Most of us normally consider two things when picking a restaurant. First, how good is the food? Second, how much does it cost? But sometimes setting is more important. Sometimes you want décor, ambience, or a sense of place to be what's memorable. And when it comes to the perfect setting during dinner, what's more awe-inspiring than a sunset?
Many people would think that the best restaurants in which to enjoy sunsets would be in tall buildings or on beaches. But there are dozens of restaurants around the country that offer amazing sunset views that rival any seen from rooftops or on pristine beachs. Some places are well-known restaurants like The Plantation House in Maui, while others, like The Oasis On Lake Travis in Austin, are local favorites. Either way, all the places on this list of the top 10 best restaurants for watching the sunset give diners the chance to see picturesque views of the setting sun while enjoying dinner.
The criteria for picking these restaurants was based on whether they were good places for their views. It was hard to choose a handful of restaurants with the best views, but you don't want to be like the mother who has a clear favorite but pretends to love all her children equally, so some difficult decisions had to be made.
-Naa Ako-Adjei, The Daily Meal
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When a place bills itself as the “Sunset Capital of Texas,” it better live up to the boast. The Oasis on Lake Travis does. It's located on a cliff 450 feet above Austin's Lake Travis, so customers get a masterful view. It also has the largest outside seating in Texas, so plenty of people can watch the sun going down while eating Tex-Mex and seafood. The view is so amazing, and such a draw that there's even an annual sunset photo contest. The menu? It's Texas, so there's queso, of course. Some other interesting apps include, "fireballs" (spicy chicken bites with jalapeño ranch), and seafood-stuffed avocado. Mains include enchiladas, chile rellenos, and again, of course, "sizzling" fajitas. Related: Pigging Out Texas-Style with Tim Love
Located in the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco in Nob Hill, Top of the Mark has an almost 360 degree-view of the city because it's on the hotel's 19th floor (with wraparound windows). Watch the sunset with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands. For $75 per person, the restaurant offers sunset dinners every Friday and Saturday. It’s $20 more for a wine pairing. You can also enjoy the sunset while drinking one of their famous martinis (they have more than 100) in the sky lounge. Some history — Top of the Mark opened in 1939, and according to its site, during World War II, servicemen would left a bottle with the bartender so the next soldier from their squadron could have a free drink, the only requirement being whoever had the last sip would buy the next bottle. Also, soldiers gathered before shipping out for a last toast to the bridge, believing it was good luck and would bring them home. As they sailed off under it, lovers would draw together in the lounge’s northwest corner, tearfully gazing out — thus the name, the 'Weepers’ Corner.' Related: 5 Great Date Night Spots in San Francisco
It isn’t surprising that The Plantation House Restaurant on the island of Maui has been named the restaurant with the “Best Ambience” by Maui News readers three times. Diners have a panoramic view of the North-side of Maui, and the islands of Lanai and Molokai, and there are stunning sunsets over the Pacific. The restaurant serves “Hawaiian-Mediterranean” food like pistachio-crusted Hawaiian catch with Mediterranean couscous. Related: The 50 Best Restaurants in the World--Really?
Upstairs at George’s At The Cove is Ocean Terrace, the perfect place to watch the sun fade into the San Diego coastline. As if watching the sun set against the backdrop of the Pacific isn’t great enough, you can sometimes see dolphins, seals, and migrating whales from January to March. The causal bistro, run by the well-regarded chef, Trey Foshee, offers diners dishes like Pacific yellowtail with potato gnocchi and pancetta to while enjoying the view. Related: 10 Perfect Bike Tours for Gastronomes
Located in downtown Seattle in the famed Pike’s Place Market, Maximilien is arguably the city's best restaurant to watch the sunset. Large windows give diners views of the sun setting over the Puget Sound, Elliot Bay, and the Olympic Mountains from almost any seat in the house while enjoying classic French dishes like duck confit with potato gratin. Related: Food Nerd Day Trips From Seattle
Southern Florida has its fair share of waterfront restaurants with good views, but we think that The Turtle Club Restaurant at Vanderbilt Beach in Naples, Florida is the best in the area. After a long day of sunbathing, kayaking, and fishing, sit back, relax, take off your shoes (don’t worry you’re encouraged to do so) and watch the sun disappear from the horizon at an outdoor table on the beach. The restaurant is located on the grounds of Vanderbilt Beach Resort and specializes in seafood, but also has steak and pork chops for discerning carnivores. There's a well-regarded wine list on the "off-chance" you want to drink while dining al fresco. Related: Best Seafood Restaurants in America
The Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa in Asheville, N.C., is great for golfing and pampering yourself, but the best part about visiting is the chance to watch the sunset near the Blue Ridge Mountains while eating at the Sunset Terrace, just off the Main Inn. Sit outside and watch sunsets so stunning, you might forget all about the food at this classic steak and seafood restaurant. Related: 10 Delicious Foodie Walking Tours
Designed so that their diners can get a 360 degree-view of the beautiful Chicago skyline, The Signature Room at the 95th is located in the John Hancock Center, which is in the heart of the city. Consider eating at The Signature Room to watch the sunset instead of going to more obvious places like the Sears Tower. Try to get a window seat so you can get a great view of the horizon as its vibrant colors explode at dusk. The restaurant focuses on seafood and steak, but the real deal? The beauty of the sky. Related: 10 Toughest Tables: Chicago
It is easy to see why Sundowners was called, “the best place to watch the sunset in the Upper Keys,” by the Miami Herald. Sundowners is so famous for its view of sunsets that the sign outside the restaurant lists sunsets before it mentions that it serves sandwiches, steaks, and seafood. Grab a seat outside, order some of the restaurant’s conch fritters, and watch as the bright orange sun slides into the beautiful blue waters. Related: Best of Miami
Sauciety (yes, that’s really its name) at The Westin Washington National Harbor is one of the best restaurants to watch a sunset in the country. It's located on the Washington National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., overlooks the Potomac River, and boasts a panoramic view of the harbor thanks to huge windows directly facing the water. You also get an unparalleled view of Washington D.C. The restaurant bills itself as an American grill and encourages its diners to try its sauces, dips, and chutneys. Related: Not for Toursits' 5 Bites of Washington, D.C.
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