Any foodie can tell you that a good restaurant is about more than what’s on the menu. Restaurants are about soaking in ambiance and making memories as much as they are about eating and drinking local specialties. That’s why we put together a list of restaurants that serve up more than delicious bites. Check out 12 restaurants with the best views that you can visit in your free time on our tours—plus, sneak a peek at a handful of spots that our experts will bring you to.
1. Ristorante Belforte in Vernazza, Sicily
From the brightly colored houses perched like tropical parrots on seaside cliffs in Cinque Terre to the sprawling green expanse of Tuscany, Italy is brimming with unforgettable restaurant views. While we could list hundreds of amazing eateries, Ristorante Belforte takes the cake (or should we say cannoli) for us. The restaurant is more than 50 years old and has a terrace overlooking the sea. Even if you sit indoors you get a unique view, as the restaurant is carved into a cliff with textured stone walls that make you feel like you’re dining inside a medieval castle.
You can visit Ristorante Belforte on our Sicily: A Cultural Journey tour during your free time and try the daily catch tartare or any of the other Italian specialties their chef cooks up. Start planning which foods you’ll try in Italy with our list of 15 Italian dishes that are worth the flight.
2. The Imperial in Chiang Rai, Thailand
This Thai restaurant is on a rooftop overlooking the Mekong River, making it one of the best restaurants with nice views around the world. Staffer Jules raved about The Imperial after she stopped in during her free time on our Thailand Adventure: Bangkok, Chiang Mai & the Islands tour.
“This restaurant had spectacular views of the Mekong River, where Thailand shares a border with Laos and Myanmar,” said Jules. “We were able to sit outside, enjoy the fresh air, and enjoy delicious Thai dishes, including my favorite: pad Thai!” Curious what else to order when you’re dining at The Imperial or elsewhere in Thailand? Check out 10 can’t-miss dishes to try in this country of delectable cuisine.
3. Ponto Final in Lisbon, Portugal
One of the hottest restaurants amongst influencers looking to travel right now is Ponto Final, a waterfront spot that serves up traditional Portuguese bites. It’s only a 10-minute ferry ride from Lisbon, and is nestled amongst nondescript warehouses. (If you didn’t know where you were going, you’d think you were lost.) The building itself is right on the beach, with a patio that rises over the sand, and the location alone puts this restaurant with a nice view on our can’t-miss list—we love a hidden gem! But the food itself is also something to drool over. The eatery is most known for their piri-piri prawns, made famous on an episode of the show Somebody Feed Phil. Sit a while and take in the glistening Tagus River, the 25 de Abril Bridge, and all the colorful boats coming and going while you enjoy a plate.
4. La Fontelina in Capri, Italy
You’d have to be blindfolded to not find a beautiful view in a place like Capri. If you’d like to soak in the scenery while eating some of the freshest fish in Italy, one of our favorite restaurants with a view is La Fontelina. “It’s tucked away and can be accessed by water taxi or by hiking down to it from Anacapri,” said staffer Bailey. This small restaurant sits just above the beach atop rocks carved by ocean waves. It’s so close to the water that you can rent a spot on the beach just outside the restaurant and soak up the Italian sun for a few hours.
You won’t be disappointed as you gaze out over the aquamarine sea while you enjoy the fresh seafood this spot is known for. And while the menu rotates with the catches of the day, one can’t-miss dish that you’ll always find available is the fried paranza—an assortment of small fish like sole and anchovies. (Thank us later.)
5. Porta 4 in Porto, Portugal
Founded by two friends, Porta 4 in Porto is a small but mighty restaurant with a scenic view in a city known for exceptional cuisine. (Check out what to eat in Porto, Portugal’s foodie capital, if you’re headed to this restaurant mecca.) “This tiny spot has only four tables and serves two seatings each night,” staffer Adam said. While being fully immersed in the local scene is one of the best parts of dining at this hidden gem, the views as you approach are just as delightful. “You’ll walk up a winding alley through an ancient part of town, and arrive at a hilltop park overlooking the Douro River,” said Adam.
Since this is a small spot with only two seatings a night, we highly recommend making a reservation. Your expert Tour Director can help you make the call or you could do it ahead of time at home through their website. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed—this eatery hits all the marks we love. Local hidden gem? Check. Views to write home about? Check. Putting Porta 4 on your bucket list? Check!
6. Salts in Barcelona, Spain
Get ready to sit where the 1992 Olympic spectators did and enjoy casual snacks and local specialties—this restaurant with a view has one of the most unique concepts we’ve seen yet. Situated on Montjuic (a hill in Barcelona), Salts is located on the site where swimming pools and trampoline jumps were built for the 1992 Summer Olympics. Plus, because of the elevation, it’s the perfect place to soak up exquisite views of Barcelona while enjoying Spanish food and drinks. Check out our ultimate food and wine guide to Spain to start planning your order now.
“You can practically see the whole city from up there!” said staffer Alejandro. “Sitting in the shade on a warm day, sipping a radler beer with a mountains-to-coast panorama playing out below, easily ranks as one of my favorite memories from my trip to Spain. If you have the time, I’d highly recommend a pit stop.” Visit this restaurant with an amazing view during your free time on one of our Spain tours and don’t worry about making a reservation—this spot is casual and great for a quick drink or snack.
Reserve your spot on tour
(and your table with a view)
7. Taverna Glafkos on Paros, Greece
This small eatery on the island of Paros in Greece is on the harbor—no, really, it’s practically touching the water. It’s one of the best restaurants with a nice view because you can watch the ocean waves crashing against the coastline while you gaze out at Greece’s iconic white buildings. This was staffer Tom’s favorite restaurant on our Greek Islands Adventure: Athens, Naxos & Paros tour. And while the traditional Greek food and harbor views are both worth the stop, so is taking in the sights of other tourists. “It’s great people watching, too!” Tom said. Looking to learn more about what food awaits you in Greece? Our guide to the 5 dishes to eat in the Greek Islands will give you an idea of what Taverna Glafkos is serving up.
8. La Closerie des Lilas in Paris, France
Lovers of literature need to add this restaurant with scenic views to their bucket list. First opened in 1847, this classic Parisian eatery was a haunt for some of the greatest artists of the 1920s. Hemingway, Picasso, Stein, the Fitzgeralds—all of them, and more, sipped libations and talked art here. Certain tables and bar seats even have plaques so that you’ll know who once enjoyed sitting there. Today, plenty of people from around the world want to sit where these icons sat, so we highly recommend making a reservation.
Beyond its famous diners, the restaurant has a lot of other things going for it. Think: traditional French food you’ll rave about and a glass-enclosed outdoor area filled with plants, chefs preparing plates, and views of Paris’ lively streets. In the view of this author, having a Manhattan and sitting where Hemingway once sat was a true dream come true. I could dine there every night and notice something else beautiful about this spot. Sip where the greats sipped during your free time on any of our tours of Paris. Wondering what to order when you’re there? We asked a local what to eat in France—here are the 20 French foods she picked.
9. El Avion in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Restaurants with nice views go beyond what you can see from the windows—sometimes, it’s the building itself that will wow you the most. “While on a trip to Costa Rica, I ate at a restaurant called El Avion that was built around an abandoned airplane in the rainforest,” said staffer Emily after traveling to the town of Manuel Antonio. The large menu includes both traditional Costa Rican and American comfort foods. If you’re looking for authentic Costa Rican food, check out our foodie’s guide to the best Costa Rican dishes to try for what to order at El Avion.
While the cuisine is delicious, sitting in the rainforest next to an abandoned CIA cargo plane is most memorable. “The airplane runs through the center of the open-air eatery, which offers 180-degree views of Manuel Antonio National Park and the ocean from the back patio,” said Emily. “You can even take a picture in the cockpit of the plane! The indoor-outdoor seating plays into the tropical atmosphere you come to Costa Rica for, and the views are just the cherry on top.”
3 restaurants with a view you can visit with us
These are three spots that we like to keep to ourselves, so we’re sorry to say we can’t spill the exact location. But we’ll bring you there ourselves on tour, and suffice it to say you’ll love it.
10. Traditional Nubian restaurant in Aswan, Egypt
Staffer Genevieve just returned from our A Week in Egypt: Giza, Nile River Cruise & Cairo tour, where she watched the sun set on a felucca before heading to a local Nubian restaurant on our optional Aswan Sunset Felucca Ride & Dinner activity. The traditional dinner included tasty Egyptian dishes and had a view to write home about, too. “The food was served from handmade clay pots and woven baskets while our group watched the light show appear over the Temple of Philae at night,” said Genevieve. “It was one of the most memorable nights of the trip.” Taking in ancient temples while savoring local cuisine secures this spot a place on our list of the restaurants with the best views. Interested in what kind of food to expect on your Egypt tour? Check out these 8 tasty Egyptian dishes to try.
11. Seafood restaurant in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Thanks to its mix of seaside cities and crystal-blue waters, Croatia has no shortage of restaurants with nice views. One of the best? The restaurant we eat at on the optional Scenic Dubrovnik Coast Cruise & Dinner activity on our Croatia & Slovenia: The Old-World Adriatic tour. Staffer Emily was blown away by her recent experience there. “The restaurant is unmatched,” said Emily. “We rode on a private boat to a beach and ate a three-course dinner on the shore. Enjoying fresh seafood as the sun dipped below the horizon and shades of orange and pink filled the sky was one of the best ways to spend free time in Dubrovnik.”
Traveler Gilda also sang the praises of this experience on her Croatia tour. “The boating experience was delightful, the setting for the meal was beautiful, and the sunset was beyond expectations,” she said. Is anyone else getting jealous?
12. Sheep farm in the Basque Country, Spain
Staffer Paula considers a stop on our new Food & Wine: Barcelona & Northern Spain with America’s Test Kitchen tour one of the best restaurants in the world. “One of the most memorable parts of the tour was visiting a family-owned sheep farm that produces Idiazabal cheese,” she said. “It’s tucked away in the mountains of the Basque countryside with amazing views of rolling green pastures and grazing sheep. After touring the farm, we sat down at a long table and sampled an array of handcrafted hard and soft Idiazabal cheeses. Each bite was made even tastier with the gorgeous backdrop of mountain views.” Cheese, sheep, and the Basque countryside? Sign us up to visit this restaurant with a view.