Culinary experience, dinner in the dark

Dinner in the dark is a new culinary experience that you must try. Learn more about this increasingly popular way of tasting here.
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Blog Published September 7, 2022
Edited May 24, 2024

Would you dare to dine in complete darkness? When we first heard about this novelty in the center of Ljubljana, we wondered if we would be brave enough. How would we know what we were eating? How would we get the food to our mouths? What if we didn’t feel comfortable? Nevertheless, we decided to step out of our comfort zone and booked a table in the dark at the restaurant Pri Trubarjevi Mami in Ljubljana. They promised us a unique culinary experience in complete darkness with excellent Slovenian dishes prepared by a top chef, along with an interactive program.

Dinner in the Dark

A two-hour culinary experience in complete darkness with Slovenian dishes prepared by a top chef was something unforgettable. With sharpened senses of taste, smell, and touch, we tasted the food in a completely new way. The price includes a surprise menu with four courses of traditional Slovenian cuisine prepared in a modern way. You can choose between meat and vegetarian menus. Those with allergies and dietary restrictions are also taken care of. Just note that you need to inform the staff about this when making a reservation or upon arrival, and the chef will prepare a safe dinner for you. We learned on the Dinner in the Dark website that besides the food and drink included in the price, we would also face various challenges in the dark. That was it! Nothing else. Everything else was a complete surprise.

Dark Restaurant Now in Ljubljana

Dark restaurants are already a well-known and popular experience worldwide. Following the first concept of this experience in Amsterdam, a challenge emerged where guests use all their senses except sight. From there, dark dining experiences became increasingly popular worldwide. Dinner in the dark in an experiential environment allows you to immerse yourself in a world of sensuality you may have never experienced before. Embark on a journey of tastes, sounds, and touches in complete darkness. Upon arrival, guests are asked to leave all light-emitting devices in lockers, so they can only feel and taste the menu served by highly trained waiters. On these occasions, chefs use stronger flavors and unique texture combinations to compensate for the lack of vision.

Let the Fun in the Dark Begin!

Many guests seem to worry about feeling uncomfortable in the dark. We were also curious about how we would feel in complete darkness. Before dinner and entering the dark, the staff reassured us by explaining that their goal is to create a pleasant and unforgettable adventure for guests. Indeed, they created a relaxed and calm atmosphere where we could completely unwind in less than ten minutes. Besides the waiters, an entertainer was also present, whose voice guided us throughout the evening.

The Less We See, the Better We Taste

Did you know that visually impaired people usually develop better other senses and compensate for their lack of sight with better hearing, taste, touch, and smell? In cases of deep blindness, the brain uses other available information and interacts with the environment more effectively. To bring the blind and visually impaired closer to the general public, there are quite a few restaurants worldwide where we have to move around and try food in complete darkness. Such a restaurant, where you can experience something so unusual for most people, is now also available in Ljubljana.

Do You Know What Umami Is?

Vision or the perception of objects with the eyes is a complex process. It works by light reflecting off the eye. The transparent outer layer of the eye, the cornea, wraps light that passes through the pupil. The iris, or the colored part of the eye, acts as the diaphragm of a camera, opening wider to let in more light. Information translated from light through the optic nerve travels to the brain as an electrical impulse. The sense of taste is essential in human development, as it allows us to taste the food we consume. Bitter or sour taste usually meant that the plant was poisonous or rotten. Something salty or sweet was supposed to indicate food rich in nutrients. The sense of taste is usually divided into four tastes: salty, sweet, sour, and bitter. However, there is also a fifth taste, defined as umami, which means savory.

Spicy Means Pain

Taste is perceived by taste buds. Adults have between 2,000 and 4,000 taste buds, most of them on the tongue, but also in the back of the throat, nasal cavity, and esophagus. The smell of food, for example, strongly influences how the brain perceives taste. Smell enters the mouth through a process called olfactory referral. That’s why we have trouble tasting food when we have a cold and a stuffy nose. The texture of food, which we feel and touch, also contributes to taste. Did you know that spicy and hot is not a taste but merely a signal for pain?

Seeing with Touch

When you sit at the table, you might initially be a bit confused. People might tap and touch the table out of curiosity about what’s on it. People tried to compensate for their lack of sight by touching and listening carefully to everything around them. Interestingly, you can sense the presence of the waiter nearby without even seeing them. Because of our vision, we miss many experiences and sensations that we can’t actually perceive. Only in the absence of vision do we realize how strong other senses can be and how important touch is, which we usually don’t have to use because we can see and observe objects and people around us. Guests at Dinner in the Dark are also incredibly more in touch with each other, something we don’t usually do, but in the dark environment, it’s the only tool for orientation. The entertainer’s voice guides participants around the table, instructing them to pour water into glasses. When the waiter brings the first course from the menu, you can start by smelling the food to determine the flavors and touching it with cutlery to determine the texture. Participants are very connected at the table, sharing most of their sensations with each other and guessing the food. When the second course arrives, some start eating with cutlery, but after a while, most give up and start eating with their hands. No one is watching them! You will probably guess some flavors, but not others. You’ll know what you ate only after dinner when you finally get the menu upon exiting. You will be very excited about what you find out!

Excited about Dinner in the Dark

Despite any concerns and fears you might have before entering the dark, you will be very excited about everything! You will feel much closer to each other, communicate in a different way than in a regular restaurant, and after dinner, you can relax and be relieved that they didn’t serve you anything strange. And most importantly, you will completely forget about your mobile phones!

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Unique dinner experience in a pitch-black restaurant
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