The Japanese seem to be fascinated with conceptual restaurants and establishments are cropping up all over Tokyo offering everything from robots to AKB48 themed dining experiences. The latest is a 2254 sq. ft. restaurant located in Shinjuku based on the Alice in Wonderland theme. Owned and operated by Diamond Dining, the Alice in Magical Land restaurant (http://www.alice-restaurant.com/maho/) is something straight out of the 1865 Lewis Carroll novel, “Alice in Wonderland.” Featuring playing card tables, hedge maze booths, heart shaped chandeliers, and waitresses clad in Wonderland costumes diners will feel that they have slipped through the rabbit hole when dining here!
Designed by the Fantastic Design Works design studio, the restaurant is one of six similarly themed restaurants in Japan. The other establishments are known as: “Alice in an old Castle,” “Alice in a Labyrinth,” “Alice in Dancing Land,” “Alice in a Picture Book,” and “Alice in Fantasy Land.” Each restaurant offers its own interpretation of the classic novel along with appropriately themed dishes!
Alice in Magical Land is a dimly lit venue featuring several different partitioned sections with aesthetics that channel the popular children’s book. One area consists of neatly trimmed hedges made of carpet, surrounded by checkered floors and walls, mirrors and odd-shaped doors. In another area, a heart-shaped table and an enormous chandelier made of hearts reminiscent of the Queen of Hearts marks the main dining area. Around the perimeter, you will find playing card tables set off by lush black leather lounge seating and red walls with images of Alice and other Wonderland characters depicted in the various suits of the card deck. In yet another area, you will find rich red drapes, rose colored seating with white tables and mirrors on the walls reminiscent of the 1871 Carroll novel, “Through the Looking Glass.”
A single menu is provided to each dining party to share. The menu itself is essentially an adult pop-up book with each page providing an elaborate culinary re-telling of the story. All the dishes are thematic and include options such as the Cheshire Cat tail-shaped pizza, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum twin cocktails (non-alcoholic), and a Caterpillar sushi roll with shrimp and avocado, to name a few. The desserts are the house specialty and patrons can choose from numerous sweet delights such as the mixed-berry Cheshire Cat Parfait, Gateau Chocolat Heart Cake and tiramisu featuring a sleeping dormouse!
The restaurant is open between 11:00am – 11:30pm and reservations are required.
So the next time you are in Tokyo immersing yourself in the rich culture and history, won’t you also set some time aside to take in the “quirky” side of Japanese society? You will not go away disappointed!