Eating out can be an adventure for food lovers, but sometimes it’s not just about what’s on the menu that makes things exciting.

Some people (and we’ll avoid using the term ‘foodie’ here for good reason) really like their dining experiences to be an adventure. Eating out is not always about what savoury masterpiece the chef has created out of mid-air or the liquid concoction the bartender has invented that not only tastes delicious but can also get you tipsy. No, for some eaters, food and drink take a backseat to the thrill of the surroundings.

It’s why foodies would probably love the visual aspect of Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant but gag when tasting the few items offered up on the menu. Located in the Shinjuku nightlife district, Robot Restaurant is all about the show, with the food treated as a bland afterthought. Spectators will find a somewhat non-sensical combination of bikini-clad dancers riding robotic dinosaurs, tribal drummers (also scantily attired), robot-on-robot ‘battles’, and lots of neon flashing lights. It’s a great big ball of figurative cheese, and people love it. The 90 minute shows are always sold out, even with the ticket prices topping $100 (US).

At the opposite end of the visual spectrum you’ll find places like the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort’s Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. When it opened in 2005, this acrylic tube situated 16 feet (5 meters) underwater became the world’s first restaurant of its kind. While Robot Restaurant is all about sensory overload, Ithaa (meaning ‘mother of pearl’) embraces the serenity found in a quiet space (it can only accommodate 14 diners at a time). It’s visually impressive for an entirely different reason as well, as diners are offered a 270-degree panoramic view while surrounded by dozens of species of fish in their natural habitat.

Story by Jay Moon