O.Noir restaurant in Montreal and Toronto is fast becoming an adventure in dining. The name is French and basically translates to “at the black.” A friend called for reservations and they were booked solid for a week so be sure to call in advance. This is one of the trendiest hotspots where you never actually see the people sitting right next to you!
The concept is that you eat in complete darkness. Now that I’ve done it, I know what they mean by “complete” darkness. Everything in the restaurant is painted black and so your eyes never adapt to the light (because there is none). A friend of mine went to the bathroom (the waiter guides you) and she said there was a tiny bit of very dim light there. You spend the entire time in complete darkness. You are not allowed to have cell phones or other lights. There are lockers in the lobby so you don’t have to worry about your purse getting stolen.
Your Waiters are Blind
If you ever wanted to know what life is like as a blind person in a restaurant, this is the place for you. All of the waiters are blind and it seems that they’ve memorized where to go to navigate around the restaurant.
Go in Groups
I went with a group of 6 friends and we had a great time laughing the whole way through. I don’t think it would have been as much fun in a group of 2 or 3. The restaurant was quite noisy and we certainly contributed to that. I can see this as being somewhere adventurous to go for a birthday party.
You have to order your meals in the lobby before you enter the main dining area because there’s no light so you won’t be able to see a menu. They had fixed menus with 2 courses for $30 and 3 courses for $37. I ordered the filet mignon and was very impressed. They also have a mystery meal which adds to the excitement because not only do you not see the food, you don’t know what it is until you try it!
The funny part about it is that you keep cutting and eating but it’s hard to tell when you’ve eaten the entire meal. I discovered a large piece of meat that I hadn’t eaten as we approached the end of the meal.
Without lights, you certainly have a different sensation while eating. You’ll have to experience it for yourself to truly understand.
Not for Everyone
O’Noir is more of a one-shot experience than a restaurant that you would go to on a regular basis. It was stressful for one of my friends who hated the idea of feeling her way around her plate to find her food and then cut it in a small enough piece to fit into her mouth. If you take it easy and take your time, you’ll enjoy it more.
Go for the Experience
If you’re adventurous, go for a great time and good food.