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The 19 Most Funnest, Most Wildest, Most Unbelievably Extra Restaurants in America

The most over-the-top, maximally good time you’ll have while eating

Lille Allen/Eater

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Dinner is theater. As long as there have been seafood towers, cheese carts, and singing waiters, we’ve known this. But here in the U.S., some restaurants have embraced the multi-sensory entertainment potential of eating food a little more than others. Would that bowl of tortilla chips be just as crunchy without the live cliff diving show? Would the tomahawk steak be just as tender if it hadn’t arrived in a gem-encrusted suitcase carried by a man in an El Chapo mask? Would those mozzarella sticks be just as gooey without a room full of pope statues looking down? I mean, yeah, sure, but what’s the fun in that? Here, in no particular order (what’s more fun than whimsy?!), we celebrate a handful of restaurants that understand how to go big on a good time. Because when dining out is also your night out, the food is just the start.


Brooklyn, New York

Habibi sounds like the setup of a Stefon joke on SNL’s “Weekend Update.” “Habibi has it all. A secret location near a laser tag stadium in an industrial warehouse in Bushwick. A plant-filled freight elevator that opens to reveal a Champagne cart. A rooftop restaurant with more grilled meat than a congressional inquiry into elk. Ageless sylphs in onesies! Bearded creatives! A toilet for two!” As with most of Stefon’s imaginary hot spots — “twinks, gypsies, grown men in wedding dresses, a cat from a bodega, puppets in disguise” — it sounds like a lot of fun. The best part is it actually exists. A creation of Gabriella Khalil, the founder and creative director of Palm Heights, a Cayman Island boutique hotel that’s like flypaper for the fashionable, Habibi opened in June 2023. Though there are loose plans to shutter the space in December — to make way for a full-service restaurant — for now the Brooklyn rooftop is a nonstop bacchanal. There’s dancing. There’s hookah. There’s a $100 mixed grill that features gargantuan portions of grilled lamb chops, kebabs, and skewers as well as lobsters, shrimp, and branzino. —Joshua David Stein

Dan Sung Sa

Los Angeles

You know what’s the most maximalist thing imaginable? A black hole. That’s exactly what strip mall soju and Korean skewer hangout Dan Sung Sa is: a vortex where time and money not only don’t exist, they make no sense. There is no beginning or end to Dan Sung Sa, because the place feels like it’s always open, always partying, always feeding people. The dining room and in-the-round bar are forever dark, and what light there is shines only on graffiti-stained walls and deeply carved wooden tables set below ramshackle roofs. Music pumps from unknown corners, and boisterous servers wear army fatigues — not in a bossy way that feels serious but in a kind of warped, fun way like the cop from the Village People. Inexpensive meat and seafood skewers, kimchi pancakes, and cheese corn land with lightning speed, and empty soju and beer bottles are picked up just as fast. Spend an hour, spend a night, spend a millennia inside Dan Sung Sa — there is no time and space, just food and fun and maybe, if you’re feeling up to it, a karaoke bar next door for dessert. — Farley Elliott

Morning Glory

San Diego

Four years in, diners are still lining up for hours at this bonkers spot in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood where brunch — that most divisive of meals; loathed by cooks but beloved by mimosa-flushed devotees — is an irreverent, everyday celebration. To guarantee yourself a reservation, preorder a baller platter of aged porterhouse steak and eggs with truffles and pray you get one of the primo tables under the giant pink starburst sculpture with a single blinking eyeball that peers over the crowd like a benevolent brunch overlord. Fueled by coffee cocktails, breakfast carbonara, and a roving cart doling out deviled eggs, candied bacon, and booze, the daytime party vibe is encapsulated in the restaurant’s high-low boilermaker offering: the classic shot-and-a-beer combo pairs pricey bourbon or vintage Chartreuse with a Miller High Life, a caviar-topped Pringles potato chip, and a personal transmission of “Pony,” the Ginuwine megahit. — Candice Woo

Buca di Beppo


Leaning Tower of Pisa next to a waitress, blocks of cheese, apple salad, and spaghetti and meatballs. Nat Belkov/Eater

I learned only recently that every single location of Buca di Beppo has a high-demand private dining room known as the Pope Room. It’s so-named because, in addition to a massive round table big enough to hold the cast of The Sopranos, each Pope Room is liberally decorated with statues, photographs, and other bits of memorabilia honoring Catholic popes past and present. Why is it fun to have multiple heads of the Roman Catholic Church looking down on you as you gorge yourself on jumbo-size portions of chicken saltimbocca and bulk Chianti? Nobody knows! But the tacky charm is undeniable — and persistent, even once you know this is all part of some corporate chain. (The restaurant group was bought by Planet Hollywood in 2008.)

The Buca premise is some cartoonish version of the Big Italian American Family Dinner, which here means red-and-white-checkered tablecloths, various cherubs, a grandmother’s kitchen amount of fake ivy hanging from the ceiling, and walls covered in black-and-white photos of random Italian immigrants and celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Sophia Loren. The fact that the person who founded the whole thing is not Italian but just some guy from Indiana somehow makes it all the more wild (if potentially problematic), as does the signature birthday song that includes the words “meatballs” and “garlic,” the poetry of which one can only truly appreciate as it’s being sung directly at you by a dozen or so staff members carrying 8 pounds of spaghetti. Pass the Parm. — Lesley Suter

The exterior of a restaurant’s front window with a decal reading “Torrisi.” Stairs leading up to the doorway feature potted plants and lit candles.
The immaculate vibe at Torrisi, outside and in.
A restaurant dining room with large mirror on the walls and three U-shaped banquettes hugging round tables with white tablecloths and leather chairs. Torrisi


New York

Do not be distracted by the golden collar bar or the silver rings of Fernando, one of Torrisi’s high-energy servers who will tell you the nightly specials — sweet-and-sour sardines, capellini cantonese with either half or full lobster — with the conspiratorial glee of an 8-year-old who just farted. Try not to grow giddy as you pass the stand where a trio of hosts stand like hip Moirai deciding whether you may enter this promised land of New York dining. Stay collected before the hanging American hams in their display case and as menus the size of Montana are laid before you. For you are in the red-hot center of New York fine dining, and you’ll not want to miss a thing. Rich Torrisi, whose Major Food Group is responsible for Carbone, in some ways the progenitor of the current maximalism, is back in the kitchen. Carbone’s burgundy velvet tuxedos and red sauce classics have been replaced by white dinner jackets and an exuberant menu that pays homage to the neighborhood. That vervy capellini, with wok-flamed lobster, nods to Chinatown. The Chopped Liver & Manischewitz shuckles to the Lower East Side, while the Cavatelli with Jamaican Beef Ragu is as rich, varied, brilliant, delicious, thrilling, and satisfying as the city in which Torrisi finds itself. — JDS

An interior space with fake rocks, palm trees, and foliage surrounding a blue lagoon complete with waterfall.
The lagoon at Casa Bonita.
Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Casa Bonita


Mariachi band plays behind a plater of Mexican food and a pink church steeple, with skydivers falling down the right side. Nat Belkov/Eater

Casa Bonita, the Pepto Bismol pink Mexican restaurant immortalized on-screen in South Park, was on the verge of death two years ago until the show’s co-creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, plunged into the project of saving their Colorado childhood favorite like a couple of indoor cliff divers. All skepticism aside, the restaurant is back open for business after a $40 million restoration of everything from the cliff-diving pools (more on those below), the arcade, the kitchen, and more. So much more. The result is a fiesta fun house that feels like the same kind of spectacle but different in the ways that count. The enchiladas, tacos, chicken mole, and beef suadero (brisket) are much improved thanks to new chef Dana Rodriguez. A basket of puffy, honey-drenched sopapillas (Cartman’s favorite snack!) remain nonnegotiable. But the main event continues to be the cliffside dining experience with table service for a revamped, yet still ridiculous, live show where you can watch a troupe of divers flip off platforms, down waterfalls, and into the once-green-now-blue lagoon below. It’s like the Rainforest Café with a side stage for puppet shows, a roving mariachi band, a cave maze, and the return of the legendary gorilla. You might wonder what the hell is happening, and that’s the point. — Katie Shapiro

La Buena Vida

Raleigh, North Carolina

On Saturdays and Sundays, Raleigh’s La Buena Vida transforms from a Mexican family restaurant into a food-minded fever dream, the child of a high-end Mexican steakhouse and a sweaty, thumping dance club. A literal “flight” of shots arrives atop an airplane, while a massive tomahawk steak comes locked in a bedazzled briefcase, to be flamboyantly opened by a waiter wearing an El Chapo mask. Platters of elaborately stuffed Mexican sushi land on the table, just as two members of the waitstaff put on a Lucha Libre wrestling show atop the bar. It’s a gluttonous feast for the senses — all of them. Bad Bunny and Rosalia pump from the stereos, and it’s a crapshoot as to which menu item will trigger a display of sparklers, the entire staff singing, or the lights to suddenly dim while party horns blast from the speakers. It’s all as delicious as it is mad, perhaps the most bananas dining experience in all of North Carolina. — Matt Lardie

Crazy Aunt Helen’s

Washington, D.C.

Anyone who loves vintage diving at Miss Pixie’s — a D.C. institution that sells all sorts of eccentric household curiosities behind a hot pink facade — might have daydreamed about what it would be like to go to a kooky dinner party at owner Pixie Windsor’s house. Snagging a seat at Crazy Aunt Helen’s, Capitol Hill’s all-day spot for American comfort food since 2021, may be the next best thing. For Windsor’s first restaurant-decorating job, the space — once a dark Irish pub — got a bright blast of glitzy grandma, starting with a purple staircase flanked by Mona Lisa replicas that greets you upon entry. Other wacky accents include a men’s room adorned with headstones, a glowing neon-pink sign that simply says “crazy,” and colorful touches like lime-green booths, a big peacock mural upstairs, and sunflowers sitting at tables. The fun continues onstage during the popular gospel drag brunch shows, which are the ideal backdrop for enjoying crispy catfish, jackfruit tostadas, and Wake Me Up Before You Gogo cold-brew cocktails. — Tierney Plumb


Brooklyn, New York

You don’t need to hit up a cruise for Caribbean getaway vibes when it’s across from the Williamsburg waterfront just about every night of the week. It starts with a nightly DJ, and it’s fueled by tall fruity drinks you’ll down with a straw. Feast on items from a pan-Caribbean menu of jackfruit tacos, jerk chicken, rasta pasta flatbreads, and curry shrimp. The “best scene restaurant” of the pandemic holds on to its title, making a fun crowd look more fabulous by way of disco balls and twinkly lights and neon. Medusa-like chandeliers accent the lush maze of rooms that include a bamboo-themed bar, cave-like room dividers, swings as seats, gold accents, and a syncopation of earth and jewel tones. Generous happy hours are an added incentive. — Melissa McCart

Woman wearing a pink wig, hot-pink backless dress, and holding a pink balloon walks through a restaurant dining room.
The scene at Superfrico.
Brenton Ho/Spiegelworld


Las Vegas

If you could conjure up the ultimate dinner party, you’d probably want a setting conducive to conversation (oh, look, action figures of circus characters), an interesting collection of friends (oh, there’s a ballerina with orange Cheetos handprints on her white tutu), and a menu that keeps your guests talking (“oh, they’re hand-pulling a 1-pound mozzarella ball over there”). For kicks, call that food “Italian American psychedelic” and serve Manila clams and french fries in a green garlic broth or butter-poached lobster atop a Sicilian-crust pizza. This is Superfrico, the ultra-ultra-vibey restaurant from entertainment specialist Spiegelworld at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Each of the eight rooms houses a different experience, whether it’s sugary-sweet circus artwork from Adehla Lee’s Psycho Pop Party, a Twin Peaks-inspired entrance to the adjoining theater where the zany outer space-themed circus and variety show, OPM, performs, or an après-ski lodge-themed super-secret speakeasy. Pair that with performers such as a dancing penguin and a twerking yeti wandering through the supper club, and your party will be the talk of the town. — Susan Stapleton

DJ in the center of a purple booth surrounded by white poufed hanging clouds.
The cotton-candy clouded DJ booth at Layer Cake.
Layer Cake

Layer Cake

Nashville, Tennessee

Woman in a pink dress singing into a microphone while holding a disco ball and wearing a shiny pink hat. Nat Belkov/Eater

If the tractor trailer toting around a hot tub filled with bikini-clad bachelorettes down the main drag didn’t tip you off, the sheer amount of bedazzled boots is a dead giveaway. Nashville’s Broadway is the definition of over-the-top. In the middle of this madness: Layer Cake, a four-story “Choose Your Own Adventure” of food, drink, and dancing with monkeys hanging from the ceiling (relax — it’s just lighting). On the ground floor, you’ll find an extremely bright pink lounge with a confection-laced dining table ripped straight from Alice’s Mad Hatter tea party. Up on the roof, music pulsates from a DJ booth sitting under tufts of cotton candy clouds. Or bypass all of that for the main dining room with a mural of the patron saint of maximalism — Marie Antoinette — sitting on a couch inviting you to eat cake. And yes, you should get the cake(s), a cadre of cupcakes spinning on a gold-toned Ferris wheel that pairs beautifully with the large-format rosé concoction served from a (what else?) glass cowboy hat. — Jackie Gutierrez-Jones

The interior, inverse view of a four-paneled painted window that reads in block and bubble letters: “Arcades Pinball,” “Beer & Wine,” and “Hot Food Served Daily.”
Looking at the window from inside-out at Poltergeist at Button Mash.
Wonho Frank Lee

Poltergeist at Button Mash

Los Angeles

Beep-boops of arcade games, the whoosh of air hockey pucks, and the padded thumps of moles getting whacked form the chaotic soundtrack for the most wildly creative cooking happening in Los Angeles. This is Poltergeist, the maniacal creation of chef Diego Argoti, who took over the stoves at Button Mash arcade in Echo Park in February 2023. Here, diners and gamers collide inside a rollicking room while Argoti turns familiar flavors on their heads in ways that are unpredictable, a little twisted, and definitely fun. Warm Parker House rolls arrive tightly coiled and glazed with miso honey. Ropey strands of hollowed-out pasta come slathered in yellow curry. A perfectly roasted lamb neck sweetened with pomegranate molasses and strewn with fresh herbs plops on the table, ready to be shredded and tucked into saffron buns. A dab of the fermented habanero-and-mango amba goes a long way, while the half dozen pickled accoutrements add some intrigue. The unhinged energy of Argoti’s cooking is matched and amplified by Button Mash’s arcade-gone-grown-up environment, making this one of the most joyful dining rooms in Los Angeles. — Cathy Chaplin

Madonna Inn Restaurant

San Luis Obispo, California

My favorite moment during any trip to the Madonna Inn is when a first-timer heads to the bathroom. As a cisgender woman, I have never myself experienced the pleasure of peeing into the hotel restaurant’s famed men’s room waterfall, but the faces of friends immediately after doing so tell me it’s really something. (I’ve also been told it’s basically just peeing on a wet rock.) This bathroom flourish is representative of the level of detail that has been put into maximizing the fun within every inch of this Central Coast landmark, especially its restaurant. The Barbie movie came out more than 65 years after this historic inn so passionately embraced the color pink, which dominates everything from the carpet to the tufted barstools to the round leather booths to the fake flowers hanging from the ceiling. Blooms are everywhere — it’s a veritable little shop of laurels — and organic frills of various shapes and sizes weave their way in and around the space like a gilded vine. Lobster tails, filet mignon, and fingerling potatoes with truffle, of course, are the mains before you grab a floofy, pink-adorned confection from the attached bakery. If you didn’t book the Caveman or Sugar & Spice room complete with rock waterfall showers, at least pick up a giant pink, glass, rose-bedecked goblet as a souvenir. — LS


Brighton Beach, New York

People in costumes dancing in front the The Cyclone rollercoaster while pasta falls into a pile beside them. Nat Belkov/Eater

New York City isn’t exactly known for its beaches, but the boardwalk experience at Tatiana, a restaurant in Brighton Beach, is a fever dream — and one of the last of its kind. What’s so refreshing about Tatiana is that it is devoid (and blissfully unaware) of the latest restaurant trends, largely unchanged from its opening in the 1980s. The banquet hall is outfitted with tablecloths and ornate furniture, the kind of gaudy, gold-painted accents that befit an old-school Eastern European events venue, where it’s likely you’ll be crashing someone’s wedding or Sweet 16. All tables face the stage where dinner — cherry vareniki and lots of icy vodka — comes with a show. Think: aerial acrobatics, fire eating, and sing-alongs to ABBA. The dance floor opens later in the night to diners with dressed-up cartoon animal mascots who join in on the revelry. A covered outdoor patio section is so hazy with smoke that it’s as if New York never passed laws against cigarettes at restaurants. In the daytime, there are no dance routines, but the beachside people watching makes it just as good, albeit less debaucherous. Make a reservation in advance for group dinners. — Emma Orlow

Two pan pizzas on a bright-yellow table alongside wine glasses; an unseen hand pours Takis from a bag onto one of the pizzas.
Pizza for the table at Shuggie’s Trash Pie.
Erin Ng

Shuggie’s Trash Pie

San Francisco

What if you applied the “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” mindset to an entire restaurant? You might end up with something like Shuggie’s Trash Pie in the Mission District, with its school bus yellow and lime-green dining rooms overflowing with trash-glam kitsch: a snarling cheetah statue, a booth shaped like a pair of pursed lips, hand-shaped chairs that gently cup your butt while you sip a glass of pet-nat — and glitter, so much glitter. Owners David Murphy and Kayla Abe go out of their way to source ingredients that might otherwise end up in the compost or landfill, blending bruised fruit into boozy slushies, frying offcuts of chicken and coating them in Buffalo sauce, and stuffing mushroom stems and caps into the restaurant’s version of a Hot Pocket. As the restaurant’s somewhat self-deprecating name implies, the co-owners lead a team that never takes itself too seriously, the result of which is an environment where it feels like absolutely anything goes. — Lauren Saria

Town Hearth


Elvis memorabilia, motorcycles, dozens upon dozens upon schmozens of crystal chandeliers, and fine steaks: What is steakhouse chic in doing-too-much Dallas for $200, Alex? It doesn’t seem like these things all go together, let alone in a steakhouse, but at Town Hearth they somehow do, with a boatload of vintage rock photography to boot. Everything is bigger in Texas, they say, but only in this restaurant can you eat next to a submerged yellow submarine while seated in a pristinely softened leather booth. A classic MG is on display at the kitchen pass, while the riotous bar area is lined with Ducatis. There’s a chocolate, peanut butter, and banana dessert named the Elvis that pairs nicely with the private dining room/shrine to the king, decorated with photos of his most prized possessions, including his amp, his late-in-life driver’s license, and a Vegas-era cape photo that is the definition of camp. Steak and seafood rule the menu, which, in contrast to just about everything else about this place, is brief, serious, and straightforward. — Courtney E. Smith

Various food on silver platters at Mister Mao.
Dishes arrive on silver platters at Mister Mao.
Josh Brasted

Mister Mao

New Orleans

Get ready for a trip at Mister Mao, Uptown’s funky, tropical roadhouse serving a multitude of “unapologetically inauthentic” cuisines. Sophina Uong and William Greenwell turned a formerly stuffy space into a jungly primeval forest hideaway, filled with quirky touches and good cheer. During brunch and happy hour, sparkling servers in Hawaiian shirts offer eclectic bites from roving dim sum carts to a soundtrack of Rihanna and Jessie J — dishes like fiery pani puri, garlic noodles, lechon kawali, and bhali. At dinner, Indonesian-style drum with tendriled squash fritters and shiitake-crusted scallops with sweet potato mochi explode with flavor, balanced by savory cocktails infused with Malort and aquafaba. Dessert is an unpredictable bright spot, a final guarantee that it’s impossible to have a bad time here. — Clair Lorell

Sausages hang behind glass.
The meat case at Oma’s Hideaway.
Molly J. Smith Photography

Oma’s Hideaway

Portland, Oregon

Portland’s approach to maximalism has always exuded a laissez-faire, or even chip-on-the-shoulder, attitude: Yeah, we’re going to put foie gras on a stack of pancakes, what of it? Here’s some ice cream made with bone marrow and smoked cherries, because why not? It’s not a city known for its lavish caviar service or fussy dining rooms. So of course, for a list like this, we’d have to go for a place that balances the city’s house-party vibe with overtly fun food, using a grab bag of culinary inspirations. Really, any of the restaurants owned by Portland power couple Thomas and Mariah Pisha-Duffly (Gado Gado, the Houston Blacklight) could end up on this list, but the ’70s-vibe restaurant Oma’s Hideaway is perhaps the biggest party of their trio. The glittery disco ball of a bar churns out Campari-mango Jell-O shots studded with passionfruit-popping boba, or pandan-guava slushies topped with amaro floats. In a room wrapped in custom tropical fish wallpaper, the music thumps while groups swipe super-flaky roti into parsnip and squash curry, or grab a fry dripping in salted egg yolk curry sauce. At lunch, tables lined with holographic alligator skin become stages for char siu-egg-and-cheeses and “filet-o-fishball” sandwiches. Food here has an irreverence that feels true to the Pisha-Dufflys’ matching sense of fun, whether it’s a chile-shrimp, jam-slathered burger or the Fruity Pebble crisped rice treat ripped apart at the table while waiting for the check. — Brooke Jackson-Glidden

Sexy Fish


Sexy Fish Miami is what might happen if James Bond threw a party in Atlantis. The London-based restaurant, brought to the States by Soho House stakeholder Richard Caring, stimulates diners with splashes of opulence and surrealism bordering on the downright bizarre. Start with the interior: Think Damien Hirst art installations juxtaposed with Frank Gehry’s fish lamps swimming in a sea of pastels, all enveloped over a midcentury brasserie dining room with plenty of nautical touches. The menu, by chef Bjoern Weissgerber, takes you on an Asian maritime journey, of sorts, with highlights like duck salad and smoked tuna belly. But what truly amplifies the Sexy Fish experience are the late-night antics: mermaid dancers shimmying to international DJs, outlandishly delightful cocktails, and, of course, a life-size Daniel Craig statue in the bathroom making sure you leave your visit shaken, not stirred. — Olee Fowler

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