Going out for dinner and drinks is nice as a stand-alone activity, but add an open air patio or a dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows and you’ve automatically elevated the evening. Maybe it’s because the presence of awe-inspiring scenery reminds us of the tremendous scale of life, but somehow a meal always tastes better when consumed in a restaurant with panoramic views.
At these nine restaurants across the United States, you can watch ocean waves crash, marvel over mountaintops, or observe a city skyline while you enjoy a remarkable dining experience.
Makana Terrace is a restaurant within Kauai’s luxurious St. Regis Princeville Resort, so be warned: Food and drink costs are not exactly cheap. The undisturbed view of Hanalei Bay and Makana Mountain, however, is more than worth the price of that $23 appetizer.
Guests at this hotel in Hawaii can also take a dip in the terrace’s infinity pool, while those stopping in for a meal at the eighth-floor restaurant are offered a location-inspired menu featuring elevated takes on seafood classics such as onaga (long-tail red snapper) and shrimp.
Barrel House Tavern
There are plenty of classic waterfront dining options in San Francisco, including the Cliff House and Beach Chalet. But the Barrel House Tavern in Sausalito offers a different view of the bay that’s well-worth driving across the Golden Gate Bridge to obtain.
The restaurant’s deck, which is perched on the water’s edge, looks out over local landmarks such as Treasure Island and the Bay Bridge. Head here for classic California scenery and tasty cocktails, but stick around to snack on fresh wood-fired flatbread and seafood-heavy fare.
Big Sur, California
The menu at Sierra Mar features influences from all over the world, but the view from the Post Ranch Inn’s award-winning restaurant is purely Pacific. And we mean that in a literal sense: The restaurant’s clifftop setting, with its floor-to-ceiling windows and comfortable open air balcony, offers sweeping, uninterrupted views of the ocean.
Besides looking onto a vast expanse of water, dinner guests are also treated to a close-up look at the night sky—the Post Ranch Inn’s balcony is home to one of the largest hotel telescopes in the nation and is a prime spot for stargazing.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
It’s difficult to determine the true star of The Granary (the award-winning cuisine? the camera-ready view?), but one thing is certain: The Tetons, in all of their quiet glory, are the perfect backdrop for the luxe comfort food served at the Spring Creek Ranch’sall-American restaurant.
In the wintertime, The Granary is also the perfect place to go for an après-ski tipple, where a Teton Twisted Lemonade sipped over a signature bison burger will keep you warm—Wyoming style.
At the upscale Latin-inspired Mariposarestaurant, tapas, grilled skirt steaks, and fire-roasted chickens are served with a side of 360-degree views. Situated on the edge of Sedona’s Red Rock State Park, the restaurant and grill highlights its surroundings with a dining room decked with floor-to-ceiling windows.
This spot also boasts an expansive outdoor patio from which al fresco diners can admire the natural landscape, observe large-scale art on the property grounds, and even partake in some world-class stargazing when the hot Arizona sun goes down.
This Chicago restaurant and bar is an all-around hit (in fact, it’s one of our favorite rooftop bars in the United States). Cindy’s is relatively free of snobbery, the food is thoughtful and tasty, and the sky-high location provides unbeatable views of some of the city’s greatest icons, like The Bean in Millennium Park, the Art Institute, and Lake Michigan. Even locals admit to loving this heavily touristed place, located on the roof of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. The restaurant and bar sit inside an elegant glass atrium, but Cindy’s also offers a patio with fire pits and tables for drinks and mingling galore.
Top of the Standard
Manhattan, New York
In New York City there are countless rooftop bars, lounges, and restaurants that offer awe-inspiring views: Some look out over man-made landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge, others over natural beacons such as the Hudson River. Of the city’s many standout spots, however, the Top of the Standard at The Standard hotel is among the most revered.
This swanky lounge in the Meatpacking District comes with its caveats (pricey cocktails and a late-night members-only policy, for example). But the glittery views of the New York City skyline are really among the best in the town. It’s open to the public most days starting at 4 p.m., and reservations are highly recommended.
Asheville, North Carolina
To see one of Asheville’s signature dusty blue sunsets, there are few better vantage points in town than the Montford. The lounge itself offers a sleek outdoor patio with views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, and the bar offers a dizzying selection of craft cocktails—try the Through the Looking Glass, which blends rose bourbon with black tea from Asheville Tea Company—plus tasty small plates like the bison meatball sub, made with local bread and cave-aged cheese.
Although the Cliff House has been an Ogunquit, Maine, icon since the late 1800s, a recent revamp has turned this classic New England inn into a stylish retreat. The hotel’s primary restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, is no exception.
Much like the Sierra Mar’s uninterrupted views of the Pacific, the Tiller offers sweeping views of the Atlantic from a cliff’s craggy edge. Taking down a lobster roll while watching the sunset has never looked so luxurious.
A version of this article originally appeared online in April 2017; it was updated on October 12, 2018, to include current information.