Jump on your magic carpet and end up here!
If you have had dreams of travelling to the Middle East, being surrounded by amazing music, stunning architecture and décor, and a variety of foods—but instead find yourself standing in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, look no further … Arabian Rock is likely just steps away. Although it will in no way fulfil any sense of actually travelling to the Middle East, it’s definitely on the list of must-see, absolutely eccentric theme dining experiences. So, no, you won’t be surrounded by culture and authentic cuisine, but, oh yes, you will quickly start to feel like Aladdin’s magic carpet took you way off course.
On street level, Arabian Rock is hard to miss. In contrast to Shinjuku’s busy and functional architecture, Arabian Rock looks like a cheesy movie set that’s been left behind long after the crew packed up and left. But, hey, in the world of theme restaurants, ‘cheesy’ comes with high praise. Enter into the restaurant and you will be guided to the magic, golden lamp. Rub it, and no genie will arise (darn!). However, a secret door will open and you’ll be granted permission to enter into a maze of rooms adorned with a rich texture of colourful fabrics and tiles.
Once inside, expect to be seated comfortably, surrounded by Persian carpets and decorative hookah pipes and lanterns. Enjoy a night out with friends, or keep it an intimate experience for two in one of the cute booths—which offer some privacy with the pull of a curtain! The serving staff is friendly and attentive, making each customer feel welcome—and they really play into the theme by dressing in belly-dancer costumes.
For the English-speaking traveller, you may have to get by with a bit of pointing,as the menu is in Japanese. But playing food roulette with the menu only adds to the experience!
Now, let’s get down to business. If you aren’t so much there for the atmosphere, but you are there for the food (I get it … I am a foodie), Arabian Rock offers up something for everyone. Rather than strictly authentic Middle Eastern cuisine, the restaurant offers Arabian-inspired Japanese fusion. Salads, pizza and kebabs are popular choices—certainly all of which have a Japanese twist. Desserts are, naturally, done up to be quite cute, and you can expect to see dish- es that include creams, fruits, chocolate and ice cream (yum!). If you are more of a fine cocktail connoisseur, you’ll have fun taste-testing choices from the themed cocktail menu.
A fun tradition at Arabian Rock involves each table receiving an appetizer of golden eggs—celebrating the famous tale of the “Goose and the Golden Eggs.” Sadly, these are just run-of-the-mill chicken eggs of questionable value (do eggs decrease in value when painted?). But, either way, it definitely adds to the charm of the experience!
In terms of price, as with most theme restaurants, costs run a bit higher than your average dining establishment—but remember, you’re paying for the experience. And at this magical place, where anniversaries are celebrated with cake shaped like a pyramid (!), that experience is guaranteed to be unique and unforgettable. So, pull on your flowing skirt (or pants!), gyrate those hips and make some room in your day for Arabian Rock. It will leave you with some interesting stories to tell!
- A flight from Tokyo to Dubai runs between $750 and $1,000
- A flight from Canada to Tokyo to Dubai would cost even more. Surprising, isn’t it?
- Persia first began the custom of colouring eggs to celebrate spring thousands of years ago
- Sinbad was the hero from a series of legends. He was also a sailor. Hence, Sinbad the Sailor
- Before animation came along, Aladdin was a folk tale stemming from the collection of tales compiled in Arabian Nights
Although there are locations in other parts of Japan, Tokyo’s Shinjuku location is easily accessed: it’s just a short walk from the eastern exit of the Shinjuku Station.
2F/3F Square Bldg, Yasukuni Dori, 1-16-3 Kabuki-Cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Daily 5 pm–5 am