While in Montreal, my friends and I visited the famous O.Noir restaurant. Although the food is good, the main draw is the atmosphere – or rather the lack there of. Meals are served completely in the dark. No lights, no candles (sorry for the misleading visual), no blinking cell phones. The idea is that since your sense of sight is gone, your other senses will be really focused on the meal. You will supposedly taste your food in a whole new way.
We made reservations ahead of time for one of their planned seating times. They usually have two servings a night – so everyone gets seated and starts eating at the same time. This helps cut down on needless noise and shuffling around while you are trying to eat.
The first step of the process is entering a lighted bar area where you read the menu and pick out your food. After ordering from the hostess, you are led to your table single file by one of the servers. But how do the servers see? Well they don’t – they are all blind. As it turns out O.Noir is actually a big hirer of the blind and seeing impaired.
Finding the table and getting seated isn’t done without a lot of feeling about, tripping and giggling and the room soon gets very very loud. The waiters tried to shush people form time to time but the feeling of the room is similar to how a large movie theater would feel if you suddenly lost power. Food is served quickly and everyone gets around to the very difficult task of first finding and then consuming your food. As it turns out, silverware is next to impossible to use without site and most people end up resorting to using their hands. At our table food and drinks were spilled (which resulted in much laughing and shouting) and I lost a patty of butter that was later found by my elbow and smeared everywhere.
After the meal, you are retrieved by your server and led out. I thought it would have been great fun if they had turned the lights on to let you see what kind of mess had been made – but it was not to be. We exited into the lobby to pay and laugh at the mess some of our clothes had become.
Has anyone else visited a dining in the dark location? Any other unique dining experiences?