The sky's the limit at 14 rooftop restaurants where dazzling views are always on the menu
On the top floor of Paris's famous glass-and-steel museum, the restaurant Georges attracts chic Parisians and tourists alike, who come for both the panoramic views and pitch-perfect European fusion cuisine. Designed by architects Dominique Jakob and Brendan MacFarlane, the restaurant has a spare, cutting-edge interior to complement the museum's industrial look. But the real draw is the dramatic floor-to-ceiling window, through which one can gaze at the city's celebrated monuments, including the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Santé!
At Place Georges Pompidou. Call 011-33-1-44-78-47-99. .
Talk about an apt name: This 61st-story alfresco restaurant atop the Banyan Tree Bangkok hotel is the very definition of sky-high dining. If you're not afraid of heights, enjoy the Continental cuisine (roasted rack of lamb, cheesecake with carrot sherbet) and, of course, the dramatic views of Bangkok's bustling streets far, far below.
At 21/100 S. Sathon Rd. Call 011-66-2-679-1200; .
Perched more than 1,000 feet above the ground, this glass space, designed by , offers sparkling views of New Zealand's dramatic landscape, including the Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu. Three tiered levels guarantee that everyone gets a good seat while dining on local specialties such as South Island salmon. And getting there is half the fun: Diners arrive via gondola from central Queenstown.
At Brecon St. Call 011-64-3-441-0101; .
At GB Roof Garden in the Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens, every meal is served with a dollop of ancient history. From the terrace there's a clear view of the Acropolis on one side, and the original site of the first Olympic Games, Kalimarmaro Stadium, on the other—all had while sampling an array of Mediterranean specialties, such as risotto fumé with smoked mozzarella and lemon.
At Constitution Sq. Call 011-30-210-333-0000;
Boston landmarks—Hancock Tower, Fenway Park—are on the menu at this elegantly appointed dining room on the 52nd story of the Prudential Center, as are New England classics such as clam chowder and stuffed lobsters.
At 800 Boylston St. Call 617-536-1775;
The ground floor of Manhattan's Ink48 hotel houses an urbane restaurant called Print, serving farm-to-table fare. The top floor features the über-cool Press Lounge, with a glass-enclosed bar, an outdoor pool, and unobstructed views of the Hudson River—it's been drawing a fashionable crowd since the rooftop hot spot opened this spring.
At 653 11th Avenue. Call 212-757-2224; .
This sleek Asian restaurant is situated on the 15th story of the Nines hotel near Portland's Pioneer Square. Designed by Jeff Kovel of , the clean-lined dining room has a pale palette—all the better to focus on the great outdoors, with views of Mount St. Helens, the Willamette River, and hip downtown Portland.
At 525 SW Morrison St. Call 503-802-5370; .
Soaring 96 stories high, the Signature Lounge feels like you're in a private jet hovering over the Windy City's jagged skyline. It's an ideal spot for savoring a cocktail before heading to the Signature Room restaurant one floor below.
At 875 N. Michigan Ave. Call 312-787-9596; .
designed this posh restaurant on the third floor of London's National Portrait Gallery. A vast wall of windows acts as a clear canvas for taking in London's impeccable landscape.
At St. Martin's Place. Call 011-44-20-7312-2490; .
First came the transformation of the marble-clad, nearly windowless Edward Durell Stone building on Columbus Circle into the Museum of Arts and Design, back in 2008. Now, like icing on the cake, there's the Robert, a mod restaurant located on the top floor of the museum. Orange Lucite light boxes, designed by one of the restaurant's architects, Johanna Grawunder, cast a golden glow in the dining room, but it's all about those huge windows and the sweeping views of Central Park in all its glory.
At 2 Columbus Circle. Call 212-299-7730; .
French interior designer put his stylish stamp on the Kennedy Center's rooftop restaurant, imbuing the airy space with a glam Art Deco look. Floor-to-ceiling windows open onto the capital's notable landmarks, including the Lincoln Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. Inside, the menu is just as classic, with beef tenderloin and toffee pudding.
At 2700 F St. Call 202-416-8555; .
Break out the bubbly: The Penthouse, on the 18th floor of the Huntley Santa Monica Beach hotel, has the kind of swank, sexy setting that calls for Champagne. The luxe space is just as seductive as Southern California itself, with the Pacific Ocean and the Malibu Mountains beyond.
At 1111 Second St. Call 310-394-5454; .
There may be no better place in all of Manhattan to sip a glass alfresco than on the rooftop of Metropolitan Museum of Art, overlooking Central Park. This summer the museum is showcasing an intriguing sculpture on the roof: Big Bambú, a veritable forest of interlocking bamboo poles created by twins .
At 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd St. Call 212-535-7710; .
This D.C. lounge, ensconced on the top floor of the W hotel, is wild at heart, with its vivid palette, zebra-stripe barstools, and candy-red tufted sofas. It's your patriotic duty, though, to look past the tropical-inspired interior and out the 12-foot-high windows to gaze at the all-American beauty of the White House and the Washington Monument.
At 515 15th St. NW. Call 202-661-2478; .