food

Strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

One-dish wonders

More and more restaurants are specialising in just one dish or ingredient – from eateries dishing up perfect pancakes or pimped-up mac ‘n’ cheese, to menus focused entirely on avocado. It’s time to pass on the à la carte and head to one of these specialty restaurants.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Bantam Bagels, New York, USA

You may have seen Bantam Bagels products sold in your local grocery store, but the original home of the stuffed bread bites is a tiny shop in New York. The success of its selective menu has taken the brand nationwide, with customers able to buy mini bagels or pancakes stuffed with cream cheese flavoured with Cheddar, chocolate chips, jalapeños and much more.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

The Meatball Shop, New York, USA

The Meatball Shop has a whole lot of balls, and its customers in New York can’t get enough. There’s mozzarella, calamari and mini-Buffalo balls, as well as those packed with broccoli, butternut squash, quinoa and mushrooms. Fan favourites include B’alls + Sauce – chicken, pork or veggie balls with sauce, Parmesan and focaccia bread – and the 20-piece sharing Bucket of Balls.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Ichiran Ramen, global locations

Ichiran Ramen is taking the world by storm, with locations in the USA, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It only serves tonkotsu ramen – an aromatic pork-based broth with thin noodles and various toppings – and is known for its original, thick, spicy red sauce, which combines more than 30 different spices. Order at the ticket machine and sit at a table with separators to slurp in private.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

PBJ.LA, Los Angeles, USA

These aren’t your average peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. PBJ.LA switches it up with organic, 100% plant-based nut butters, fancy jams and other unexpected ingredients. Order the aptly named Red Eye with espresso peanut butter and dark chocolate raspberry jam, or the adventurous Italian with toasted pine nut butter, basil cherry tomato jam, rocket and provolone.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Flex Mussels, New York, USA

Flex Mussels has only one dish on its menu – Prince Edward Island (PEI) mussels – and 12 different ways to eat them. Choose from classic white wine, herbs and garlic mussels; creamy lobster bisque mussels with brandy; or gumbo, which is served with dark roux, chicken stock, andouille sausage, rice, Creole spices and pickled okra.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Yang’s Braised Chicken Rice, global locations

The one-item franchise, Yang’s Braised Chicken Rice serves a single Chinese dish – braised chicken with rice. Its signature dish, Huang Men, is braised chicken rice but with a twist, based on owner Xiao Lu Yang’s grandmother’s recipe. Yang opened his first restaurant in Shandong Province, China, and has since franchised more than 6,000 locations across Australia, Singapore and the USA.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

People’s Pops, New York, USA

Make sure to visit one of People’s Pops two seasonal outposts in New York to taste the coolest pops and shaved ice around, with flavours ranging from soft floral rose and lemongrass to mango, tangerine and basil. If you’re thirsty, you can order a boozy rum, mint, strawberry and lime pop in a glass of prosecco.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

The Cheese Bar, London, UK

The Cheese Bar showcases the finest cheeses in a variety of dishes. Gorge on fresh burrata, baked winslade, a four-cheese fondue and baron bigod Brie, before tucking into a cheese burger with super cheesy truffle fries or a raclette sharing plate. With five cool London locations – including a barge on the canal – it’s utter cheese heaven.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Oat Shop, Massachusetts, USA

Claiming to be Boston’s first porridge café, Oat Shop does exactly what it says on the tin – serving both sweet and savoury porridge with a variety of toppings. Try the fruity Apple Pie Bowl, where porridge is mixed with apple sauce and topped with sautéed apples and maple syrup; or the protein-packed Bacon & Eggs Bowl, with bacon and spring onions.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Burger & Lobster, global locations

Burger & Lobster prides itself on doing two things well – prime burgers and Atlantic lobster (or Canadian lobster if you’re based in the USA). On the menu are 1.5lb, 2lb and 3lb lobsters, grilled or steamed with lemon garlic butter; 10oz (283g) Nebraskan beef burgers; and a beef burger topped with lobster meat for surf ‘n’ turf. Find the restaurant in New York, London, Dubai, Bangkok and more.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Mister Lasagna, London, UK

This classic Italian dish is a speciality at London’s Mister Lasagna. From Zucca e Gorgonzola, a roasted butternut squash, gorgonzola blue cheese, bechamel and Parmesan lasagne; to the Iberica, packed with chorizo, roasted chicken and manchego cheese, there are 17 lasagne dishes to try.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Pommes Frites, New York, USA

Pommes Frites is a Belgian-style speciality restaurant in New York where the only things on the menu are beer, fries and sauce – but there’s more than just ketchup. There are 36 toppings to choose from, such as Bordeaux wine, figs and sage; blue cheese; black truffle; and cheese curds and gravy. The tables even have cones to hold the fries.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Le Relais de Venise, global locations

You better be in the mood for steak frites as that’s all Le Relais De Venise serves. Once sat down, you’ll be given a crunchy green salad and asked whether you want your accompanying steak blue, rare, medium or well done. The meat is served in a Porte Maillot sauce with fries, and if you’re still hungry, fear not as the restaurant happily offers second helpings. Head to locations in New York, London, Paris and Mexico.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Brooklyn Kolache, New York, USA

Brooklyn Kolache is a popular New York bakery selling Texan kolaches – small-batch fruit or cheese-stuffed pastries with Czech origins. Sweet fillings include strawberry rhubarb, chocolate ganache and apple crumble, while there are egg and meat fillings for savoury options. Head here for amazing coffee and freshly baked treats in a rustic, pared-back surrounding.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

S’MAC, New York, USA

This New York establishment is dedicated entirely to mac ‘n’ cheese. S’MAC (short for Sarita’s Macaroni & Cheese) serves an array of out-there macaroni dishes, from Mediterranean-inspired pasta with goats’ cheese, spinach, olives and roast garlic, to sausage, green pepper and Cajun seasoning. There’s a lot of choice for those looking for vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options too.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

froYo, Missouri, USA

Missouri-based frozen yogurt shop froYo has eight locations to visit in and around St Louis, Missouri. Get your icy treat fix with flavours like orange sorbet, pomegranate raspberry sorbet and cake batter, topped with blueberries, cherries, gummy bears and mochi. You can choose from its non-fat, low fat, dairy-free and no sugar options too.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Tartufi & Friends, Rome, Italy

Tartufi & Friends, based in Rome, specialises in mouth-watering Italian truffles. Order anything off the menu – foie gras, beef tartare, burrata and even cocktails – and it’ll come smothered in the stuff. Check out the poached eggs with pecorino and fresh black and white truffle for a high-end breakfast.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Rice to Riches, New York, USA

If you like rice pudding, you better head to Rice to Riches for their one-item comfort food menu. Pick your rice pudding from a selection of interestingly named flavours such as Coconut Coma, The Edge of Rum Raisin and Raspberry Statement, and then choose toppings like chocolate brownie crumble, mixed nuts or cinnamon raisin crumble.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Poptata, London, UK

With multiple locations around London, Poptata love loaded fries, but don’t sell any old cheesy chips. They’re hand-cut and made with premium potatoes. Will you choose fresh Parmesan and pink garlic mayo; smashed avocado, halloumi and mild spicy sauce; or vegan cheese topped with BBQ pulled jackfruit and spring onions?

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Nong’s Khao Man Gai, Oregon, USA

Khao man gai translates as chicken and rice, and founder Nong Poonsukwattana serves it with her signature sauce and side soup. It’s a common trait in Thailand to specialise in one-dish and Poonsukwattana wanted to bring this idea to her new home in Oregon. As a Portland favourite, there are now two Nong’s Khao Man Gai restaurants in the city.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

The Avocado Show, global locations

As the name suggests, avocados take centre stage at this brunch spot, which has a handful of cute locations across Europe. Everything on the menu includes avocado in some form and uses responsibly sourced fruit. Get colourful avocado, banana and mango poke bowls, burgers with avocado buns and, of course, the original avocado dish – avo on toast.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Pieminister, UK locations

With locations all over the UK – from London and Cardiff, to Bristol, Manchester and Nottingham, Pieminister specialises in excellent pies. Choose from chicken and ham, beef and stilton, mushroom and asparagus, or vegan chicken and leek. All are served on delicious mash potato or loaded fries topped with loads of gravy.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Yorkshire Burrito, London, UK

London pop-up Yorkshire Burrito takes Britain’s best-loved comfort food – a Sunday roast with Yorkshire pudding – and rolls it into an easy-to-eat wrap. Yorkshire puddings are light, crisp baked batter usually served with roast meats, vegetables, potatoes and gravy. Decide between roast beef with all the usual trimmings, chicken and stuffing, or cauliflower cheese.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Where The Pancakes Are, London, UK

Where The Pancakes Are is London’s most charming pancake shop. The buttermilk pancakes are served all day alongside coffee, juices, cocktails, beers and wine. A buttermilk batter is at the heart of all the pancakes, but you can go sweet or savoury with the toppings. Choose smoked salmon, poached eggs, hollandaise and asparagus, or opt for chopped banana, praline and marshmallow for a sugar rush.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Sambal Shiok, London, UK

Although common in South East Asia, the one-dish idea is still fairly new in London, but with standout places like Sambal Shiok cropping up – a restaurant dedicated to Malaysian noodle soup dish laksa – that might change. Specialising in a campur style laksa from Malacca (each region in Malaysia has its own laksa style), you can personalise your bowl with different toppings – chicken, prawn, vegan or tofu. Plus, you can request a vegan broth.

food, strange speciality restaurants you'll struggle to believe actually exist

Le Coq & Fils, Paris, France

This restaurant is a reimagining of the famous Le Coq Rico but with the same ethos – a restaurant dedicated to poultry, and the very best of them. Carefully sourced, this Parisian menu starts with the likes of skewers of griddled hearts and gizzards, or you can choose from an egg menu, which include devilled or fried. The mains are simple as you choose your bird and how many you’re sharing with, and then it is served with fries and salad, mac ‘n’ cheese or seasonal veggies.

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