THE EYES HAVE IT
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.
ALABAMA: TIP TOP GRILL
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.
ALASKA: TIMBERLINE BAR AND GRILL
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.
ARIZONA: DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW
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.
ARKANSAS: THE SKYCREST RESTAURANT
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.
CALIFORNIA: GEORGE'S AT THE COVE'S OCEAN TERRACE
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.
COLORADO: MOUNTAIN VIEW RESTAURANT
The name of the Mountain View Restaurant says it all. The impressive Front Range of the Rocky Mountains provides the backdrop while you gobble up breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, all of which are served daily inside the Cheyenne Mountain Resort.
CONNECTICUT: MILLWRIGHT'S RESTAURANT
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.
DELAWARE: CATCH 54
Catch 54 prides itself on coastal cuisine that is simple but elegant -- and the same could be said about the views. Perched right on a bay, Catch 54 offers diners expansive views of the area between Assawoman Bay and Little Assawoman Bay.
FLORIDA: BANANA BOAT
Locals have been flocking to the Banana Boat since 1978. The place sits right alongside the Intracoastal Waterway, and if you eat there, you'll have views of not just the waterway, but also of the endless parade of boats that use it as a highway all day long.
GEORGIA: SUN DIAL RESTAURANT
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.
IDAHO: ELEVATION 486
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.
ILLINOIS: IO GODFREY
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.
INDIANA: RIVERWATCH FLOATING RESTAURANT & BAR
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.
IOWA: CUB CLUB RESTAURANT
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.
KANSAS: TOP OF THE TOWER
Soaring views of downtown Topeka and the state's Capitol Building await at Top of the Tower. The lofty Northeast Kansas mainstay serves casual fare, like sandwiches and strips as well as upper-crust treats like ribeye and tenderloin.
KENTUCKY: ISLAND VIEW RESTAURANT
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.
LOUISIANA: LANDRY'S SEAFOOD HOUSE
MAINE: DIAMOND'S EDGE RESTAURANT
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.
MARYLAND: RIVER WATCH RESTAURANT
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."
MASSACHUSETTS: VENEZIA BOSTON
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.
MICHIGAN: BOATWERKS WATERFRONT RESTAURANT
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.
MINNESOTA: LOLA'S LAKEHOUSE
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.
MISSISSIPPI: AUNT JENNY'S CATFISH RESTAURANT
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.
MISSOURI: BAXTER'S LAKESIDE GRILLE
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.
MONTANA: SKYBAR AT CASEY'S
Head to Casey's and grab a Huckleberry margarita, which you can sip at the only rooftop bar and restaurant in the entire Flathead Valley. Casey's is bursting with live music, fire tables, and a weather-controlling shade system.
NEBRASKA: TREE TOPS RESTAURANT
It's not often you can eat overlooking a rainforest jungle teeming with white-handed gibbons -- particularly if you're at a restaurant in Omaha. But that's exactly what you'll get at Tree Tops Restaurant, which is located inside Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo.
NEVADA: TOP OF THE WORLD
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.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: GENO'S CHOWDER & SANDWICH SHOP
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.
NEW JERSEY: WATERSIDE
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.
NEW MEXICO: TERRA
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.
NEW YORK: ALMA
In praising the restaurant's off-the-beaten-path feel, Zagat referred to the Manhattan skyline views from the rooftop at Alma as "mind altering." Reviewers agree that even in a city packed with restaurants on top of skyscrapers, Alma stands out as among the best in New York.
NORTH CAROLINA: SUNSET TERRACE AT OMNI
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.
NORTH DAKOTA: THE VIEW
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.
OHIO: BAR 32
The draw of Bar 32 is right there in its name. Part of the Hilton Cleveland Downtown, Bar 32 soars 32 stories above the city. The venue's "high-style bar menu" is complemented by picturesque views of not just the city, but of mighty Lake Erie beyond.
OKLAHOMA: THE SUMMIT
The Summit promises that "the experience is as great as the view." That's a big statement, considering the fine-dining room is perched 30 stories in the air towering over Tulsa with endless views of the Osage Hills to the north and the Arkansas River to the west.
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.
PENNSYLVANIA: STONEY CREEK INN
With fine dining options both indoors and out, the Stoney Creek Inn is one of the few restaurants on this list where you can both see and hear the view. That's because you'll be dining right next to the roaring Stoney Creek waterfall.
RHODE ISLAND: THE LANDING
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.
SOUTH CAROLINA: HARBORVIEW RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE
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.
SOUTH DAKOTA: VERTEX SKY BAR
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.
TENNESSEE: THE LOOKOUT AT THE PYRAMID
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.
TEXAS: ABEL'S ON THE LAKE
Abel's on the Lake keeps things interesting with a 60-tap selection including 17 beers that are locally brewed. While you sip, you can stare through a wall off windows out onto scenic Austin Lake. The massive double deck outside isn't bad either.
UTAH: THE ROOF RESTAURANT
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.
VERMONT: LAKE MOREY RESORT
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.
VIRGINIA: THE LANDING RESTAURANT
Nearly every seat in the Landing Restaurant has waterfront views of Smith Mountain Lake. Inside you'll enjoy "modern French-American cuisine with a touch of Andean Nuevo influences" -- but outside it's 100 percent pristine Virginia wilderness.
WASHINGTON: RAY'S BOATHOUSE
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.
WEST VIRGINIA: SMOKEY'S STEAKHOUSE
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.
WISCONSIN: HARBOR HOUSE
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.
WYOMING: TRAIL SHOP INN & RESTAURANT
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.