The Best Hard-to-Get-to Restaurants Worth the Trip

Flickr/Bruno FavoretoFlickr/Bruno Favoreto"Life is a journey, not a destination," proclaimed Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson. Food then, too, is about the great quest and the hunger for the experience.

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So, the hunt is on for the world's best food found in the most remote corners of the Earth. Are you willing to work for your food? Are you ready to wear hiking boots to get to dinner? Are you OK with going to the bathroom outside in order to indulge in the perfect meal?

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If you're still thinking about it, then keep reading, because we've compiled a list of restaurants that churn out such spectacular food that it is really worth the trip. The good news is that once you arrive, you'll be happy to discover that many of these far-out spots are actually reasonably priced, intimate, and romantic, with views you'll never again see. Plus, they put you in the same room as like-minded diners, who are also prepared to test their limits.

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Mr. Chaak at Chichen Itza, Mexico

Take a long drive through the rural villages of Mexico en route to tour the historic pyramids of Chichen Itza. After hours of trying to delicately fit your large Converse sneakers on the petite stairs of the Mayans, who were a much smaller-footed population, you need a break. Head over to Mr. Chaak, a very simple, cheap little joint where you can cool down with a fresh mango smoothie or cold beer, homemade guacamole, and spicy queso fundido with Valladolid sausage before taking on the rest of the road trip through the Yucatán. They also have free Wi-Fi, you know, just in case you need to double-check those directions again.

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Grutas Restaurant on Madeira Island, Portugal

Visit Grutas Restaurant on the Portuguese Madeira Island. This restaurant isn't just on an island; it's inside a volcanically formed cave. It's tough to get to, but the unique view and the fresh fish are worth the trek, as is the Poncha cocktail, prepared with honey, lime, rum, and lemon.

The Old Forge, Scotland

The Old Forge is a beloved establishment that draws locals and visitors from across the world who are intrigued by the pub's Guinness World Records listing as "The Remotest Pub" on mainland Britain. There are no roads in, so expect an 18-mile hike or a 7-mile boat ride to the village of Inverie. Indulge in homemade beer-battered haddock and chips or, for lighter fare, try the Loch Nevis mussels steamed in white wine and fresh bulb garlic served with crusty bloomer bread. Try local brews, Guinness of course, "obscure" malts, gins, ciders, and many more spirits.

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Turistua in Hammerfest, Norway

Take the zigzag path through Saltfjellet to the top of a hill overlooking Hammerfest, Norway, where you'll try Turistua Restaurant's traditional dishes - like seal - with a glorious view of the city and port on a summer day. Experience Sami culture, songs, and food and learn about local history from knowledgeable staff. The bold diners will order seagull eggs garnished with fish roe, or the bidos, a reindeer and vegetable stew.

Fäviken in Järpen, Sweden

Farm-fresh is the lure at this remote Swedish restaurant, located on the expansive farms at the foot of the stunning Jämtland mountains, so the menu's seasonal changes focus on enhancing the flavors of vegetation in its peak. You can also expect fresh game and a cupboard full of condiments that are jellied, pickled, and salted in-house according to traditional methods. The Fäviken Game Fair, which takes place at the end of July, is a three-day wilderness fair that attracts more than 30,000 people.

Treehotel in Harads, Sweden

Experience Swedish design at its most creative - by staying in a sleek hotel room high in a tree, deep in the woods, an hour outside of Lulea. Just 40 miles from the Arctic Circle, these extraordinary tree houses rely on retractable staircases and clever use of materials. Some, like the Mirrorcube, are made with mirrored glass, so the structures literally blend into their natural surroundings. After enjoying a dinner at the wild game buffet of reindeer, bear, salmon, caviar of Kalix, and Arctic char, go watch the Northern Lights.

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-Zoe Zellers, The Daily Meal