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8 U.S. Restaurants with Unbeatable Views

March 21, 2019

When it comes to choosing a restaurant, you’re likely to make your decision based on the obvious factors—food, service, ambiance, etc. But for a few special eateries scattered across the United States, all of these features take a backseat to what’s outside the dining room. If you’re planning a trip to any of the destinations below, consider sitting down for a meal at one of these eight restaurants, which offer up views of spectacular scenery from coast to coast. No matter what you order, make sure to request a table near the window!

The Rim At Volcano House

Hawaii National Park, Hawaii

When it comes to scoring the hottest table in town, it doesn’t get much hotter than a view of an active volcanic crater. That’s exactly what you’ll see when you book a table at The Rim, located inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. The restaurant is part of the historic Volcano House hotel (the oldest in Hawaii), which has welcomed famous sightseers including Mark Twain, Jack London, and FDR since its opening in 1877. Enjoy Hawaiian dishes and tiki-inspired cocktails as you look out over the Kilauea caldera and Halema’uma’u Crater from the dining room’s panoramic windows. The view is especially striking at night, when the volcanic features cast a red glow into the darkness.

Dining room and view at The Rim at the Volcanic House
The dining room and view at The Rim. Photo credit: The Rim

The Loeb Boathouse

Central Park, New York

It’s hard to choose just one restaurant with an amazing view in New York (in fact, we have two on this list!), but when it comes to a quintessential perspective of NYC, it’s impossible to beat The Loeb Boathouse. Situated directly on the lake at the middle of Central Park, this restaurant is great for people watching and taking in the city’s iconic skyline. Stop in for a summertime brunch on the terrace featuring classic American fare, then rent a rowboat or gondola and take a spin on the water.

The Loeb Boathouse Central Park in New York City
View of the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, New York. Photo credit: Maria Eklind / Flickr

The Mural Room at Jackson Lake Lodge

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park is home to some of America’s most stunning scenery, and Jackson Lake Lodge takes full advantage of that fact with its restaurant, The Mural Room. Here, the dining room is dominated by floor-to-ceiling windows that offer up unbroken views of the Teton Range. The view indoors isn’t so shabby either—the restaurant is home to a massive ten-paneled mural by artist Carl Roters. The menu is diverse, but we recommend getting a taste of the West with locally raised beef and wild game, served with bread from the in-house bakery.

The Mural Room and view of Grand Teton National Park Jackson Wyoming
The dining room and view at The Mural Room. Photo credit: The Mural Room At Jackson Lodge

Bite into Maine

Cape Elizabeth, Maine

The Atlantic coast serves as your dining room when you stop in for a lobster roll at Bite into Maine, the award-winning food truck that sets up shop in Maine’s Fort Williams Park each summer. Grab a traditional lobster roll (Maine-style with mayo and chives), or dig into other fresh seafood options like lobster grilled cheese and clam chowder. Once your food is ready, enjoy the view of the historic Portland Head Light and Casco Bay beyond. (The food truck is only open during the summer months, but Bite into Maine also operates two inland locations, if you need your lobster fix during the off season).

Lighthouse on a jetty in Cape Elizabeth Maine
The Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth. Photo credit: Mandy Liu / Unsplash

Sunset Terrace at Omni Grove Park Inn

Asheville, NC

Thanks to its spectacular setting in the Smoky Mountains and a burgeoning food scene, Asheville has become a sleeper hit for weekend getaways in recent years. There’s no better place to take in the town’s gorgeous scenery than the Sunset Terrace at the Omni Grove Park Inn, located just outside the city center. True to its name, this outdoor dining space is spectacular at sunset, when the sun slips below the softly rolling mountains in the distance. Once you’ve enjoyed the show, order up classic steakhouse fare and cocktails to complete a relaxing evening.

Sunset Terrace at Omni Grove Park Inn
Dining room and view at The Sunset Terrace restaurant. Photo credit: Omni Hotels 

The Marine Room

La Jolla, California

Get up close and personal with the Pacific Ocean at The Marine Room, which has been a San Diego destination since opening in 1941. The restaurant has earned accolades for its upscale, French-inspired fare (focused heavily on fresh, local seafood), but its real claim to fame is its location. The window-lined dining room is at eye level with the ocean, meaning the waves of La Jolla Cove crash directly into the glass at high tide. (The views of sunset over the Pacific are also showstopping.) This dining experience may not be for the faint of heart, but it’s certainly one-of-a-kind.

The Marine Room in La Jolla California
Dining room and view of The Marine Room restaurant. Photo credit: The Marine Room

Grand Banks

Manhattan, New York

Not only are the surroundings spectacular at this seasonal spot in Manhattan, the location of the restaurant itself is unlike any other. Grand Banks is anchored in the Hudson River, serving up seafood on a historic wooden schooner called the Sherman Zwicker. Climb aboard during the warmer months for sustainably raised oysters, nautical cocktails, and plates featuring seasonal catches. While you’re on deck, enjoy views of the Manhattan skyline, New York Harbor, and Hudson waterfront. On a warm summer night, it’s an unbeatable location for happy hour.

Hudson river Grand Banks restaurant boat cruise
The historic wooden schooner, Sherman Zwicker, on the Hudson River. Photo credit: Grand Banks

Top of the Notch

Los Angeles, California

Located atop Mount Baldy, the highest peak in Los Angeles County, Top of the Notch is a casual joint with a seriously impressive view. The restaurant is 7,300 feet above sea level, and commands fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. Stop off as part of a day hike (here are some tips for planning a trip), or hop on a ski lift for an easy ride up to lunch. Once you’ve reached the restaurant, you’ll enjoy classic comfort food at reasonable prices—think bacon and egg breakfasts and a wide array of salads and sandwiches for lunch. P.S. Top of the Notch is only open Friday through Sunday, so plan your visit accordingly.

View from Top of the Notch in Los Angeles California
Top of the Notch restaurant and views of Mount Baldy. Photo credits: Doc Searls / Flickr
Which of these restaurants has climbed to the top of your must-visit list? Wherever you're headed, take along a pair of sunglasses to make sure you can enjoy the view...

Written by Caroline Lees for Knockaround.

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