It’s a feast for the eyes. When a restaurant offers a stunning visual backdrop to its delicious food, your senses have nowhere to hide; you’ve got your work cut out not to have a memorable meal.
Designer décor is one thing, but nothing compares with the expanse of a natural wonder or epic cityscape. A restaurant with a beautiful view offers diners something to talk about or to experience together in a moment of shared silence. Indeed, it promotes that elusive quality of warm ambience: just like in a cinema, you have a feeling of sharing something extraordinary and intimate with those around you without having to actually speak to anybody except your valentine or other dinner companions.
But like fine cuisine, pretty scenery is hard to quantify — and it’s rarely the chief concern of restaurant critics. So, following our guide to the world’s most picturesque hotels, HawaiianIslands.com has crunched the data on TripAdvisor by identifying the restaurants worldwide that reviewers most frequently note for their beautiful views.
- Mama’s Fish House on the Hawaiian island of Maui is the restaurant with the most beautiful view in the world — garnering 1,202 mentions in TripAdvisor reviews.
- Aqua Shard in London’s Shard building is the UK restaurant with the best view (910 mentions).
- 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower in Toronto has the most picturesque views of any Canadian restaurant (431 mentions).
- Australia’s best restaurant for the view is Cafe Sydney (329 mentions).
Hawaiian Fish Restaurant has World’s Best View
The attention to detail at Mama’s Fish House in Paia on the Hawaiian island of Maui is so meticulous that food is often the last thing reviewers mention (it’s fresh, exotic and delicious, by all accounts). The ocean view is one detail the restaurateurs have relatively little control over — but reviewers reckon it the best in the world. “The only thing more amazing than the food was the view!” writes one. “Go during daylight, so you can enjoy the beautiful waves and bright blue water while you enjoy your seafood.”
Mama’s Fish House leads a global list of beautifully positioned restaurants that is as diverse as it is mouthwatering. Among those with more than 300 ‘votes’ on TripAdvisor are the city panorama of London (the Aqua Shard), the geological formations of Jimbaran (Indonesia’s Rock Bar) and the fortified old town of Dubrovnik (Panorama Restaurant & Bar — you might even recognize the scenery from Game of Thrones.)
Seven of the world’s ten most beautifully set restaurants are in the U.S., and it shouldn’t be a surprise that three of those are in Hawaii. The Sunset Monalisa on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula won the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Award for most ‘picture perfect’ restaurant in 2022, thanks to its signature sunset view of the Land’s End promontory and natural El Arco archway. However, in terms of review mentions, the Monalisa ‘only’ ranks as world number three.
Oceanfront and Clifftop Restaurants Among America’s Most Picturesque
Waterfront settings characterize many of the U.S. restaurants with the most beautiful views, from Hawaii’s ocean outlooks to The Oasis on Lake Travis (Texas) and JB Hook’s on Lake Ozark in Missouri. The other main trend is height: America’s most awe-inspiring restaurants are often found atop skyscrapers or perched on mountaintops or cliffs. Such is the case with the Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill, overlooking the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona. “The view for dinner is worth 5 stars alone.”
TripAdvisor reviewers rank four Hawaiian establishments among America’s top 10 most picturesque restaurants. Natural ocean, island and palm tree views are enhanced by beach torch ambience, whether dining at open-air locations such as Beach House in Poipu or Kimo’s in Lahaina.
Mama’s Fish House leaves the local and international competition in the dust by the sheer number of reviews praising its view. But every spot has unique selling points, as one reviewer of Kimo’s in Lahaina points out: “The only thing better than the view (which is gorgeous) was the massive, yummy Hula Pie!”
Niagara Falls is Canada’s Capital of Dining with a View
Three of Canada’s most picturesque restaurants offer views of Niagara Falls. The Skylon Tower Revolving Dining Room is the headline grabber with its spinning floor at 775 feet plus access to the observation deck. A fourth, Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club Restaurant, is at the top end of Niagara River, overlooking the lake and Fort Niagara: “Great spot for a casual meal, a cold beverage, great conversation and the beauty of Lake Ontario,” reports one reviewer.
London Restaurants Offer UK’s Top Dining Views
London restaurants dominate among the UK’s best-positioned. The Aqua Shard on the 31st floor of its London Bridge address has floor-to-ceiling glass windows and 360-degree views over the capital — however, reviewers consistently rate the view over the “service and attitude.” But if the UK’s top ten are all in England, there are more natural alternatives to the views of London and Liverpool. “Can’t think of a restaurant with a better view,” writes one reviewer of The Jetty in Dorset on the south coast, which offers “breathtaking views over Christchurch harbour and of the wildlife.”
Sydney Cafe Offers Urban Alternative to Rural Australian Views
Australia’s top-rated restaurants for views tend to be in the mountains or by the water. The top choice, Cafe Sydney, is not quite mountainous — but it does offer fifth-floor rooftop views over Sydney Harbour with a panorama that takes in much of the city skyline, including the Opera House. Just be sure to request a table with a view when you book. Cafe Sydney’s “beautiful view” gets nearly three times the mentions of second-placed St Bernard’s Hotel on Tamborine Mountain.
The Eyes are as Hungry as the Belly
Anybody who has cooked a meal for a customer, a lover or a toddler knows that the eye plays just as keen a part in the experience as the palate. That’s why it’s worth looking beyond the chef’s name when booking a romantic Valentine’s dinner, birthday lunch or business meal. And while some restaurants may lean a little too hard on their spectacular view, it’s usually the case that a restauranteur who’s picked out a beautiful view for their eatery is just as mindful about the menu and service, wherever you are in the world.
METHODOLOGY & SOURCES
We searched the phrase “beautiful view” on TripAdvisor to collate a list of restaurants in 126 countries and every U.S. state that featured that phrase in their respective reviews. Restaurants with the highest number of mentions of the phrase “beautiful view” were determined to be the restaurants with the most beautiful views.
Where more than one restaurant had the same number of “beautiful view” mentions, preference was given to the restaurant with the higher average rating or the higher number of reviews.
Restaurants with fewer than 10 mentions of “beautiful view” or with fewer than 100 reviews were excluded from the country rankings but were included in the U.S. state ranking.
Our data was collected in March 2022.