New Vancouver Restaurant Where You Eat in the Dark

This is what you’ll see when you dine at the newest addition to Vancouver’s  vibrant culinary scene.

A new restaurant is set to open where diners will experience their meals in a pitch-black setting, with no lights except the slightest glow from exit signs.  Called Dark Table, the 75-seat restaurant is set to open on West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano on Sept. 20, in the space formerly occupied by Quattro, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.

There’s another twist, as well.  One-third of the staff will be legally blind.  Blind servers will escort guests to and from their tables, bring out food and wine and help with menu suggestions.

The restaurant is the third dining-in-the-dark venue for the owner, Moe Alameddine.  He opened his first in Montreal in 2006 and added another in Toronto in 2009.

The formula has proven surprisingly appealing to diners seeking new culinary thrills.  At Dark Table, patrons will choose meals outside on the patio, from a menu Alameddine describes as Mediterranean fusion.  Then, they’re led into the completely dark restaurant by visually impaired servers, who have memorized the layout of tables and chairs.

Photo credit: nestea.lee | Flickr

Meals are served and eaten in the dark, without any visual cues to distinguish between say, your grilled calamari and your rosemary-crusted chicken breast (Real adventurers can even choose the “surprise dish” from the menu, leaving them with no advanced idea what’s on their plate).  This replicates the experience of how the blind eat, heightening tastes, aromas and textures.

Should you need to get up during the meal, you place your trust in the servers, who guide you through the busy, pitch-black restaurant – offering a snapshot of what it would be like to be blind.

Dining-in-the-dark restaurants have taken off in cities like New York, London and Paris.  The concept originated in Zurich, Switzerland, where Jorge Spielmann, a blind man, began blindfolding guests to recreate the experience of eating as a blind person.

Would you be interested in dining in a completely dark restaurant? Let us know below.

Want more updates on Vancouver and beyond?  Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza

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16 Responses to New Vancouver Restaurant Where You Eat in the Dark

  1. Jodarna

    I think this is a fantastic idea and I can’t wait to eat there. I have a good friend who is legally blind and have seen the struggles she has as well as the discrimination she constantly faces. Places like this are opening people’s eye’s to how life is for those who aren’t lucky enough to have all of the senses we do.

    • robert

      great concept!
      at least not a tim horton

  2. Rohit

    I would love to have this experience. I run a travel company called ” Travel and Taste” and I think this will be a lifetime experience. Trusting people and their judgements is an adventure in itself and tasting food based on that will be mind blowing. I will be Vancouver in end of October with my family and can’t wait to be in the restaurant.

  3. Tamara

    Hi everyone, my name is Tamara, and I am one of the blind guide servers who will be working at Dark Table. I just wanted to stop by to say, Remy, thanks so much for posting about us. We’re very excited for opening on Sept. 20. Jodarna, Robert, and Rohit, we look forward to your visits.

    • Hi Tamara – Thank you for taking the time to check out the blog. As you can tell from the comments, lots of people are excited about the opening of Dark Table. Looking forward to experiencing it myself in the near future. Great idea for Vancouver.

  4. Katherine

    Not only would I eat here, but I can’t wait to eat here! I have tried many different cuisines in many different circumstances (including underground dining in Vancouver, Seattle’s dinnner-and-a-movie theatre, and five-star dinner in an African game park), and this will rank right up there with those experiences.

  5. Cathy

    Absolutely, I’ve seen this on TV and really want to try it. It will be a completely different way of experiencing your food.

  6. Deja

    Fun idea. But I’m just curious what kind of security measures would operate in a pitch-black room full of strangers?

  7. Tamara

    Katherine: I am very jealous of all of your amazing sounding dining experiences. I hope Dark Table turns out to be another highlight for you.

    Deja: that’s a very good question. Hopefully these few things ease your mind a bit. The restaurant won’t actually be completely dark; there will be about 5 % light in the room which will come from the bar and emergency exit signs. Also, we ask that customers do not walk around the restaurant on their own, this is of course to avoid collisions and disorientation. Being fully trained and blind ourselves, us guide servers are very used to navigating safely without being able to see our surroundings. If you have any needs while you are dining like going to the washroom, your guide server will be happy to get you there and back safely. I hope this helps, and we hope to see you soon.

  8. VT

    Hi, my comments have nothing to do with or against the blind so let’s not go there. In response to this I would not want to dine here. Why? Dining out is an experience for me and I don’t see the logic behind sitting in the dark, not being able to see the food on the plate let alone the table and also being unable to see the general ambiance of where I am paying money to dine. I see no reason to put myself through this. Normally when you’re going to eat at a nice restaurant you’re grading the ambiance, the staff, the place, the food and how it was presented..
    I am not a person to go along with the masses who go along with the masses.
    So I am out and good luck to all of you who think this is interesting :)

    • joe

      I HAVE BEEN TO THE SAME RESTAURANT IN PARIS,VERY INTERESTING.YES YOU PAY FOR YOUR DINER ,AND YOU GET A QUALITY FOOD!NOT AS VT MENTIONED,..SO YES YOU WILL GET A GOOD FOOD.AND YES THE STAFF WERE NICE AND FRIENDLY IN PARIS.AND IM SURE THEY WILL BE TOO AT DARK TABLE.
      THIS IS A GREAT CONCEPT,NOT A BURGER KING GUYS..
      VERY HAPPY FOR VANCOUVER TO HAVE SUCH AN ATTRACTION!

    • Daniel

      Luckily you’ve still got a few other restaurants to choose from in town! ;-)
      Love the concept, and I think it would be interesting to focus completely on the taste and textures of your meal.

  9. Sarah

    Can’t wait to try this … Guaranteed to bt a fun and interesting experience especially if opting for the surprise dish, which I will do at least once! Glad to see this concept coming my hometown, first introduced to it in Frankfurt, but husband wasn’t intreeged and we opted out.

  10. Stephanie

    I’m really interested, and I’m just wondering. Would there be a vegetarian menu?

  11. Tamara

    Hi Stephanie, yes, there are vegetarian options as well as a vegan dish. Feel free to view the menu at http://www.darktable.ca.

  12. Suzee

    Absolutely cool idea. Just a little concerned a hot meal gets spilt on me by accident. i hope someone has there night vision goggles on for pre-cautionary measures and safety???

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