The best restaurants keep regulars coming back for the ambience and atmosphere as much as for the food -- and nothing says ambience like a stellar view. Every state in the country is home to restaurants surrounded by stunning scenery that lets you feast with your eyes as much as your taste buds. These 50 restaurants are worth visiting for what you'll see as much as for what you'll eat.
Birmingham Magazine raves about the stunning mountain views that diners enjoy at the Tip Top Grill. The outdoor tables tower high over the region's wilderness. In fact, the restaurant sits higher than virtually any other eatery in the Birmingham area. Oh, and the burgers and dogs are amazing, too.
The Timberline Bar and Grill serves authentic Alaskan cuisine from both the land and sea. Crack open some Dungeness crabs or bite into smoky bison or reindeer sausage. But no matter what you order, your dinner will be served with a side order of the best views in Juneau. From 1,800 feet above the world's most rugged wilderness, you'll gaze down upon the city, the rainforest, an alpine meadow and Mount Juneau.
Head to Phoenix to dine in style while basking in sky-high panoramic views of the city's twinkling skyline -- and the endless desert beyond. That's what you'll get at Different Pointe of View in the Pointe Hilton. The view from the restaurant's floor-to-ceiling windows is especially striking at sunset.
Classic Southern cuisine is the name of the game at Skycrest. Rustic furniture and massive interior timbers add to the ambiance that exudes out of the mountain lodge, which sits 2,753 feet above the Petit Jean River Valley and, in the distance, Blue Mountain Lake -- all of which is yours to drink in while you eat.
The Ocean Terrace at George’s At the Cove is everything eating outdoors in San Diego should be. SoCal cuisine is served on an elevated bar overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean. There's even an extended "ocean view bar" to enhance the already jaw-dropping views.
Millwright's Restaurant, as the name implies, was actually a mill and has a history dating all the way back to 1679. Now, it's a modern restaurant that serves chic cuisine, but the rustic charm remains -- as does the spectacular view of the surrounding landscape, waterfall and all.
The Sun Dial Restaurant Bar and View takes its name seriously. Perched atop the cylindrical Westin Peachtree Plaza tower, the Sun Dial offers 360-degree views that are unrivaled in Atlanta. If you don't feel like getting up to check out the views on the other side, don't worry -- the views will come to you. The restaurant itself actually rotates so you'll have the best view no matter where you sit 71 stories above the city.
Elevation 486 has received both local and national recognition for its menu, but one thing no reviewer can seem to leave out of their critiques is the sheer beauty of the view. The Snake River winds into the canyon that bears its name under the Perrine Bridge, all of which is backdropped by the Magic Valley. When you dine at Elevation 486, you have boundless panoramic views of it all.
IO Godfrey boasts the largest indoor/outdoor lounge in the city of Chicago. A retractable roof and two-level fire pit make it an all-year escape for diners in search of the ultimate view. The fourth-floor lounge certainly isn't the highest point in the Windy City, but the views it provides can compete with any of the building's bigger cousins.
The views are so stunning at RiverWatch that you might just forget you're eating in a floating restaurant on the Ohio River. Located in the far southeast corner of the Hoosier State, RiverWatch works hard to give off a Key West vibe in the heart of the Midwest, and if you're not careful, you might just mistake the Ohio River for the Gulf of Mexico.
If you're a "Field of Dreams" fan, Iowa probably makes you think of baseball. If that's the case, head to the Cub Club, which overlooks the outfield at Principal Park in Des Moines, the home of the Iowa Cubs, an affiliate of the Chicago MLB team of the same name. No spot in Iowa competes with the view -- unless you pay for a ticket to the game.
Three of the four walls at Island View Restaurant are made of glass. On the other side of that glass are stunning views of Dale Hollow Lake and its many islands. The adjoining Dale Hollow Golf Course often appears in "Kentucky's best" top 10 lists for its level of play, but also for its powerful natural beauty.
Both locals and tourists alike flock to Diamond's Edge for the classic fine island dining -- but they also come for the view. A short boat ride away from the bustling Old Port district in Portland sits what was formerly an artists' retreat that continues to stoke creative thinking with stunning views of Diamond Cove, Casco Bay, and Great Diamond Island.
The views that greet diners at River Watch Restaurant include not just the marina, but all of its surrounding waterways, including the beautiful Middle River and Hopkins Creek. River Watch is as confident in their food as they are in their scenery -- the restaurant's slogan is "where the food is better than the view all year long."
The Venezia is in Boston, but it makes city dwellers feel like they're a million miles away. The restaurant describes its boundless Boston Harbor views as "breathtaking" -- and a visit there proves they're not exaggerating. The atmosphere and the food combined have earned Venezia a spot on countless New England "best of" lists.
Perched on the shores of Lake Macatawa, Boatwerks is a casual dining staple in the city of Holland. The dining room itself was recently upgraded with massive windows on the north wall and glass walls along the boardwalk, which open the stunning lake views to indoor diners. Want to get a closer look? There's also an outdoor patio and deck.
In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, there's no shortage of awesome waterfront dining options. Lola's Lakehouse not only offers picturesque views of Lake Waconia, but also the yesteryear, Cape Cod-esque surrounding landscape, complete with split-rail fences, red barns, and docking boats.
All-you-can-eat family-style catfish, chicken, and shrimp are served in massive portions at Aunt Jenny's. The real draw, however, is the scenery. Indulge in classic Delta cuisine while relaxing on the mouth of the Biloxi Bay surrounded by oak trees that have been growing there for half a millennium.
The Lake of the Ozarks is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and at Baxter's, you can take in some of the most spectacular views in the entire region. While you're there, enjoy authentic Midwestern cuisine in one of the country's greatest and most underrated tourist destinations.
Don't go to Vegas, go above it. At Top of the World at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, customers enjoy some of the highest-end fine dining in the city while sitting 800 feet above the Las Vegas Strip. Just in case you don't feel like moving to take in the unobstructed 360-degree views, the restaurant rotates every 80 minutes.
Family-owned for more than half a century, Geno's has won more chowder- and lobster-related awards than it can list -- and that's saying a lot considering it's located in Portsmouth, the heart of the New England seafood Mecca. Then there's the view. Located on the Piscataqua River, Geno's has been the subject of countless paintings and postcards -- stop in and you'll find out why.
What a lot of people don't know is that the best views of New York City aren't found in New York City -- they're found across the river in New Jersey. Among the best in the state can be found at Waterside, where an internationally acclaimed chef serves up high-end cuisine to match the towering views of the Manhattan skyline.
Executive chef Kai Autenrieth is the mind behind Terra, where classic Southwestern fare is infused into cuisine that originates from destinations around the world. You'll also enjoy The Bar, where both indoor and terrace seating provides magnificent views of the surrounding New Mexico mountains and valleys.
Locally sourced ingredients, hand-cut steaks and chops have earned rave reviews for the Omni Hotel's Sunset Terrace. The views, however, keep the locals coming back. Even for people who live in Asheville, the soaring Blue Ridge Mountain views at Sunset Terrace are awe-inspiring.
The town of St. Michael borders Devils Lake. On the shore of the lake is The View, which is aptly named. The house restaurant of Spirit Lake Casino and Resort, the View is known for its porterhouse steak specials -- as well as towering windows that connect its customers to scenic lake and natural beauty beyond.
Since as early as the mid-1960s, both locals and tourists alike have known Riverside as the only waterfront dining option on the entire Hood River. The ingredients used to make the restaurant's Italian fare changes every month, but the panoramic views of Columbia River never do.
Few seafood towns in America are more authentic than Newport. That's where you'll find The Landing. In the heart of the city's downtown, The Landing whips up some of the freshest seafood on Earth. Between courses, you won't have to do much except look East for captivating views of historic Bowen's Wharf.
Both the Ashley River and the Charleston skyline serve as eye candy for anyone who wanders into Harborview Restaurant and Lounge. Whether you're there for a sunrise breakfast or dinner at sunset, you can watch the yachts sail by until you've had your fill of the lounge's genuine Southern cuisine.
Vertex Sky Bar absorbs the art deco style of the Hotel Alex Johnson whose 10th and 11th floors it occupies. With no views quite like it in Rapid City, the steel deck is dotted with fire pits and equipped with standing binoculars, which visitors can use to see all the way to the Black Hills, Dinosaur Hill, the southern buttes, and the eastern prairie.
Just getting to the Lookout at the Pyramid is interesting -- it requires riding on the world's tallest free-standing elevator to the top of the Memphis Pyramid. The restaurant's steampunk decor is complemented by a massive indoor aquarium, all of which is bordered by unobstructed, 360-degree views of Memphis below.
Salt Lake City
Located on the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, guests at the Roof Restaurant enjoy stellar views of downtown Salt Lake City's Temple Square backdropped by the rugged mountains in the distance. Not convinced? Check out the restaurant's impressive virtual tour listed on its homepage before you make a reservation.
The Lakeside Dining Room at Lake Morey Resort is exactly what it claims to be -- lakeside. If you choose to eat at the country club, you'll dine overlooking the 10th tee of one of the state's premier golf courses. If you choose the Lakeside Dining Room, however, you'll enjoy lake views that can compete with any other in Vermont.
Seattle has no shortage of restaurants with postcard views -- but Ray's Boathouse just might top them all. Situated on the edge of the water, the wall of windows that perimeters the restaurant gives diners blazing panoramic views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.
The New River Gorge is one of the most awe-inspiring natural landscapes in the world -- and Smokey's Steakhouse is perched in the center of its rim. Big portions are served to diners who can't fully concentrate on their food thanks to sprawling views of the endless Appalachian Mountains.
The Harbor House claims "Milwaukee's best view" -- and they've got good reason to brag. Customers gobble up the restaurant's trademark fresh seafood on the bank of Lake Michigan, which stretches to the horizon -- but the real view faces inland toward the Milwaukee skyline.
Originally founded as a stagecoach shop, every inch of the Wapiti landscape surrounding the Trail Shop Inn & Restaurant just oozes Wyoming's Western mystique. Whether you're inside looking out through the restaurant's massive windows or sitting outside on the log deck, the surrounding mountains will be your dinner guests.