This Review article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Last weekend, I visited a restaurant in Vancouver where I got to eat my meal completely in the dark and let me tell you — it was a wild experience!
Dark Table in Kitsilano, B.C. is where I had this very unique dining experience, which took all my sight away from me.
I knew it was going to be a strange meal, but there were still some surprising things about the experience.
How I ordered my meals
As soon as I arrived at the restaurant, I got to sit in a lovely waiting area that had lots of greenery. There I got to order some of my dishes.
The hostesses at the front of the restaurant took my order before being seated because once you enter, you can't see a single thing.
I ended up ordering a mystery appetizer, a fish dish for my main, a mystery dessert, and a few mystery cocktails.
Basically, I was ready for the unexpected all night.
Menu for the restaurant.Ashley Harris | Narcity
Getting guided into the restaurant
Once my order was all set, I got to be guided into the restaurant by a server.
All of the servers at the restaurant are visually impaired, and the restaurant website said that "blind people are the best people in such context. You must be able to trust your server, it is a true transfer of trust."
If you need to leave the restaurant or use the bathroom, you will need to call over your server to guide you there.
The restaurant is completely dark and by dark — I mean pitch black. I was not able to see a single speck of light in the whole room, which was a bit of shock to my eyeballs.
The server pulled the chair out at the table for me and I took my seat to start the whole dining experience.
I was told that absolutely no phones or any other light-producing technologies are allowed to be in the restaurant because it will ruin the experience.
The feeling was super weird and I didn't know whether or not to keep my eyes open or closed in the pitch dark. Eventually, my eyes did adjust and I was able to start feeling a little bit more comfortable in the setting.
Outside of the Dark Table restaurant.Ashley Harris | Narcity
Trying to eat the food was tough
For my first dish — the mystery appetizer — I obviously didn't know what I was getting.
I used my hands to really feel out the food and try to grasp what was in front of me. As I took a bite, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of smoked salmon and cream cheese on a crostini. Well, at least that's what I think it was.
For my main dish, I actually knew what I was getting.
I had ordered the Mediterranean-style fish, and it was actually so hard to eat. Trying to use a fork in the dark was pretty much impossible for me, and I felt like I couldn't pick up a single piece of food with it.
I honestly just ended up using my hands again because I couldn't figure out where the fish was on my plate and how to eat food in the dark with a fork.
Once dessert came around I was pretty full but I always still have room for it. So once again, I had the super hard task of trying to use a fork in the dark. I tried to pick up a piece of the dessert and quickly figured out it was a piece of chocolate cake.
This dessert dish was so delicious!
All of the food that I tried at the restaurant was ten out of ten although, what made the experience a bit difficult was trying to eat them.
Drinking wasn't easy either
I enjoyed a few cocktails during my dinner but honestly, I had absolutely no idea what was in them. I think my first mystery cocktail was a red wine sangria but I really can't be sure. Although, it was delicious!
My second mystery cocktail came with my dessert. I could immediately taste the iced drink with Bailey's and whip cream. I knew this was what it was right away because the flavours were so distinct.
Trying to lift the drink to my lips was not so easy though.
It was worth the effort
Sitting there in the complete dark while trying to enjoy dinner was a completely unique experience.
Ashley Harris standing in front of the restaurant.Ashley Harris | Narcity
I don't know if I would do it again, but it was definitely worth trying at least once.
If you'd like to experience this for yourself, the owner of Dark Table also has two Canadian locations called O'Noir — one in Montreal and one in Toronto.
Before Dark Table even came to Vancouver, other similar restaurants in London, Paris, New York, and L.A. were major hits.
The blind has an unemployment rate of 70% and this restaurant gives the opportunity to allow more non-sighted servers to have a job, according to their website.
The website also mentioned, that "the blind dining concept originated in Switzerland in the home of a blind man—Jorge Spielmann—who blindfolded his guests in an attempt to show them what eating is like for a blind person."