VACATION IDEAS

12 Restaurants With Spectacular Views

Sightseeing doesn’t have to come to a halt just because you’re hungry. Pull up a seat, sit back, and feast your eyes on the wonders of the world in BT's favorite dining rooms with a view.

CALIFORNIA, U.S.
The most scenic coastline in America.
America's most scenic route presents mile after mile of picturesque vistas—for everyone but the driver, who's focused on navigating the Pacific Coast Highway's notoriously twisty path. The perfect reward for playing chauffeur? A seat on the oceanfront patio at Rocky Point Restaurant, roughly halfway between Big Sur and Carmel. From any of the 15 casual, wooden outdoor tables, guests can soak up views of coastal mountains and rock-strewn shoreline—and, if they're lucky, spot dolphins, sea lions, otters, and whales in the waters beyond. Hearty dishes such as prime rib, New York strip, and swordfish steak—all cooked over a mesquite-fired grill—provide suitable fuel for the next leg of the journey.
Best Deal The four-course early-bird special costs less than most dinner entrées and will keep you in your seat through sunset ($22). Served Sun.–Fri., 5–6 p.m. 36700 Hwy. 1, Carmel, Calif., 831/624-2933, rocky-point.com, entrées from $24.

NEW YORK, U.S.
America's most celebrated skyline.
It's a fact: Searching out the most expansive views of the Manhattan skyline requires leaving the island itself—which the devoted clientele of Alma, a three-level Brooklyn dining institution, have been doing since the restaurant opened in 2002. Seeing the Statue of Liberty, too? That's just a bonus. Regulars know to show up early—in the spring and summer there's a no-reservations policy for the 50-seat rooftop garden. Standouts on the nouvelle Mexican menu include a pork-stuffed chile relleno and tangy chilaquiles in tomato sauce, both of which are also available in the main, second-floor dining room—sans the view.
Best Deal Arguably, the sights are best seen in daylight—which works for your wallet, too. The average brunch dish (say, a pollo adasa torta with roasted tomatoes and greens) costs half as much as comparable dinner options ($8.50). 187 Columbia St., Brooklyn, N.Y., 718/643-5400, almarestaurant.com, entrées from $16.

UTAH, U.S.
Iconic buttes and majestic spires.
"Monument Valley is the place where God put the West," remarked John Wayne, who helped put the valley on moviegoers' maps by filming Stagecoach there in 1938. Seventy-plus years later, the landscape is just as cinematic, as the folks behind the 95-room View Hotel well know. The on-site restaurant takes full advantage of its location amid the valley's majestic spires: A large bay window overlooks East and West Mitten Buttes, so named for their resemblance to the woolly hand warmers, and natural light floods the space all day. Ambitious early birds can watch the sunrise from one of the few tables lined up along the window (the restaurant opens at 7 a.m.). But arriving later has its benefits, too—like tasting Chef MacNeal Crank's updated takes on his grandmother's traditional Navajo recipes, such as fry-bread tacos or red chile posole, rich with buttery hominy.
Best Deal The all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet ($6). Monument Valley Tribal Park, U.S. Hwy. 160 and 163, Monument Valley, Utah, 435/727-5555, monumentvalleyview.com, entrées from $12.

ST. LUCIA, WEST INDIES
Tropical treasure from the heart of a chocolate plantation.
Calling all chocolate lovers: Boucan Restaurant might just be your dream come true. Every last item on the menu incorporates some form of cocoa, from a green salad tossed in white chocolate dressing to sautéed prawns with chocolate tapenade and, of course, desserts: a chocolate tart, cacao crème brûlée, and espresso-and-dark-chocolate mousse, to name a few. It's a fitting theme for the brainchild of two British chocolatiers who opened the restaurant (along with the 14-room Hotel Chocolat) in February 2011 on the site of St. Lucia's oldest cocoa plantation, established in 1745. Even dreamier than the indulgent dishes? The jungle-draped views of the Piton Mountains, lush, twin-peaked mountains that rise almost 2,600 feet above sea level on the volcanic island's southern coast.
Best Deal Every dinner reservation from now until December 1, 2011, comes with a complimentary cocktail from a menu that includes chocolate daiquiris, cacao Bellinis, and cacao-pulp martinis (a $10 value). Hotel Chocolat, Rabot Estate, Soufrière, St. Lucia, West Indies, 011-758/457-1624, thehotelchocolat.com, entrées from $15.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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