The idea of dining in complete darkness in a restaurant meant to raise awareness about people with impaired vision is bold and controversial.
This concept originated in 1999, when the first “dine in the dark” restaurant was open by Jorge Spielmann, a blind clergymen in Zurich, Switzerland. He came up with the plan after noticing how people eating with blindfolds on enjoy food more, thanks to the sharpening of their smell and taste. The name of the place is Blindekuh and from what we’ve researched, it still offers services today.
In time, the idea took off. There are currently famous chains of dining in the dark restaurants all over Europe (“Dans le Noir”), USA (you may have heard of the “Opaque Restaurant”) or Asia.
But what is it like to dine in a place like this?
Every restaurant has its specific layout, but some characteristics are the same for all “dine in the dark” venues. You enter and choose your menu… in the light, whether it is in a neon-lighting room or in a common dining area. Then you step in the dark room (where all natural and artificial light sources are removed), accompanied by a “helper”, who is usually visually impaired.
From here on, things get delicate. Stripped of your sense of sight, you are led to a table and have to wait for the dishes you ordered. Most if not all of the restaurants have very delicious food, which makes the culinary experience a delight. So if this is what you are after, maybe this “test” can prove to be a memorable one. With your sense of smell and taste sharpened, all those flavors will mix in new and fabulous ways.
A richer experience
However, most people talk about a richer, sometimes even psychological experience. A few hours of their life with no vision often gives them new perspectives. The fact that their hands are guided by people used to read in Braile makes them feel humble and sometimes infinitely lucky.
We can only hope that only the right reasons are behind this concept, now so widely spread. What is your view on this type of “dine in the dark” restaurant?