When you’re vacationing near the sea, you seek out restaurants that overlook the water. In the mountains, the best spot for dinner is usually atop one of the highest peaks. So, where do urban warriors go when they want to take in the city’s best view while they’re dining?
Up to the roof.
We got out our map and set out to find the best rooftop spots on every continent — all right, every inhabitable continent (sorry, Antarctica). In our search, we found places that serve panoramic views that are as delicious as the food and the cocktails. Cheers.
Every night after sundown, flickering white candles illuminate the bougainvillea, jasmine, and olive and palmyra trees scattered throughout Les Jardins de Bala, a rooftop restaurant on the fourth floor of Les Jardins de la Koutoubia hotel. A thirteenth-century riad (a traditional Moroccan home with a garden inside) in the heart of the medina, the restaurant has a spectacular view, with Koutoubia, Marrakech’s oldest mosque, on one side of the hotel and Djemaa El F’Na square, the heart of the market, on the other. The calls of the muezzin fill the skies five times a day, and on Friday nights, old men sing from nearby rooftops, sounding much like the late Punjabi musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. All of that is in addition to the Indian- and Asian-inspired menu, which features dishes like chicken tikka masala, tandoori prawns, samosas, lamb shish kebab, chicken satay, and Malaysian calamari. For more information: www.lesjardinsdelakoutoubia.com
Vertigo Grill & Moon Bar, named after the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, will give diners an adrenaline rush. Perched atop the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel and with low walls, multiple platforms, and lots of stainless steel, the restaurant has an altogether avant-garde aesthetic. And with its panoramic view of the Thai capital, it’s not for those who are squeamish about heights. At night, when the sky goes dark and Vertigo comes alive, the Grand Palace, the Royal Chapel, the Chao Phraya River, the Wat Pho Temple, and the Emerald Buddha glitter below. The restaurant has a dining courtyard, a private lounge, and the Moon Bar, which serves more than a dozen kinds of champagne. Because it is a favorite of the fashionable crowd — and holds only 100 people, with no waiting room — reservations are a must. Book early or you might miss out on the foie gras sampler, the grilled sea bass with citrus salsa and cilantro, or the cardamom-scented oven-roasted rack of lamb. Who knew a former helipad could be so cool? For more information: www.banyantree.com