It was a big day when your favorite neighborhood pizzeria installed a credit card machine, but, with all due respect to Sal's, some restaurants have progressed to slightly more impressive technological feats. In an effort to distract you from the countless Apple products you have at home, these six spots have adopted gadgets and gizmos straight out of that movie where Will Smith has trouble making friends with robots. To wit:
C1 Espresso (Christchurch, New Zealand) At this NZ coffeehouse/burger joint, your sliders get shot through a mess of pneumatic tubes previously only reserved for your priority mail. Once your food has finished its 62mph joy ride, just pop open the cylinder container and eat. And maybe don't try and use it for your coffee.
Inamo (London, England) No flimsy paper menus for this Asian fusion spot. Instead, you get to make your selection via an interactive tabletop, which blows up dish images at your request, sends your choices to the kitchen, lets you play games while you wait on your food, and will even call you a cab at the end of the night.
Hajime (Bangkok, Thailand) If you're really, intensely, creepily into androids, you should quit reading this and check out the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo. But if you just wanna see a very ridiculous robot waiter in action, head to Thailand's Hajime. After you've placed your order through a touchscreen display, one of two robo-samurais will whiz by with your stuff and hand it off from behind a glass partition. He may also perform an impromptu dance to a random pop song. Seriously. They do what they want.
Moto Restaurant (Chicago, IL) This place is big on molecular gastronomy, so you can expect your usual laser-etched squashes and rotovaps (rotary vaporizers) in the kitchen. But Moto also has a pretty cool hydroponic garden featuring some slick hardware stashed in a converted office. You can tour it after your meal if you like, or just stare as the servers pluck fresh microgreens out of glass cylinders for your buffalo tartar right at the table.
's Baggers (Nuremberg,Germany) This oddly named German restaurant takes the idea behind railroad restaurants like Fritz's a step further. Instead of leisurely arriving via toy train, your food rockets down an intricate roller coaster track you set in motion via a tablet at your table, because human waiters are for old people who don't like taking planes to Germany.
A' Anteprima Ristorante (Chiuduno, Italy) Just as Moto's Richie Farina has gained international fame for doing crazy things to your dinner, Anteprima's Daniel Facen has been drawing notice for his insane spins. And the best part is you get to watch this mad scientist in action -- several glass panels on the kitchen walls let guests watch the mayhem from their seats, and if you're too far away, there are still TVs with live feeds mounted throughout the dining room. Your close attention will be rewarded with crazy gadgets like Facen's "sonicator", which liquifies solid objects for kicks.
Kristin Huntis a food/drink staff writer for Thrillist, and would love to ride a burger roller coaster. Follow her to the front seat at @kristin_hunt.