One of our favourite things about summer, and being on holiday, is that we can dine outside – this usually means sitting on a terrace or a pavement outside of a restaurant. There are some eateries around the world however, that have taken al fresco dining to whole new levels. Here are ten of the most stunning outdoor spots to grab a bite.
The Labasin Waterfalls Restaurant, Philippines
Here in the west, we’re used to dining out using plates and cutlery – and usually while wearing shoes! But at Villa Escudero’s Labasin Waterfalls Restaurant (around a two-hour drive from Manila), the etiquette is quite different. Your feet are submerged in the water that flows from the adjacent man-made waterfall and the Kamayan style feast – that you eat using your hands – rests on a bed of banana leaves. The restaurant is on the site of a resort and a working coconut plantation that are both worth exploring post lunch – footwear optional.
Café Am Neuen See, Berlin
Berlin might have an infamous nightlife, but like other great party cities – such as New York and London – it has a significant amount of green space, too. Tiergarten is a verdant sanctuary (especially after a late night), and one of its highlights is Cafe Am Neuen See: a restaurant and beer garden that overlooks a tranquil lake. The park’s rustling trees provide some much-needed shade from the sun, which can be overbearing in summer, and you can take boats out onto the lake… if you feel steady enough!
At the top of Bangkok’s swanky lebua at State Tower hotel is one of the world’s highest open-air rooftop restaurants, Sirocco. Up on the 63rd floor, this elegant space offers Mediterranean fare and probably the best uninterrupted view in Thailand’s capital city. Expect a rich menu featuring caviar and truffle, and if you want to guarantee a spot at one of the dizzily high dinner tables, then it’s recommended that you book ahead. You can also visit the rooftop for a drink in its exceptionally ‘Grammable circular sky bar.
Grotta Palazzese, Puglia
We’ve featured restaurants beneath waterfalls and on top of skyscrapers, but this niche al fresco spot is located at the opening of a cave in Puglia. The traditional eatery is part of Hotel Grotta Palazzese in Polignano a Mare: a town positioned on the the Adriatic Coast, at the back of the Italian boot’s heel. Even though a portion of the restaurant is covered, the terrace is where you should aim to sit – make sure you get there when there’s still some daylight left so you can marvel at the dramatic Italian coast.
Tali Wiru, Australia
Dinner in the desert has become a popular tourist activity in recent years, especially in places like Dubai and Oman, however the Ayers Rock Resort in Australia’s Red Centre serves a four-course dinner in a truly inimitable dusty setting – overlooking the magnificent and mystical monolith, Uluru. The menu reflects the national treasure status of the sandstone phenomenon, featuring native ingredients such as a wallaby, toothfish and local wine. Forget bush tucker trial – this is a bush tucker banquet!
Dinner in the Sky, Brussels
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If the thought of rollercoasters and fairground rides makes your stomach drop, then Dinner in the Sky probably isn’t for you. The concept originated in Belgium and consists of a table surrounded by seats for diners that is hoisted high into the air and suspended from a crane – in the middle of the table is a space for a chef to prepare meals. The novelty experience returns to its country of conception for a few dates this month after touring the world for several years, swinging above some iconic skylines and hosting some big name chefs.
Latitudes, Key West
Sunset Key is a short ferry ride further into the Gulf of Mexico from Key West, and as the name suggests, its setting provides picture-postcard views. Even if you’re not staying at Sunset Key Cottages, you can still dine al fresco at its famous Latitudes restaurant. The pace of life feels slower down here, where fresh lobster, citrussy cocktails and key lime pie can be found in abundance. You might even catch an Ernest Hemingway lookalike competition – we can see why the hedonistic author once made this part of the world his home.
It isn’t hard to find a picturesque place for dinner in Santorini, however we think we might have actually found the most spectacular. Lycabettus, part of the Andronis Exclusive hotel in Oia, isn’t easy to get to – but then again, the most exceptional sights usually aren’t! The restaurant is perched on top of a cliff overlooking the stunning Aegean Ocean. While sunsets here are breathtaking, lunchtimes can be equally impressive, and a fraction kinder on the wallet.
Soneva Kiri, Thailand
What could top a restaurant on the roof of a Bangkok skyscraper or a private dinner suspended from a crane? How about tea among the trees? The Soneva Kiri eco-resort on Koh Kood island in Thailand has made bamboo Treepods from which you can enjoy dinner or high tea served by a waiter on a zip line. The cosy cocoons are inspired by the nests of weaver birds, and they look out into the tropical landscape – through the jungle and over the ocean.
The Gritti Palace, Venice
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The Gritti Palace is one the floating city’s most famous hotels, but you don’t have to be a guest there to have a peek inside and appreciate its incredible position. You can grab a coffee or a bite to eat on The Gritti Terrace, which overlooks the Grand Canal and boasts unrivalled views of the Punta della Dogana and the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (not to mention the elegant gondolas that glide past). You’re still in Venice, so even a snack will be expensive – but we think it’s worth it for one of Italy’s best views and most beautiful settings.