Dining in the dark: Gimmick or good for you?

One of the latest trends in the restaurant business is dining in the dark. A handful of...

One of the latest trends in the restaurant business is dining in the dark. A handful of restaurants around the city are offering this unique dining concept, where patrons enjoy a complete, multi-course menu in total darkness. These specialty dinners give diners a chance to sample and savor the restaurant's concoctions without seeing the visual appeal of the foodthe entire experience is centered around smell, taste and texture.

How eating in the dark works

Eating in the dark allows diners to use all senses but their sight to enjoy a good meal. Since chefs can't impress their guests with creative presentations and unique visual elements, they have to focus on creating high-quality recipes that tantalize the palate.

These events typically begin with a cocktail hour in a candlelit or dimmed room. Guests are then taken into a dark room for the meal. The menu might include several courses coupled with wine recommendations or specialty cocktails. The idea is to engage only the taste buds during the entire dining experience. For some people, the inability to see what they are eating could heighten their sense of taste, making the meal that much more satisfying. For others, the idea of tasting something completely new without seeing the food is a dining adventure in itself.

Atlanta restaurants that offer dining in the dark

This dining concept isn't readily available at most Atlanta restaurants, but you can find a handful of upscale and gourmet eateries offering this unique dining experience at various intervals throughout the year. The concept is more of a special dining event than an ongoing option at local eateries, and diners typically need to make reservations in advance. Many restaurants promote this as a semi-formal dining experience and it can be a fun opportunity for foodies and dining enthusiasts to get together and try something new.

The menu items typically include a variety of gourmet foods and indulgent desserts--not your typical healthy fare. Guests on a restricted diet or any type of healthy eating plan may not enjoy this dining concept as it was designed. Still, eating in the dark can provide an entirely new dining experience for many, and may encourage some to explore new flavors in an innovative way. It can be a fun way to try new cuisine and expand one's palate.

If you have a history of food allergies, make sure to check with your Atlanta physician before eating unfamiliar food. Your doctor may be able to provide recommendations or food alternatives that you can request at your favorite restaurant.

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