Once upon a time, dining was something you did in a dining room. But in today’s scrappy food scene, the white table cloths and chandeliers aren’t a prerequisite for destination-worthy cuisine. From Charleston to Tokyo, some of the hottest restaurant in the world are found in the most unlikely places—creative sandwich shops lurking in the back of bars, Michelin-level feasts in converted warehouse spaces, and secret supper clubs in the poky European living rooms of complete strangers. At this point, eating in a traditional restaurant setup is starting to feel positively quaint.
Fierce competition, coupled with a global scarcity of both willing investors and prime real estate, has prompted restaurateurs to get creative when it comes to finding a place to feed people. But now that offbeat venues have become de rigueur, everyone’s looking to get in on the action, and these days, discerning restaurant-goers expect a talking point with their tofu tacos.
In an era when you’re as likely to enjoy a Michelin-starred meal at a grocery store counter in Brooklyn as in a haughty Parisian hotel, unusual dining experiences can no longer trade on novelty factor alone. At the global eating destinations we’ve rounded up below, the food is just as remarkable as the setting. Read on to discover 11 great restaurants in unexpected places, from authentic Asian soul food served at a gas station in Charleston, to a public toilet offering the most hyped tasting menu in London.
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