Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
About Opaque - Dining in the Dark, LA
Opaque - Dining In The Dark
Imagine that you are recognizing friends by their voice, sounds tell a story, aromas come alive and elegance is felt. In this era of information overload, visual stimulation has reached an all time pinnacle. But imagine, just for an hour or two that you cannot see, that you are abandoning vision in exchange for a new, more stimulating dining experience – this is “Dining in the Dark." Opaque - Dining in the Dark – will seat you in a literally pitch-black dining room where you will be guided and served by blind or visually impaired individuals that have been specially trained to serve meals in the dark, casually and comfortably offering guidance and reassurance for sighted guests.
We offer a prix-fixe menu at $99 per person.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Hours of Operation:
Dinner: Thursday - Saturday: Seating times between 6:00-8:30
$50 and over
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
Parking is available for free behind the building. Disregard tow-away signs. Those apply to non-guests.
Private Party Facilities:
We offer the dining in the dark experience for group bookings on-site, or off site on any day per individual booking
Private Party Contact:
Sarah Luntz: (310) 546-1933
Banquet, Beer, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Private Room
Opaque - Dining in the Dark, LA Ratings and Reviews
Definitely overpriced unless you're willing to pay for the experience. The food was good but pretty basic to my senses, I've had every single dish before and there wasn't much of a twist. Considering it's completely dark, I can't really rate the cleanliness of the food/table but what I was able to see was pretty horrible. I guess the place is a part-time nightclub... and it definitely shows. The hallway leading up to the bathroom and the bathroom itself was disgusting. Mirrors were filthy, toilet looked broken down and scratched, floors were dusty. OH, and since they're a "club"/bar they offer you drinks prior to entering the dining area, don't do it. We paid too much for warm wine and a nasty mixed drink. On the plus side, they hire blind people, which is great (our server was superb) but I really hope they pay them well.
Highly recommend it!!! Go with an open mind and enjoy. Rafael was amazing and the service was excellent as well as the food. If you are up to experiencing something really unique, this is it!!!! Servers are visually challenged or blind and they are amazing!! Will definitely go again.
This was my second time here and while the experience is definitely interesting and different, the food pretty much sucks. They say they have a new menu,but it's almost exactly what I had 6 years ago and they give each person a different entree but don't let you order. I ended up with dry, tasteless chicken, while my friends got salmon and steak. For 99.00 plus gratuity it's just not worth it!
My fiance and I really enjoyed ourselves and the experience. However when attending this venue, the meal is over rated. For the price of the meal, you would expect more. We had a very good time and appreciate the perspective that we took away from dining in the dark however the price of the meal was to high.
I've been here once before in 2014, and I really enjoyed the changes made, especially not having the knowledge of the menu beforehand. It really allowed us to enjoy the food without prejudging it, while taking into consideration allergies and foods we do not enjoy. Raphael was amazing and the best waiter I have ever had. He was constantly asking us how we were doing, friendly, and made sure we had the best time ever.
Our one complaint was there were a few groups who were very distracting. One used their cellphone so the room was illuminated for a time, and there was another group who were incredibly loud and not quiet down when asked to. The servers and restaurant did a great job trying to handle the situation, but I think a change needs to be made to enforce it more.
Overall, I love this place and am excited to come back and would recommend this place in a heartbeat. Hopefully no inconsiderate older groups of people will be there to be rude. :)
That was the best dining I have ever had!!!! The hostess was so warm and welcoming, great conversation and even let me video him explaining the experience! Raphael was an excellent server and had a very touching story of how he became visually impaired! To me and my husband the 5 course mystery meal was very good and worth the $99. We both had different dishes and got to try each other's meals! I almost had to be rolled out by the time we were done! The alcohol was great, strong and they keep them coming when we needed a refill! Overall a great experience, you have to try it!!!
The entire experience was magnificent. Our server Rafael was legally blind and perhaps one of the best waiters I've had at a restaurant. He made the experience very fun and informative if you wanted to know about the trials of the blind. Overall the food was great and not knowing what is being served builds anticipation and helps you further appreciate the flavor of your meal.
The food was nothing to write home about. Somebody posted recently that he/she felt that it was the kind of food they could microwave at home, and I completely agree.
I understand that the concept is to dine in the dark, but please, at $100 per person, you SHOULD have nice decor, nice tables and nice chairs... we were sitting on conference room chairs!! Even though we were in the dark we could tell that the cutlery, table cloth, table and chairs were below average at best... not to mention the impression that I got from the bathrooms and what I could see of the kitchen, the place was dingy and didn't give me the impression of cleanliness.
The noise level was so out of place and disproportional to what you'd think you'd experience in the dark... it was so loud and obnoxious that it took away even more from the experience. There wasn't any sense of coziness or intimacy in the dining experience... music was non-existent only loud and obnoxious conversations around us.
The only thing that I would rescue are the waitresses that were very friendly and so eager to tell us their story. It was a humbling experience for me and my date, and even confronting at times. I don't think I'd go back because there's just nothing that remarkable about the place. And it's a shame, because the concept is fantastic, but the delivery and execution is below average at best. This is the first "dinning in the dark" restaurant that opened in the US, it should be the flagship location for this concept, instead it falls way short of any basic expectation one might have.
The experience of eating in the pitch dark was interesting and novel. I was expecting the meal to be quite expensive, which it was - however, the quality of the food was very poor. It wasn't bad, per se - but it felt like something I could easily cook at home in the microwave, as opposed to a $200 dollar meal. Same goes for the drinks, which ran at $18-20 a pop - I've had much tastier, stronger drinks at other venues for half the price.
The experience is unique and interesting, but I would never go again, purely due to the discrepancy between the price and quality of the food and drinks I purchased there. When leaving, I literally saw them preparing food (a salad, and some kind of potato dish, I believe) on a fold-up table in the parking lot behind the kitchen.
If you have a ton of cash sitting around, it's a cool experience. Just don't expect much in terms of high-quality food or drinks.
This was an amazing and unique experience for both me and my date. Of note this was a second date for me with an adventurous woman - this could have been disastrous or magical but either way this is the kind of dining adventure you should have at least once. It is fascinating to be completely in the dark, feeling around for your utensils (if you chose to use them), your food, your glass of wine or even your date's hand. It really does open up a world of possibilities for your other senses to take over once the intense novelty of being deprived of all sight works its way through your nervous system.
I would highly recommend this to anyone so inclined. The food, as mentioned in many prior reviews is good to very good but that's not at all the point. It's a visceral, enhanced, intriguing and mind blowing experience.
Really interesting and fun experience. While the food is not the reason to go, it is of sufficiently high quality not to detract from the experience. For us, they asked if we had allergies or any "absolutely no-go" foods, then surprised us. They served us each different meals, and half the fun was trying to feed each other in the dark. And by the way, when they say "dark," they mean absolutely pitch black. To the point that I felt a moment of panic shortly after I sat down, but it passed pretty quickly. The sight-impaired wait staff were friendly and extremely reassuring as well as instructive. Won't forget this experience for a long time -- and would go again if out of town friends want a new experience!
Great experience, dining in the dark with a visually impaired server is truly a one of a kind experience. You are literally led to your table with your hand on their shoulder to your table. You can not see anything , be prepared for a one of a kind unique dining experience!
Opaque was an amazing experience from the moment you walk through the door. We were greeted by a friendly hostess who seated us in a little booth and took orders for drinks. Once ready she asked about dietary restrictions (which gives you control of what you don't want) but at the same time leaves the mystery of what you will get, as she was the one to decide.
We were greeted by our waiter who led us in nice and slowly to our table and gave us a play-by-play on where everything was. He even double checked with us regarding out dietary restrictions so as not to have any mistakes about our food. With each course he would return in the perfect amount of time and asked about what we thought the food was and how it tasted. I think this really added to the experience because it truly showed how much your mind depends on sight. We definitely were more vested in the food because all we had was smell and taste to judge the food.
When it was time to go he gave us nice warm towels and took us out. A very pleasant and memorable experience that is unparalleled. The only downside I would say was that the music could have been turned down just a bit, however I felt like we were sitting right next to it so it seemed just slightly louder than it needed to be.
Definitely recommend this to anyone as it is such a novel experience.
Dining at Opaque was a unique experience that we will long remember. From the moment we were lead into the complete darkness inside the restaurant by our blind server, we were helpless and yet we became aware of many new sensations. Interestingly, complete darkness is not fully dark, but filled with visions and colors created by the noise of visual neurons that can't stop firing. All of this was merely on the way to our table. We were completely dependent on our server, who was leading us through the darkness and was gifted by a special form of second sight that the blind possess, the ability to sense your surroundings based on sound and other cues that the sighted don't perceive.
As we were seated at our table we began to feel around for the familiar, reaching out for each other's hand for comfort and grounding as the feeling of vulnerability became a constant presence. As time wore on and we became familiar with the surroundings, food was brought to our table. Several appetizers, including tempura fried bacon and a spring roll served cold. The tastes were exquisite, and we noticed new and interesting flavors and textures. Our entrees arrived, I was served spare ribs and she received chicken, both of which were delicious. At the end there was a mango panna cotta and a chocolate brownie with pot de creme. The desserts were amazing.
We would highly recommend Opaque to anyone seeking a novel gastronomic adventure.
The waiters and waitresses are all blind! Very interesting experience. There is no sign on the door. You need to know the address. The address numbers are posted in large print on the outside of the building. Wash your hands before you go in as it is impossible to eat with a fork and knife. Don't worry, no one can see you and they give you material to clean your hands at the end before you leave the dark room.
The experience was pretty cool. The food however was not that great and the use of flavors as a sense was not exploited as well as it could have been. My girlfriend and I enjoyed the evening but both felt like we didn't need to go back. The music was too loud and was distracting from the experience.
The overall experience was positive. The highlight being the empathy you experience eating like a person who is blind or near blind. However, the food was not great, it's in a night club and it's wildly overpriced. We paid $300 for an average meal. I would not suggest that.
This was an amazing experience. I thought I had written a review before and I'm sorry it's taken me so long. We still talk about this. There are few times in your life you can say you tried to learn from an experience ... this is one of those times. It wasn't a 10 minute experience, but we really felt some of the frustrations not being able to rely on your sight. it was also fascinating being able to talk to our server who was sight impaired. This was worth the extra money and the next time I'm in a city that does this... i will be doing it. do not miss it
Opaque was far and away one of the most unique dining experiences I have ever had. You are greeted by lovely hostesses in the main lobby/lounge area and all will be explained prior to your experience. A prefix menu is available to choose from, but part of the fun is allowing Chef’s Choice for the table. You meet your server who is legally blind and he or she leads your group daisy chain style into a room that is PITCH BLACK. I have NEVER experienced darkness like this. Hand in front of face and NOTHING. NADA.
A multi course meal is served, with each person getting something a little different from their neighbor. All other senses are heightened. The flavors in the food are exciting and interesting to decipher. Silverware exists, but was rarely used. We ate with our hands a great deal and “shared plates” as best as we could in the dark. In the light of day afterward, there was chocolate in beards and water on dresses but it was all very worth it. Very cool experience!!!
Opaque is quite a different experience for those of us with our sight. It provides an atmosphere that is completely different than any other. Completely relying on smell & taste allows you to really focus on what you are eating, and not what you see around you. Something out of the ordinary, and completely enjoyable. Our server was wonderful and we would highly recommend splurging for this experience.
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