These Restaurants Want You to Dine in Your Pajamas Gallery
October 30, 2018
Forget dressing for dinner
These Restaurants Want You to Dine in Your Pajamas
In 2018, even in the most upscale restaurants (unless it’s prom night), you’re unlikely to see people in black-tie attire. In recent years, however, there’s been some backlash against the vanishing of formality, nostalgia for the old days when people “dressed for dinner.” A quick Google search will turn up articles such as “Recovering the Lost Art of Dressing Up,” “For The Love of God, Stop Dressing Like Crap” and “Yes, It’s Summer. But You Still Can’t Wear Those Shorts in These Restaurants.”
Still, it looks like casual is here to stay. Maybe this will irk the wistful types and appall the formal types, but beyond casual dining lies dining so casual that customers don’t dress at all. Wouldn’t it be fun now and then to dine in your pajamas, the way you do at home? Without fear of judgment, without standing out among clothed diners, without being asked, are you ok?
“It’s the cultural expression of the death of the public sphere,” Robert Romanowski, vice president of visual merchandising at Giorgio Armani, tells The Daily Meal. That is, we don’t dress for the movies because we’re watching them at home. We often don’t even dress for socializing because, thanks to social media, we can socialize in private.
So getting dressed to go out to eat is becoming kind of old-fashioned. Here are six places around the world where folks chow down in their pajamas — and the management actually encourages it.
Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort (La Fortuna, Costa Rica)
At the base of Arenal volcano in Costa Rica, surrounded by rainforest, lies a hot springs resort called Tabacon where guests spend their days relaxing in waters heated by the volcano’s magma. When you think of Costa Rica, you probably think of sloths, howler monkeys, countless bird species, surfing, and a laid-back lifestyle before you think of the food, but Tabacon is one of the most exciting culinary resorts in the country. At the breakfast buffet, a pair of scissors sits beside herbs still growing in their pots, so you can cut whatever you want to use to garnish your omelet.
Costa Rican coffee is considered some of the world’s best, and at Tabacon you can book a coffee demonstration with representatives from Café Britt, who will tell you all their coffee-making secrets. You’ll have the option of a private chef dinner, where one of the resort’s regional chefs will prepare a tasting menu (the scallops with garlic foam are to die for), and you can enjoy it all while wearing your bathrobe and slippers. It is one of the coziest, most romantic dining experiences in the world.
Sea Dream Yacht Club (Worldwide, Headquarters in Oslo, Norway)
SeaDream Yacht Club is a luxury cruise line that really wants you to remember that you’re on vacation: When you go back to your room after dinner your first night, you’ll find PJs on your bed, your first name embroidered on the front. You’ll also get an eye mask! Wear those pajamas to a pajama party at the “Top of the Yacht” or for snacks on the deck, while you lounge on Balinese beds and snack on fresh watermelon with feta and caprese skewers. And if weather permits, you can sleep on those Balinese beds any night of your cruise.
Shut Up and Eat! (Tom’s River, New Jersey)
Left: Shut Up and Eat; Right: Bob M./Yelp
Shut Up and Eat! is a tasty breakfast option in Tom’s River, New Jersey, if you want to roll out of bed, forego clothing, and even have your coffee poured by people who did the same. The server uniform is pajamas, and any customer who also wears pajamas gets 13 percent knocked off the check. And no, yoga pants and a T-shirt won’t cut it — you have to wear a matching set.
The menu is huge and includes just about every egg dish you can think of, including something called a “Sloppy Mess” (a whole bunch of breakfast foods piled on a plate) and the vegetarian alternative, “Veggie Sloppy Mess.” If you’re feeling extra lazy, sleep through the morning and come in for lunch or supper and try one of their monstrous burgers that are almost too tall to get your mouth around. And if you’re feeling extra-extra lazy, Shut Up and Eat! delivers.
Hoshino Resorts Kai Hakone (Hakone, Japan)
Ryokans, traditional Japanese inns that date back to the eighth century, have cornered the market on relaxation. They are among the quietest places in the world. As soon as you walk through the door, you kick off your shoes and spend your stay in slippers. People speak in low voices, there’s no music, and everyone is chilling out in a serious way. At Kai Hakone, you get yukata (kimonos that are meticulously woven to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter) as soon as you arrive. You never have to change out of them, even in the on-site restaurant, where you’ll eat kaiseki, a traditional Japanese dinner in multiple courses. The menu changes all the time, depending on what’s in season. And if you get restless from all the relaxing, Mount Fuji is about an hour and a half away by car.
Sweet Bocas (Bocas del Toro, Panama)
The tastiest way to hang out in Bocas del Toro, Panama (an archipelago famous for its surfing), is to book Sweet Bocas, a villa on stilts that’s located on a private island. Every detail at Sweet Bocas is carefully chosen, from the locally sourced teak to the dishes owner Annick Belanger has collected from all over the world to the outdoor fire pits crafted by French artist Yves Leblet. This precision extends to every single dish prepared by Ecuadorian chef Wilmo Ordoñez (previously of Gustu in La Paz, Bolivia) — whether it’s as simple as the omelet you order in the morning or as complex as a multi-course dinner for which he uses every part of a freshly caught red snapper (even the broth made from its bones).
Everything he makes is locally sourced (he might just jump off the dock and grab an octopus), and often includes herbs and produce from the on-site organic garden. And it’s a good thing you don’t have to wear pants that zip, because sometimes Ordoñez whips up a 15-course tasting menu — which you can enjoy in your hamman towel, a 100 percent cotton sarong hand-woven in Turkey.
SoJo Spa Club (Edgewater, New Jersey)
On the Hudson River in Edgewater, New Jersey, Korean day spa SoJo Spa Club opened last year and stood out among other bathhouses in the tri-state area for its enormity (140,000 square feet) and its upscale, state-of-the-art facilities. Enjoy the white clay sauna, the charcoal sauna, and a room where you’ll lie down on hot black mineral slabs designed to alleviate muscle pain. Toss on your spa “loungewear” (a super-comfy T-shirt and shorts combo) and grab a bowl of bibimbap or a beef negimaki hero — teriyaki-glazed beef brisket with leeks, scallions, cheddar, and cherry pepper relish. If you don’t mind donning clothes but still want a unique experience, consider visiting the weirdest tourist attraction in your state.
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