For the past several years the term pop-up has been, well, popping up more and more when it comes to dining. Traditional sit-down restaurants will never go out of style, but we’re seeing more and more inventive ways to serve food in unexpected environments for limited chunks of time. If you want to get in on the action, here are our picks for top 10 pop-up dining experiences around the world to check out this summer.

TD’s PopUp, Portland, Oregon, United States

Tacos? Check. Tequila? Also check. TD’s PopUp is an offshoot of Portland’s Three Degrees restaurant and the theme is simple: tacos and tequila served up on the banks of the Willamette River courtesy of Chef Thomas Dunklin. The tiny 10-seat counter-service pop-up runs along the waterfront until October from noon to 8 p.m.

EatWith, various locations worldwide

EatWith isn’t so much a traditional pop-up restaurant, but an off-the-cuff dining experience you won’t get anywhere else. Chefs vetted by EatWith put together dinners based on whatever inspires them and menus are listed on the EatWith site. The fun starts when you search for menus in your city (or whatever city you happen to be in). Once you find one that intrigues you, make a reservation and the host will send you the address. It’s a fun mix of good food with a dash of intrigue.

Camden Beach, London, England

What’s better than a pop-up restaurant? A pop-up beach of course. Camden Beach at the Roundhouse in London sees a parking lot transformed into a tropical beach from July 17 to August 23. 150 tonnes of sand gets brought in to create the urban beach experience, which also includes several pop-up dining spots. Choose from a fish and chip shop, a shipping container turned into a craft ale and cider shop also selling sausages and a van dedicated to doling out Stoli Lemonades.

A summer in Provence, Arles, France

This summer, through Aug. 30, the Grand Hotel Nord Pinus in Arles will be home to a pop-up restaurant and wine bar dubbed “A summer in Provence.” The boutique hotel dates back to the 1920s and makes for a stylish venue for the pop-up, which will feature a fixed menu at the restaurant and small plates at the wine bar on the hotel’s terrace. Expect local, seasonal ingredients, artisanal cheeses and wines made by small winemakers sourced from local producers.

Pop-Up Picnics, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Picnics are a quintessential part of summer and downtown Calgary is a good spot to dine al fresco. Every other Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. throughout the summer locals and visitors can experience Pop-Up Picnics. Each picnic has a different theme (British garden party, circus, etc.) and will be held at different locations so you can go to all of them and never see (or eat) the same thing twice. Each picnic features a food vendor, live entertainment, games and tables, chairs and picnic blankets.

Aziamendi 88, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

For 88 days, from July 22 to Oct. 31, the Mandarin Grill at The Mandarin Oriental in bustling Kuala Lumpur will turn into Malaysia’s first three Michelin star chef pop-up restaurant featuring Eneko Atxa, Spain’s youngest chef yet to achieve this honor. You couldn’t ask for a better location for a pop-up. The Mandarin Oriental sits adjacent to the majestic Petronas Twin Towers and overlooks KLCC Park.  The dining experience will see the Mandarin Grill transformed to match Chef Atxa’s avant garde culinary vision.

Ceviche Project, Los Angeles, California, United States

Fans of ceviche might want to consider a trip to West Hollywood to the Mondrian Hotel to experience Chef Octavio Olivas’ Ceviche Project running from July 23 to Oct. 22. These monthly pop-up dinners will be held at Sky Bar at the Mondrian and each one will feature five courses based around ceviche. And what you get will always be a surprise since no menus are published beforehand. What the chef prepares depends on the fish he finds and each pop-up dinner will offer something different.

Araxi Longtable Dinner Series, Vancouver & Pemberton, British Columbia, Canada

The Araxi Longtable Dinner Series is held twice over the summer, once in Vancouver on Aug. 3 and once in Pemberton on Sept. 5. At each dinner 250 guests will be served four-course menus by award-winning Executive Chef James Walt with a focus on local, farm-to-table eating. The Vancouver dinner will be held in Vanier Park while North Arm Farm will play host to the Pemberton dinner.

Four Seasons Undercover, various locations, North America

If you like your pop-up dinners with a side of mystery, you might be interested in Four Seasons Undercover happening at several Four Seasons hotels beginning this month. At these dinners, guests have no details about what to expect and have no information other than when to meet in the lobby. Oh, and they’re also blindfolded until they’re told it’s time to discover just what kind of dinner they’ll be experiencing.

Street Feast, London, England

London is a hotbed for pop-ups and culinary events, and Street Feast is definitely something you should add to your to-do list for pop-up eating. This feast runs through to the end of September and brings together 50 of London’s best street food vendors for an epic dining experience no matter when you visit. Not only will there be enticing food everywhere you turn (from tacos and BBQ to dosas, grilled cheese and so much more), there will also be pop-up bars slinging everything from tequila to gin.

Featured image: Araxi

Slider image: mararie, restaurant via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

About the author

Jessica PadykulaJessica Padykula is a Toronto-based writer and editor who regularly covers travel and lifestyle trends. When she’s not writing or researching a story she can be found planning trips to places near and far in a never-ending quest to travel the world.

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