A restaurant with a view is not just the icing on the cake. It makes a meal into something completely different – a mini holiday or an experience that transports you away from your everyday life.
Here are the world’s restaurants with the best views.
We love restaurants with a view. Oceans, sunsets, rivers, lakes, valleys, mountains, forest, fields, desert or city – we may have our personal preferences for the view from our home (for that amazing house we are going to buy when we grow up) but for a meal, well any of the above would do, right? There may be a lot of people to watch or there may be just the ever changing colour of the sand to stare at, either way, a good view is mesmerizing.
And from the rickety tea house overlooking the rice fields in Bali to the swanky cocktail bar on the 90th floor of a Hong Kong tower, entrepreneurs have caught on to this selling point a long time ago. They just market it in different ways, and that’s fine. We’re here to do the research for you and find those special places all over the world.
Historically if you went to a place with a view, you expected the food to be so-so and overpriced. Nowadays there is more competition for these gems and the quality of the cuisine has been steadily improving, thank God.
Ambrosia, Santorini – Set on the volcanic cliffs of Santorini, Ambrosia offers the stunning blue ocean as a backdrop to lunch whilst at night the lights on the island and the boats make for a magical display during dinner. Expect Greek cuisine with lots of seafood and Mediterranean flavours.
Caldera, Santorini – If you stay at the hotel, you’ll have breakfast at this lovely spot as well as an option to have dinner there. Set against the cliffs Caldera’s cooking is simple but the views are unbeatable. Ocean and volcano is all you need!
Grotta Palazesse, Puglia – Jealous of all those romantic pictures on Facebook of friends dining in caves by the sea with small candles on their table, and always having to wonder where exactly you could find those places? Well, here’s one for starters. The restaurant belongs to a hotel that’s set into the cliff, and it requires some advance preparations to lock in your reservation. Without a reservation you do not get a table, and there’s a system where you park your car outside the village and get taken to the restaurant by shuttle. The service seems snobbish, but the food gets very good reviews, although it’s very expensive. But the view makes it all worth it.
La Pergola, Rome – An iconic restaurant in Rome with views across the beautiful city, La Pergola has 3 Michelin stars. Expect to be blown away by subtle flavours and textures, impeccable service and stunning views. It comes with a price tag of course.
Torre d’Alta Mar, Barcelona – Set in an old tower that has been redesigned, this restauraicont has beautiful views over the port and city and serves sophisticated modern Spanish dishes. This is true date material, and it gets rave reviews for the top notch food and service.
Taronja Negre Mar, Palma Mallorca – This gem overlooks the Marina of Palma and has a Michelin star. Chef Caldentey serves seafood and regional produce in creative twists at very reasonable prices for very sophisticated set menus. An absolute must to try when you’re in the neighborhood!
Grand Canyon du Verdon, Aiguines – We don’t hear a lot of good things about the hotel, so find yourself somewhere else to stay, but the restaurant has an old world feel to it, serves classic French cuisine and has amazing views overlooking the Verdon gorge.
Le Jules Verne, Paris – Ok. We know it’s cliché and corny. But it may just be on a few people’s bucketlists: dinner at the Eiffel Tower. With spectacular views across the city, celebrity Chef Alain Ducasse has earned a Michelin star for his cuisine here. Of course the service is to match and people say this is one of those rare experiences that makes time stop for a few hours.
Le Café du Jardin, Eze – In stunning Riviera territory, the Chevre D’Or hotel that this restaurant belongs to is exclusive and expensive. The café is not cheap, but at least you can have gourmet salads and pizzas with a view without having to spend a year’s salary. Overlooking the azure blue ocean with a crisp glass of white wine it’s hard to imagine anything better.
Maiden Tower, Istanbul – Ever noticed the small tower in the Bosphorus in Istanbul? It has a restaurant inside. There are not a lot of tables with views of the Bosphorus or the city, so make sure to book well in advance. It’s touristy and popular with corporate groups, so don’t expect haute cuisine and great service, but the food is decent and the views are very special.
White Rabbit, Moscow – Under a domed glass roof, with views across the city, this is a true gem for a special occasion when in Moscow. The food and the views are unrivalled, but we are hearing less positive things about the service. We hope to be proven wrong!
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge – Set on the ridge of the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater, the lodge’s restaurant perches on the ridge and overlooks the mysterious foggy crater. Make no mistake, you can see lots of animals from the terrace of the restaurant, but of course no visit to the crater is complete without a few game drives. The gourmet meals are accompanied by a wonderful wine selection.
Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant, Diani Beach – Serving European food in a beautifully lit cave this is a hit with families. Don’t expect elegance or haute cuisine, do expect good food and friendly service for everyone.
Two Oceans, Cape Point – One of my fondest memories is of Cape Point, watching two oceans meet with stunning views all around of the slopes and the rugged terrain. Local restaurant Two Oceans has been refurbished and upgraded to a more stylish venue, serving seafood platters to families and couples.
Felix, Peninsula – With floor to ceiling windows looking out over Hong Kong’s iconic skyline and a sleek interior by Philippe Starck, Felix is sure to send some jaws dropping. The space has been used well and so even when your table is not right at the window you still see a lot of skyline. The cuisine is modern European.
Tosca, Ritz Carlton – Michelin starred fine Italian cuisine overlooking the bustling Victoria harbor. Do we need to say more?
La View, Ubud – Granted, in Ubud it’s hard not to eat with a good view. It’s just beautiful wherever you look. But La View manages to take it to another level – set higher up on the hills it overlooks a verdant valley and everywhere you look you see lush green. The food is Asian with some French accents. There’s an uber-romantic option to book a table that is set up over the infinity pool with a five course gourmet menu.
Sirocco, Bangkok – At the Lebua hotel, set on the 63rd floor, was one of the first al-fresco rooftop venues in the city. Award winning Mediterranean cuisine is served whilst overlooking the city and the river.
Grotto, Krabi – Sit under the lime stone cliffs while watching the lime stone cliffs rise from the ocean, sipping on a cocktail. Oh and the sun is setting with a beautiful display of purples, oranges and reds. If you make an advance booking they do a live BBQ with fresh seafood whilst your toes are in the sand. Sounds like magic.
Weng Restaurant, Yichang – Also known as Fangweng, this restaurant was carved out from the cliffs above the river. Serving Chinese cuisine, famous for their sturgeon, the restaurant gets mixed reviews for its relatively expensive food. But if you get here a little bit before sunset, the view across the gorge more than makes up for it.
Ithaa, Conrad Rangali Island – Award winning for both the view and the food, this is really a bucket list experience. It’s set underwater in a glass tunnel amidst reefs with abundant fish and sea-life and is just simply stunning. There’s a six course set menu for dinner and a four course set menu for lunch, showcasing the Chef’s talent for European contemporary cooking. You can also book a table for mid-morning cocktails in case you got bored in the Maldives…
Altitude, Sydney – Stunning views of the Sydney Harbour and Opera House combined with contemporary Australian cuisine. The reviews are a bit hit and miss so don’t expect Michel-star cuisine and focus on the views!
Stratosfare, Queenstown – Not necessarily marketed as a culinary highlight, but New Zealand is known for its fresh and elegant cooking, so we wouldn’t worry too much. Especially because you will be eating while enjoying views of Queenstown, the surrounding mountains and Lake Wakapity. You go up with a gondola and there’s live entertainment. If you want window seats you need to book the premium package.
Asiate, Mandarin Oriental New York – Diners enjoy views of Midtown’s skyscrapers all around, or can look down at bustling Central Park. Modern Asian fusion cuisine competes for attention though, as the Chef has made it his personal challenge to ensure diners not only remember the view, but also the food.
Elements, Scottsdale – Set in Paradise Valley, Elements gets rave reviews for its fusion Asian-American cuisine as well as the beautiful mountain views. The sunsets are apparently very beautiful.
Sierra Mar, Big Sur – Sierra Mar is set on the cliffs overlooking the ocean and has an award winning wine cellar. So sip on some delicious spicy Shiraz whilst enjoying elegant American cuisine – think steak and lamb whilst watching the fog lift.
Canlis, Seattle – In a restaurant that looks somewhat like a living room too, with sofas and armchairs in corners, the Canlis family serves impeccably. The views are superb across Lake Union and the Cascades and the food is melt in your mouth.
Eagle Eye’s, Kicking Horse Resort – Imagine taking the cable car up, as if you are going skiing, and instead of the usual start of the slope, there’s a chalet with top notch cuisine overlooking the stunning snow-dusted Rockies. Oh and there’s a suite as well in case you want to wake up to the view too. The Chef serves elegant mountain fare fire-side.
El Farallon, Cabo San Lucas – Tucked into the Cabo cliffs this romantic, candle lit terrace overlooking the ocean is a sight for sore eyes. It’s expensive, but the seafood is as fresh as it gets and the whole experience is very luxurious. Think champagne bar and lobster.
Dasheene, Ladera Resort – Set on the lush mountains of Sta. Lucia, Dasheene offers mesmerizing views of the Carribean as well as the volcanic peaks of the island. The cuisine is local with seafood and regional produce. Start with a drink at the bar before dinner and enjoy live music while eating.