enjoy the lakeside garden featuring Chinese-style bridges, landscaping, and pavilions.
The Basel location is a half-hour walk from the Rhine River and the popular historical landmark, Münsterplatz, which has a giant Ferris wheel that overlooks the city from the top.
No blindfolds are needed here; you’re not seeing anything. The menu changes monthly, but expect menu items such as Mediterranean vegetable ravioli and buttermilk mousse tuiles with strawberries.
You can also enjoy their surprise menu that comes in three or four courses, where you don’t find out what you’ve eaten until you’re eating it.
Dining in the Dark KL – Kuala Lumpur
50A, Changkat Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +6012 305 2011
Dining in the Dark KL puts much care into ensuring you’re ready to go before you plunge yourself into the darkness.
They offer blindfolded games to get you in the mindset of being without sight before taking you into the dining room, where blindfolding is no longer necessary.
This blind restaurant commits to the mystery by only offering a pork-free halal surprise menu.
Enjoy your appetizer, soup, main course, and dessert completely sight unseen, focus on the delicious tastes and textures, and give in to the experience.
Dialogo nel Buio – Milan
Via Vivaio, 7, 20122 Milano MI, Italy
Dialogo nel Buio, which means dialogue in the dark in Italian, is an experience offered by the Istituto dei Ciechi di Milano (Institute for the Blind in Milan).
A blind guide leads groups through the institute’s building and grounds as they experience situations through the sightless eyes of the blind.
The adventure focuses on interacting with the world purely through touch, smell, hearing, and taste.
Guests mingle at the institute’s bar after the tour for food, drinks, and dialogue. The menu is light bar food and delicious drinks.
The focus here isn’t so much the cuisine as it is the act of eating while carrying on a conversation. They want you to discuss your experience of the tour and gain a new appreciation for those who navigate life in the dark 24/7.
Food can be a very intimate experience, and dining in the dark takes it to another level. Blind restaurant dining is a unique experience that helps diners focus on what their food tastes and smells like instead of how it looks.
Blind restaurants open our minds to experiences different from our own.
Most of these restaurants employ visually impaired staff and guides who always enjoy sharing their worldview with others. So tap into your sense of adventure and be ready to enjoy delicious food and a wonderful experience!