Dining on exquisitely prepared, chef-driven cuisine is one of life’s ultimate pleasures. Combine a superlative meal with a magnificent vista, however, and you’re in for unforgettable experience. Make your next special occasion a memorable outing by booking a table at one of these five Forbes Travel Guide-curated and -approved restaurants with undeniably spectacular views.
L’Oiseau Blanc, Paris
Yes, there are countless places from which you can get a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but none quite compare to the looks you’ll enjoy from a table at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Peninsula Paris’ sixth-floor L’Oiseau Blanc. Whether you opt for a table inside underneath the retractable glass roof or, weather permitting, get a seat alfresco at the L’Oiseau Blanc Terrasse, the 360-degree panorama provides unobstructed perspectives of the City of Light’s most famous monuments (including the Sacré-Cœur, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe).
From the kitchen, Alsace-born chef Sidney Redel, a protégé of famed French toque Pierre Gagnaire, titillates the taste buds with modern takes on French classics, incorporating game and seasonal ingredients into what he calls a “bistronomique” menu: a two-course lunch or three-course dinner prix fixe selection that can pair impeccably with the restaurant’s extensive French wine selection.
Not to be missed are the pastry creations of noted chef pâtissier Julien Alvarez.
Step into the foyer leading to Five-Star Sixteen and be arrested by the scene before you. Thanks to 30-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, which offer an unobstructed vista of the Chicago River straight through to Lake Michigan, the dramatic cityscapes from the 16th-floor establishment inside the Five-Star Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago simply take your breath away. At night, the restaurant’s impossibly long, crystal chandelier and digital montages projected above the windows add further mystique to the dining experience.
Executive chef Thomas Lents’ multi-course tasting menu takes you on a gastronomic journey that changes with the seasons. “A Study in Ingredients” is the spring’s showcase, and it promises to turn the traditional tasting menu on its head by allowing you to choose from an array of starters (smoked foie gras and squab, lobster carpaccio), mains (turbot in brioche, fallow venison) and desserts (cognac toffee, pine nut cake).
El Farallon, Los Cabos
There are ocean-view restaurants, and then there is El Farallon at Los Cabos’ The Resort at Pedregal. Hewn into the side of Pedregal Mountain, this cliff-side restaurant is so close to the water that you can get splashed when the tide is high. Arrive at sunset so to get a photo of the surrounding landscape.
After your snap, enjoy a glass of Krug or grower’s champagne at the elegantly appointed Champagne Terrace. Then, delight in executive chef Gustavo Pinet’s Baja Bounty, an ocean-to-table spread consisting of soup, appetizers, grilled catches, family-style sides and sweets.
With live musicians performing each night, expect rhythms playing in concert with the cadence of the crashing waves while you dine under the twinkling starlight.
Asiate, New York City
From a vantage point at the southwestern corner of Central Park, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more breathtaking view than the one from Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, New York’s glass-enclosed restaurant, Four-Star Asiate. While many fine-dining establishments in the city only open for dinner, this 35th-floor treasure serves breakfast and lunch (and weekend brunch), allowing you to appreciate the splendor of the upper East side and Central Park neighborhoods any time of day.
Start your morning with a breakfast overlooking verdant treetops or book a power lunch, when the elegant interiors by design firm HOK channel the exotic pink-purple patterns of an orchid flower, and a liltingly light, floating tree-branch sculpture hanging above create an oasis of calm in the midst of the Big Apple’s restless energy.
Come nighttime, chef de cuisine Garrison Price’s three-course, prix fixe or six-course tasting menu seduces the palate with contemporary and modern cuisine exhibiting deft Asian touches, where dishes such as the hamachi sashimi (with hearts of palm, avocado and yuzu dashi) intermingle seamlessly with stone-ground polenta, poached egg and Meyer lemon topped with white alba truffle. Walls upon walls of wine (some 3,000 bottles) complete the picture.
After long days spent visiting the wondrous antiquities and countless monuments in Rome, the last thing you want to do when you climb the Spanish Steps is to jostle among tourists for a spot to see the Roman skyline. Instead, book a table at Imàgo, the sixth-floor, panoramic restaurant inside Five-Star Hotel Hassler Roma — situated at the apex of the steps — where you can dine in style while admiring the orange-tiled rooftops of the Eternal City.
From your dinner table, you’ll be able to see at least a dozen notable edifices, among them the ornate Victor Emmanuel II monument and the majestic Sant’Agnese in Piazza Navona.
Once you’ve taken in all of the sights, it’s all about indulging in your choice of Naples-born chef Francesco Apreda’s tasting menus, which include the option of a 10-course version filled with modern interpretations of Italian classics, or a six-course “Flavors of a Journey,” taking you through dishes that represent the chef’s experiences in London, Tokyo, Mumbai, Rome, Naples and New York.