Heighten Your Senses with Dinner in the Dark

Posted by: Ashley April 1st, 2012

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When I first discovered that there are restaurants where you dine completely in the dark – I knew I wanted to try it. Adam was less sure. He insisted that he would feel claustrophobic in total darkness. However, I wasn’t giving up that easily. I thought that if I could recreate the dinner in the dark experience at home, Adam would have to give it a try.

It’s said that when you dine in the complete darkness your other senses, including taste, are heightened allowing you enjoy your food at a new level. Awesome! The downside? It turns out, trying to get to your house in complete darkness is a whole other story. Even though the sun had set and I closed all of the blinds, it was amazing how much light could still get into the kitchen. Street lights, other house lights, even lights from the electronics in our house, all prevented me from achieving complete darkness. Instead of fighting it, I decided to use blindfolds to achieve total darkness.

Ashley enjoying some sushi – in the dark.

Our dinner consisted of:

  • sushi to start
  • a selection of olives
  • chicken and steak skewers with peppers and onions
  • grilled pineapple
  • wine

I chose the skewers because I thought the less we would have to use a knife and fork, the better (and boy was I right!). I thought the sushi was a good idea because we could use our fingers to eat it (there was no was I was going to attempt to use chop sticks in the dark). I bought a variety of stuffed olives to try because I thought it would be fun to try and guess which ones we were eating.

I set the table, Adam BBQ’d the skewers and pineapple and when everything was laid out, we blindfolded each other and started! At first, it was really difficult to get your bearings and I could see why someone might panic a little bit. We started feeling around – touching our wine glass, our plate, the olive bowl, each other, until we got a sense of where everything was. Once my brain and eyes adjusted to the complete darkness, I began to relax and embraced the situation. Finding my food on the plate and successfully picking it up with my fork turned out to be quite a challenge. As the evening progressed, I started relying more and more on my hands and less and less on my fork.

Dinner was interesting! By touching the food, we could tell if we were eating a piece of meat (although I couldn’t always tell if it was chicken or beef), peppers, onions, or pineapple, before we tasted it. The best part was eating the olives. You had no idea what kind of olive you were going to get until you bit into it! We even took turns feeding the other person olives (we’d have to feel around for the person’s mouth and then pop in the olive). Groping around in the dark for the other person’s face was hilarious. The whole experience was so much fun :)

Adam struggling with his fork – in the dark.

I found it interesting that I when I couldn’t see how much food was left on my plate I became full faster than I thought. There was still quite a bit of food on my plate when I was done.

After we finished dinner we took off the blindfolds, cleaned up, lit some candles and enjoyed a romantic dessert together. While I’m not sure Adam is ready to go to a restaurant completely in the dark, we had a lot of fun in our own house. Because we couldn’t see anything, we had to rely on our other senses to know what was going on – touching the table and our food, the smells and flavours of the food, even the sounds and conversations seemed heightened. It was an experience I will never forget.

Have you ever tried dinner in the dark?

Pro Tips:

  • Using a knife and fork is extremely difficult in the dark! I would suggest making bite-size food for your first dinner in the dark experience.
  • Food choice is important. Choose a variety of foods – it’s more interesting when you have to use your other senses (especially taste) to figure out what you’re eating. If it’s all the same food you will miss out on the surprise.
  • Before you start, take a minute to adjust to the darkness. Adam’s claustrophobic fear is a valid one in darkness – feel around and get your bearings before digging in.
  • It’s difficult to create total darkness – my solution was blindfolds. Grab a scarf or tie and don’t worry about blocking out all of the light. You achieve the same result with less than half of the work!
  • Feed each other. It sounds romantic, but it’s more hilarious trying to find your partner’s face in the darkness. It’s also really cool not to know what you are about to eat until it’s in your mouth!


Bang for your buck:

From Adam:

Dinner in the dark was... interesting. As Ashley mentioned, I am very claustrophobic - don't expect a cave diving date anytime soon - and as a result refused to go to the dinner in the dark restaurant. Her compromise of recreating the situation at home was a very good one and in the end we both really enjoyed ourselves.

The one thing I would keep in mind is that food choice is key - it's much more fun to have the flavour be the biggest indicator of what you are eating. We only had one kind of sushi and so you knew exactly what you were getting as soon as you felt the rice on your fingertips.

All in all though, this was an inexpensive, interesting experience that takes very little forethought or extra effort. I definitely recommend this date idea!

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Comments - 19 comments so far.

  • Love the pictures! That’s so funny.

    I have not tried dinner in the dark but I would love to. I don’t think we have any restaurants around here that do that, and our house is surrounded by so much light that it would be impossible. BUT, if we run into a place that does it on vacation, we will be there!

    Interesting about the plate still having food, yet being full. Makes me think that our eyes play more of a part in our hunger than we imagined, don’t you think?

    • Yes definitely – realizing you are full before your plate is empty reminds you how important portion size is and how insanely large most restaurant portions are!

  • This sounds so great! I can’t wait to try. I just have to somehow arrange for the kids to not be home one evening….hmm that could be a problem ;) I don’t think I could go to a restaurant and eat the food in complete darkness, for I would be so worried about what I was actually eating – they could put ANYTHING on the plate and tell you it was chicken (for example)… and no I don’t have trust issues LOL! ;) This ideas is definitely a great compromise. Thanks for sharing!

    Enjoy the extra love today on your SITS day!

  • The pictures crack me up!!! haha! :) Such a fun idea!

  • Okay, we might have to try this one!
    Stopped in from SITS and following now via FB.

  • I absolutely LOVE this idea! I’m going to suggest doing this with my bf as well. It’s an inexpensive way to treat yourselves to an entirely different experience :)

    Also, I just think it’s the cutest that you both weigh in on your dates to say what you liked/didn’t like about the experience. You guys rock!

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