Flickr/John Martinez Pavliga
There’s American food, and there’s American-style food. Restaurants that serve American-style food have to do it, well, in style — and many of them go above and beyond. It’s hard to tell whether American-themed restaurants celebrate or mock America, but one thing’s for sure: they’re definitely having fun. Here are 10 kitschy American restaurants from around the world.
To find the following restaurants, I simply typed “American-themed restaurant” and a country’s name to see what would pop up. This didn’t always work. A lot of American restaurants are just plain restaurants that serve classic, sometimes “New American,” fare, but nothing too peculiar. Some of these restaurants, like Foster’s Hollywood in Spain and Stars n’ Bars in Monaco, are famously tacky and are already named on many lists about the funniest or worst American restaurants abroad. But for others, my search method worked; I found restaurants with very American-friendly websites.
I must admit, a few of these places, like Tokyo’s Alcatraz E.R., are very much on the fringes of “American-themed,” but they made it on the list because of their sheer inventiveness. Excess is the definition of kitsch — and maybe even the definition of America — so that was key in my evaluation. Subtlety is for French restaurants. However, that doesn’t mean all of these restaurants have bad food. Many are very popular with celebrities and even with critics.
It should be noted that this list does not include American chains, like Applebee’s, because Applebee’s is American, not American-themed. You’d be hard-pressed to find any homesick Americans here. Nobody goes to these restaurants because they want to feel like they’re in America. They want to feel like they are in the America of their wildest dreams.
Pretend like you’re hopping into a Greased Lightning car and let’s travel to America by way of 10 other countries.
Alcatraz E.R. (Japan)
Alcatraz E.R. is not America-themed, per se, but Alcatraz (the prison, and I guess the restaurant, too) is very American. It’s definitely kitschy, at least — cocktails are stirred with sex toys and waiters will only come to you if you bang on the jail bars of your table enclave.
American Dream (France)
The owners of this diner seem to think the American dream is a stack of six cheeseburgers, which will set you back 39.50€ ($41.42 USD), pole dancing show girls, and so much polished metal that the place looks doubled in size because of all the reflections. Go big or go home (to America).