World’s Most Amazing Restaurants With a View
Restaurants have long been setting tables in locales with dramatic views, but often the food has paled in comparison. With the dramatic evolution of the global culinary scene, however, it’s more than safe to look past the cocktail menu at many of the world’s most beautifully situated restaurants. “They actually have a view and good food at the same time,” said Tim Zagat, co-founder of the Zagat Survey restaurant guides. “It’s a combination that was rare 10 or 20 years ago.”
So where are the top places that harmonize amazing vistas with delectable victuals?
At Asiate, in New York City’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel, eyefuls of midtown Manhattan’s cloud-grazing buildings and the lush refuge of Central Park draw locals, tourists, and special occasion diners, and executive chef Toni Robertson is up to the task of keeping the Asian-influenced cuisine at the same high level as the 35th-floor restaurant. “The challenge I have is I have to compete with the view, but as a chef, I always win,” she said.
The Big Apple is hardly alone in providing winning skyscraper meals. At Felix, on the 28th floor of Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel, guests soak in the city’s striking setting from a slick dining room designed by Philippe Starck while feasting on dishes like Tasmanian salmon with crushed eggplant-tomato horseradish cream and roasted challans duck breast with black sesame hummus.
Of course, some of the world’s most spectacular restaurant views are born, not made. At Ambrosia, on the Greek island of Santorini, the island’s sea-filled volcanic crater provides a rocky perch for the terraced restaurant, from which diners gaze out on an otherworldly blue sea. Santorini fava puree with grilled octopus and caramelized onions brings Grecian flavors to the Aegean seascape.
And up in British Columbia, diners at Eagle’s Eye Restaurant — part of Kicking Horse Resort — survey snow-capped peaks as they tuck into Rocky Mountain cuisine infused with hints of chef Alain Soret’s native France. Riding a gondola up to the restaurant 7,700 feet above sea level gives some guests the impression they’re going to an alpine snack shack.
“Lots of people expect to find burgers and doughnuts up there,” said Soret. They’re surprised to be greeted with romantic fireside dining and entrees like roasted venison with almonds, pancetta, and juniper jus served with fig-saffron risotto.
Whether you crave rough-edged mountains or deep ocean views, a glitzy skyscraper scene or a secluded retreat, these restaurants offer mesmerizing views with menus worthy of the scenery.
Sierra Mar, Big Sur, CA
The View: Diners gaze out on the Pacific Ocean and rocky headlands from the Post Ranch Inn’s restaurant, Sierra Mar, perched on a secluded cliff 1,200 feet above the surf in Big Sur. Angled-glass walls and tables on varying levels ensure views of the expansive ocean, out past the sinewy southern coastline.
The Food: The four-course prix fixe menu changes daily, combining Asian, French, and Mediterranean influences with seasonal organic ingredients. Grilled squab breast with foie gras crostini, endive and huckleberry gastriqueShaved good liver with pickled rhubarb, Sicilian pistachio and green apple gelée, and oysters on the half shell with Champagne mignonetteShigoku oysters with cucumber, balsamic and wild herbs were recent first-course choices.
Tip: Go for lunch or dine before sunset to enjoy the sweeping ocean views. Lunch and specific dinner times are open to guests who are not staying at the Post Ranch Inn. Reservations are required for dinner.
Asiate, New York City
The View: The 16-foot-high windows in this Mandarin Oriental Hotel’s restaurant, Asiate, offer views of Midtown Manhattan’s sleek vertical marvels and the leafy urban oasis of Central Park. From the elegant 35th-floor dining room, the buzz of the city recedes, leaving a glittering metropolis.
The Food: Chef Toni Robertson, a native of Burma, brings subtle Asian flavors and classical French training to the menu, with entrees like Atlantic halibut with shishito pepper and citrus sabayon, as well as Long Island duck with summer berries and hibiscus.
Tip: For a drink, a snack or afternoon tea, try the Mandarin Oriental’s 35th-floor Lobby Lounge, which also offers breathtaking views.
Cuz’s Fish Shack, Barbados
The fish “cutter” sandwich is a Bajan obsession, and this decades-old clapboard hut on Carlisle Bay is the place to get hooked. Cuz’s kids now run the show, but the recipe is the same: pan-fried blue marlin, lettuce, tomato, pickles, fiery Scotch bonnet sauce, and cheddar cheese or a fried egg on a pillowy roll. Needham’s Point, Hastings; no phone. $
Limo, Cuzco, Peru
Request a table on the balcony of Limo’s colonial-era hacienda, overlooking an elegant plaza. Alpaca sweetbreads and lomo saltado (marinated beef with fiery amarillo peppers) accompany the best pisco sours—and vistas—in town. 236 Portal de Carnes; cuscorestaurants.com. $$
Il Pirata, Praiano, Italy
Antonio Sersale, owner of Positano’s Le Sirenuse hotel, swears by the sea-urchin linguine at this Amalfi Coast idyll, where a sun-drenched terrace is built into rocks above a glittering cove. Via Terramare; ristoranteilpirata.net. $$$
Osteria Bancogiro, Venice
Request a Grand Canal–facing table and order gnocchi with scallops and porcini. 122 San Polo; osteriabancogiro.it. $$
Ambrosia, Santorini, Greece
The View: Perched on the edge of Santorini’s volcanic crater in the village of Oia, Ambrosia’s terrace tables look out over the steel blue Aegean Sea, the rocky caldera rim, and a gentle rise of volcanic islands.
The Food: Signature appetizers include baby calamari in pesto and ouzo along with salmon tartar with avocado, grapefruit, chilli and lemongrass. Move on to lamb cutlets with a red grape and mint sauce or shrimp with grilled mango.
Tip: Outdoor seating is available April through October. Reserve terrace tables a month in advance.
Rosellinis, Ravello, Italy
The View: Terrace tables at Rosellinis—in the Palazzo Sasso—look out on the craggy cliffs and coves of the Amalfi Coast, where fishing boats dot the cerulean waters of the Mediterranean 1,000 feet below. If you want to sit inside (or can’t get a table outside), ask for a window seat or you won’t have a view. You’ll also find amazing views at the hotel’s less-acclaimed-but-still-wonderful Terrazza Belvedere.
The Food: Michelin-two-star Rosellinis looks to local Mediterranean ingredients for a Southern Italian menu peppered with updated Neopolitan dishes such as crystallized amberjack fillet served with roasted artichoke and potato salad with anchovy sauce.
Tip: Rosellinis is open only for dinner, and only from mid-March through October. Reservations are accepted, but tables are first-come, first-served. Arrive early for a terrace table and daylight views.
Le Jules Verne, Paris
The View: From its perch on the Eiffel Tower’s second level, 410 feet above the ground, Le Jules Verne offers expansive views of the City of Light. Look out of bay windows over wide boulevards and slate gray rooftops at lunchtime, or go in the evening to see Paris’s twinkling lights.
The Food: The menu reflects the revered culinary traditions of France, but celebrity chef Alain Ducasse’s team brings a modern touch to classic recipes. Sea bass is cooked in its caramelized juices with just a splash of cream added at the end to intensify the flavor and lighten the dish. The wine list is 100 percent French.
Tip: Le Jules Verne reservations go fast; you can book a maximum of 3 months in advance through the website.
Baan Rim Pa, Phuket, Thailand
The View: The crush of waves on the rocks below adds another sensory layer to romantic Baan Rim Pa, an open-air, two-story teak house on a cliff above a crescent of golden sand. The sun sets on boats bobbing against a backdrop of hills fading into the Andaman Sea.
The Food: Panaeng Ped (duck curry with lychee) and Goong Lai Sarong (prawns hand-wrapped in vermicelli and quickly fried) are highlights of the Royal Thai menu, which features recipes formerly served only in Thailand’s Grand Palace.
Tip: Don’t miss live jazz and blues in the piano bar, courtesy of American musician Tommy Doyle.
Felix, Hong Kong
The View: Sweeping views of Hong Kong’s dramatic cityscape captivate diners at this 28th-floor restaurant in the Peninsula Hotel, created by avant-garde designer Philippe Starck. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out on the city’s neon skyline, Victoria Harbour ships, and the bustling shopping district of Kowloon.
The food: The contemporary menu features fresh seasonal dishes such as crab salad and tuna tartar with dandelion salad, slow-cooked sea bass with black shrimp mousse, and grilled Australian lamb.
Tip: Felix provides a glamorous perch for Hong Kong’s nightly laser and light show at 8 p.m.
Eagle’s Eye Restaurant, British Columbia, Canada
The View: A 15-minute gondola ride lifts diners 7,700 feet above sea level to the timber-framed Eagle’s Eye Restaurant at the Kicking Horse Resort in Golden, British Columbia. From the dining room, more than 1,000 often snow-capped peaks in the Purcell, Selkirk, and Rocky Mountains zigzag along the horizon.
The Food: Chef Alain Soret brings French flavors to the locally sourced beef, salmon, and game entrees served alongside British Columbian wines. Wild B.C. sockeye salmon with a maple-pine nut crust is topped with melted brie and served with whipped potatoes and fresh vegetables.
Tips: Fireside tables 24, 29, 36, and 37 are ideal for a romantic evening. In spring and late September, vivid contrasts of snow and foliage add to the panorama. The restaurant is open June through October and December through Easter.
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania
The view: The Ngorongoro Crater Lodge’s perch on the edge of the largest unbroken volcanic caldera in the world provides spectacular panoramas of the expanse of seasonally toasty brown or vibrant green grasses dotted with wildlife. Game on the crater floor—from wildebeest to big cats—is visible with binoculars, and animals roam freely on the property.
The food: Pan-African dishes like duck with kumquat and chili marmalade are served in the domed dining room.
Tips: Dining is included in the stay. Twice-daily game drives are offered.
El Tovar Dining Room, Grand Canyon, AZ
The View: Soak in two billion years of geologic history—layered in slivers of deep orange, dusty violet, moss, and gray—from the dining room at the El Tovar Hotel, set about 50 yards from the edge of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. While a few windows look out over the canyon, the restaurant’s Canyon Room offers some of the most direct views; diners can look across the arid landscape to the North Rim.
The Food: Southwestern flavors are woven into the menu, from grilled buffalo ribeye with carmelized onion and fig compote to Scottish sustainable salmon tostada with organic greens and tequila vinaigrette.
Tip: Table requests are accepted, but coveted tables go fast and are first-come, first-served. For easy access to the best tables, go to breakfast in the dining room, when reservations are not accepted or necessary, or drink in the views with cocktails on the hotel’s veranda.
La Chèvre d’Or, Eze, France
The view: High above the Mediterranean in the medieval hilltop village of Eze, the restaurant of the hotel Chateau de la Chevre d’Or offers one of the most spectacular views along the Cote d’Azur. Diners look down over tiled rooftops onto St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat’s luxury villas and yachts bobbing on the mottled blue sea.
The food: The Michelin-two-star restaurant features gourmet French cuisine by chef Ronan Kervarrec, with a menu that may feature morel ravioli or sole stuffed with squid.
Tip: Enjoy the view well into the evening during the summer months, when it’s warm enough to enjoy a cocktail or an after-dinner drink on the bar’s outdoor terrace. Reserve a month in advance for summer weekend nights.
He’eia Pier General Store & Deli, Kaneohe, HI
Fishermen, paddle-boarders, the odd biker gang—everyone on Oahu’s windward coast stops into this ramshackle diner/bait-and-tackle shop perched on an old pier over Kaneohe Bay. You’ll find hearty plate-lunch staples such as musubi rice balls, mac salad, and pork luau stew; the owner’s mother runs a shave-ice stand next door. 46-499 Kamehameha Hwy.; 808/235-2192. $$