Some cafes are well-known for their great coffee and nice atmospheres, while some restaurants are known for their food and service; however, some cafes and restaurants are known for their downright weird and wonderful themes and decor. Themed restaurants are silly, funny, and most importantly fun, and represent a refreshing getaway from the often stuffy world of fine dining with its unwritten rules of etiquette and confusing menus; which are for some reason, sometimes inexplicably in French. From surviving Saudi Arabia’s Squid Game experience, to Palestine’s Krusty Krab burger joint, by way of SpongeBob Squarepants, the region is a contender for having some of the world’s best-themed restaurants. May the region’s relaxed approach to trademark infringement continue and themed restaurants and cafes continue to pop up.
Survive Saudi Arabia’s Squid Game-Themed Restaurant
Netflix’s Korean drama Squid Game took the world by storm, quickly becoming the platform’s most streamed show of all time with an astonishing 1.65 billion hours of collective watch time. The Middle East did not escape the Squid Game bug and a restaurant in Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh wanted to capitalize on the hype. The Squid Game Experience offers the exact same challenges as seen in the TV show and been a hit, attracting both Saudis from across the country and even tourists.
Egypt’s Slice Of New York At Central Perk
For fans of the legendary TV show Friends, in Egypt’s Port Said and Port Fouad, you can find two cafes that are faithful replicas of Central Perk. With the interior done up to exactly mimic the famous cafe from friends, from the iconic yellow sofa to even the layout, Egypt’s Central Perk is a 90s nostalgia fest for any Friends fan.
Hit The Skies With This Airplane-Themed Restaurant In Palestine
In 2021, a pair of Palestinian twins in Nablus opened up a restaurant in an old decommissioned Boeing 707, after working on the project for over two decades. Because very few Palestinians have ever been on a plane due to Israeli restrictions and the Palestinian territories being without an airport, for many diners, this may be the first time being on a plane.
Sip Coffee In Two Dimensions In Dubai
In an increasingly busy and colorful world of flashing screens and packed streets, the Forever Rose Café in Dubai offers a cafe experience in another, much simpler dimension. With a complete lack of color and everything in the cafe made to look two-dimensional, grabbing a coffee here is a surreal and memorable experience.
Lay On The Operating Table At Egypt’s Surgery-Themed Restaurant
A group of doctors in the Egyptian city of Damanhour decided to open their own surgery-themed restaurant. The restaurant, which is called D. Kebda, has its employees wearing surgeons’ gowns and items on the menu are named after surgical instruments. However, this light-hearted and fun dining experience also has the stated aim of promoting the importance of food hygiene in restaurants as something as important and potentially life-saving as surgery.
Dine Under The Sea With SpongeBob Squarepants’ Krusty Krab Restaurant In Palestine
In the Palestinian city of Ramallah is an identical replica of the Krusty Krab, both inside and out, from the wildly popular kids’ show SpongeBob Squarepants. SpongeBob Squarepants fans can grab Krabby Patty Burger, just like in the show and can pose for pictures next to statues of SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs in its faithfully reproduced interior.
Scream Out Loud at Saudi Arabia’s Horror-Themed Restaurant
For fans of scary movies and Halloween, a restaurant in Riyadh called Shadows now offers a spooky dining experience. However, with actors dressed up as zombies, vampires, and a whole host of other monstrous beings trying to scare you at every opportunity, you may lose your appetite. The restaurant has been a hit with local residents, who cherish the opportunity to sit down for some food and enjoy the show.
Go On A Road Trip With Tunisia’s Route 66-Themed Restaurant And Bar
The Tunisian seaside city of Sousse is home to a Wild West-themed restaurant called The Saloon, which is perfect for budding cowboys and cowgirls. With large cacti straight out of a photograph of the Arizona desert and a saloon-themed building, The Saloon is quite a spectacle. The music and food are also quintessentially American and it turns into a nightclub that goes on until the early hours.
Get Fired Up At Beirut’s War-Themed Burger Joint
The now closed Buns and Guns in Lebanon’s capital of Beirut was a strange combination of greasy burgers and deadly weapons. The military and war-themed burger joint featured a terrace cordoned off by sandbags, staff in full military attire, and the sandwiches wrapped in camouflage paper with the motto ‘a sandwich can kill you’. Many of the items were named after guns and other instruments of war, like the ‘rocket-propelled grenade’, which was a chicken sandwich, and the ‘AK47’, which was a beef sandwich.
All Aboard The Train-Themed Restaurant In Kuwait
Kuwait is home to Kerela Express, a restaurant with the theme of an Indian train. The restaurant, which serves Indian food, is a place all about nostalgia for Kuwait’s many workers from the Indian subcontinent spending extended periods in the country far away from the home. You can actually eat in the train carriage itself and get the whole experience.
Banksy’s Occupation-Themed Restaurant And Hotel In Bethlehem
The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem is a hotel with a restaurant, cafe, and bar that was created by the world-famous graffiti artist Banksy. The Walled Off Hotel, a wordplay on the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, boasts of having the world’s worst view as it sadly faces the illegal separation wall built by Israel. The hotel, dining area, and bar are scattered with artwork and interventions by Banksy that make a political commentary on the Israeli occupation of Palestine, Palestinian resistance, and the international community’s silence on the issue.
Keeping It Pink In Riyadh
EL&N in Riyadh looks like it was designed for the sole purpose of being Instagramable. From the pink chairs to drinks and everything in between, EL&N is quite a striking place to find yourself in. If your favorite color is pink, this cafe, which is also famed for its fantastic drinks and cakes, maybe the place for you.
Travel Back In Time To Pharaonic Egypt In Dubai
KHOFO is a pharaonic-themed restaurant in Dubai that serves, you guessed it, Egyptian food. With large and impressive pillars pasted with ancient Egyptian drawings and hieroglyphics alongside other modern and refined architectural features, the space is incredibly unique and unusually classy feeling. For fans of all things pharaonic, this new addition to Dubai culinary scene may be somewhere to drop by.
Fly Away With This Airplane-Themed Restaurant in Egypt
My Broast is a fried chicken restaurant in the Egyptian city of Tanta that promises to take you to the clouds and back. The restaurant is airplane-themed and is set out almost exactly like an airplane. With trays of food and the employees dressed in cabin crew and captain uniforms, you’d be excused for mistaking this for a real plane.
Enjoy The Apocalypse At Mad Max-Themed Restaurant In The UAE
A gas station and collection of food trucks in the UAE have been done in the theme of the apocalyptic film Mad Max, in which humans make their cars weapons of war in order to survive this new harsh reality. With wrecking balls hung from fire trucks, spikes jutting out of every surface, and protective barriers hugging the cars, the Mad Max-inspired vehicles are well done and a must-visit destination for any fan of the film franchise.
Get Prehistoric With The Jurassic Park-Themed Restaurant In Oman
In Muscat, Oman, you can find a Jurassic Park and tropical rainforest-inspired restaurant that offers as much adventure as it does flavors. There is a roaring dinosaur hidden between the jungle, an enormous python dangling from the tree, and exotic animals hidden all around, with sound effects to match.
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