8 airplanes converted into restaurants

Hawai Adda, Ludhiana, India: This retired Airbus 320 and former Air India plane now has fuselage lined with swanky booths, while vegetarian dishes dominate the menu. Credit: K Asif/India Today Group/Getty Images

In-flight meals are definitely one of the most maligned aspects of air travel.

Despite some airlines acquiring world-class chefs to create their menus, few passengers are likely to get revved up about the prospect of eating 30,000 feet above the Atlantic.

Perhaps it’s because our taste buds have a tendency to malfunction at altitude. Some argue that we’re simply bad tempered when flying and thus more likely to complain.

But what if you could make the airplane itself your destination and not just the means of getting there? All while keeping our feet firmly on the ground?

A selection of disused planes across the world have been converted into restaurants, making for a fun and quirky dining experience.

Here are eight of the best aircraft turned restaurants:

El Avión, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

El Avión Restaurant and Bar serves up dinner and a history lesson inside a converted Fairchild C-123 Provider placed in the midst of a Costa Rican jungle.

Originally one half of a US cargo plane pair destined to be embroiled in the Iran-Contra arms-dealing scandal, its twin was gunned down over Nicaragua in 1986.

The aircraft was subsequently left behind and mostly forgotten until 2000, when it was bought, revamped and transported to its current location on a Costa Rican cliff side.

And when your concept and back story is as unique as this one, you don’t have to get too creative when it comes to naming — El Avión simply means “the plane” in Spanish.

El Avion Restaurant and Bar, 22 Manuel Antonio Road, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica; +506 2777 3378

La Tante DC10, Accra, Ghana

Once an operational Ghana Airways plane, this McDonnell Douglas DC-10 now dishes up Ghanaian dishes on the daily from a prime location right next to the airport.

What was once First Class is now the waiting area, while Economy has become the main spot for drinks or dinner.

Rest assured, although middle seats are still available, the under-the-table leg room is much improved.

While the food served may not put La Tante DC10 in line for a Michelin star any time soon, this is the place to be for those keen on an airplane restaurant experience in Africa.

La Tante DC10 Restaurant, Kotoka International Airport, Airport Road, Accra, Ghana; +233 50 704 0598

Hawai Adda, Ludhiana, India

While most airplane restaurants milk the novelty factor for all it’s worth, sticking to (mostly) original interiors, Hawai Adda has gone for all-out luxury.

This retired Airbus 320 and former Air India plane now has fuselage lined with swanky booths, while vegetarian dishes dominate the menu.

Inspired by the Maharaja Express, India’s most luxurious train, Hawai Adda proves a worthy rival for the railed experience and was the first of its kind in the South Asian country.

Hawai Adda, Verka Park, Ferozpur Road, Ludhiana, Punjab 141001, India; +91 70870 21031

Steaks on a Plane, Bolton, United Kingdom

Picture your average British takeaway reimagined inside an airplane and you’ll probably conjure up something similar to the puntastically named Steaks on a Plane.

Made up of the wingless front end of a butchered Boeing 737, Steaks on a Plane is glamorous in neither location nor execution, yet there’s still something charming about its polystyrene-plated grub.

You can even order to go from a hatch in the fuselage.

If you decided to dine in, make sure to take advantage of the cockpit photo opp.

Steaks on a Plane, 120 to 126 Deane Road, Bolton, BL3 5DL, England

Runway 1, Haryana, India

The father and son duo behind Runway 1 clearly witnessed India’s first airplane restaurant, Hawai Adda, take off and wanted in on the action.

Opened in late 2017, this establishment leans heavily on the whole novelty concept.

Would-be diners are required to collect a boarding pass before heading to their table, while the cockpit houses what the owners claim is India’s only 3D flight simulation game.

However, once you move through to the cabin, the revamped interior of this former Air India Airbus A320 looks decidedly plusher than your standard economy experience.

Runway 1 Restaurant, Haryana, Mohri, Haryana 134003, India; +91 93064 51970

The Airplane Restaurant, Colorado Springs

Within the US Air Force-emblazoned fuselage of this hefty 1953 Boeing KC-97 tanker, 42 lucky diners can now enjoy an insight into aviation history while chowing down on seafood or a sandwich.

The owners opened the Airplane Restaurant for business way back in 2002, making it something of a US pioneer as far as on-the-ground airplane dining is concerned.

You’ll have to book ahead to guarantee a spot on the plane itself, but guests can also eat in the so-called “terminal” section of the property.

While that area isn’t an actual airplane, it still features plenty of aviation memorabilia.

The Airplane Restaurant, 1645 Newport Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80916; +719 570 7656

McDonald’s, Taupō, New Zealand

One of the coolest attractions in Taupō, New Zealand, is a McDonald’s (yes, really) although we doubt visitors flock here for the food.

It’s the decommissioned Douglas DC-3, now painted silver with a red racing stripe and the famous McDonald’s font, that surely grabs their attention.

While the former South Pacific Airlines plane flew throughout the ’60s, it found a new lease of life in the ’90s when it was remodeled with room for some 20 diners.

As for the food… Well, it’s still a McDonald’s.

McDonald’s, 48 Roberts Street, Taupō 3330, New Zealand; +64 7 378 8679

Space Shuttle Cafe, New York

Confusingly, the peculiar Space Shuttle Café is not a space shuttle. It’s actually made of a chop shop selection of Douglas DC3 parts, meaning it’s far more airplane than rocket ship.

Good luck trying to get a burger from this so-called food truck though — the Space Shuttle Café has passed through several hands over the years.

In fact, its current owner is apparently yet to dish up a single menu item. But if you’re really keen to dine there, you could just buy it outright.

The Space Shuttle Café is currently on sale with an asking price of $230,000.

Last known address: The garage of Manhattan Collision, 428 W. 19th Street, New York

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