Tired of the same old Applebee's and Cracker Barrel fare? Well, fortunately, you're living in the 21st century, where choice reigns. We've pulled together some suggestions for places that offer novel dining experiences.

The purveyors of the Ice Hotel in Sweden must have taken the old bromide 'if you have lemons, make lemonade' to heart. In the winter, they have lots of ice, so rather than complain, they created the Ice Hotel and Restaurant.

Ice is more than a theme here; it's the structural element. The entire hotel is carved from ice from the Torne River, lasting only until the spring thaw. The rooms, bar, and cathedral also feature ice art from some of the world's great ice artists.

The restaurant, however, is not made of ice, alleviating guests of the need to grapple to maneuver a fork while bundled in layers of insulation. The ice theme is carried through, though, by use of ice plates and ice glasses, as well as a menu featuring traditional arctic fare. The gourmet selection includes char from local rivers, elk and reindeer.

I'm guessing one night's sleep on a block of ice at the Ice Hotel and you'll understand what drove the Vikings to go raiding in warmer climes. Of course, they might have thought otherwise, if they'd had such a restaurant to enjoy.


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