I first heard about dining in the dark experiences in the movie About Time with Rachel McAdams. In the movie, she met her love interest at one of these restaurants, and sparked a connection before she even could see his appearance. These restaurants allow you to dine in total darkness, and experience what life is like for the visually impaired. The servers at these restaurants are typically visually impaired as well. There are restaurants like this all over the world – and luckily there’s one in Toronto.
The restaurant I went to was called O.Noir, and located in downtown Toronto. When we arrived at the restaurant, we entered into a lobby with a hostess. We were given menus so we could order our food before we entered the dining room. The restaurant also had all of their signs and menus available in Braille as well.
At O. Noir, there is a minimum of two courses required per guest for dinner service. You have the option of ordering surprise dishes, and really putting your taste buds to the test. I prefer to know what I’m eating, so I ordered the pesto chicken and chocolate mousse. Payment is also done in the lobby after you finish your meal.
The server met us at the entrance to the dining room. He led us into a small room, where our eyes could adjust. He waited until the door was completely closed from the lobby, and then opened the door to the dining room. They do this because they don’t want to let any light into the dining room, or else your eyes would adjust and you wouldn’t be in complete darkness. The server led us in a conga line to our table, and guided each one of us to our seat. You really are in complete darkness; you can’t even see your own hand in front of you. My eyes never adjusted to the darkness throughout the entire dinner service. There is no bright glowing fire exit sign like most establishments; I’m not really sure how they get around that one.
When he was serving us our food, he handed each one of us our plate to put in front of us. Make sure you have some space cleared to put your plate; I almost knocked over my wine glass. As well, make sure you use the bathroom before you ended the dark room, as you’ll have to wait for your server to guide you out to the lobby if you want to use the bathroom.
The food was not anything to be remembered, but this restaurant is more about the experience. The menu is pre-fixe, and it cost $36 per person for a main dish and a dessert. It was definitely a cool experience, and I would recommend that people try dining in the dark at some point in their life.
Have you tried dining in the dark? Tell me what you thought. Also, let me know what other unique dining experiences I should try!