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Socially-distant dining: 5 innovative restaurant concepts

Restaurants the world over are shifting their business models to match the current demand for socially-distant eating experiences. Here’s how fine-dining establishments are meeting the current moment with fresh concepts – and rapid innovation.

Glass half full

Amsterdam’s waterfront Mediamatic ETEN has set up individual greenhouses where diners can enjoy a meal with stunning views of one of the city’s canals, while remaining separated from one another. The four-course menu is plant-based and dishes are served up on large wooden planks, so wait staff don’t come into contact with diners.

Mediamatic ETEN, Amsterdam
© Willem Velthoven

Fine dining drive-through

For 70 years, Seattle’s Canlis has been a beacon of fine dining in the Pacific Northwest. Today, the brand has reinvented its business structure and narrowed down the menu: by morning, they’re selling bagels and breakfast sandwiches; by evening, burgers and salads – all via a drive-through operation.

Drive Thru at Canlis

Restaurant in room

Looking for a unique date night idea in Sydney or Canberra? Ovolo Hotels has launched an innovative Restaurant in Room concept that offers two guests the chance to privately dine in one of their stylish rooms. Menus are three or five courses, with cellar lists and martini trolleys making socially distant rounds. Be sure to add on an overnight stay.

Ovolo Nishi, Restaurant in Room

Table for one

Owners of Bord for En – which means “table for one” – Linda Karlsson and Rasmus Persson (the latter a trained chef) believe the future of dining is singular. Opened on 10 May, the one-table, one-person restaurant is located among a Swedish meadow and has no wait staff; instead, a three-course, drink-paired vegetarian meal is delivered via a basket strung up from the couple’s kitchen window.

Table for One

Michelin-starred burgers

One of the world’s most highly regarded eateries – boasting two Michelin stars and the four-time winner of the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants – Noma has also charted a new path for the foreseeable future. Usually an elaborate affair of tasting menus dished up inside a rustic Copenhagen dining room, the venue has now opened a casual wine garden where guests can choose between a cheese or veggie burger, and can’t make a reservation.

Photo credit: Ditte Isager

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Lead image: Noma