Sometimes you want to enjoy the city you are in, you want a good meal, but you don’t want to get out of your hotel. In this edition we profile some rooftop restaurants with haute cuisine housed in luxury hotels, so bed is a mere elevator ride away.
1. Los Angeles, La Boucherie, InterContinental Downtown
Eater says, “The upscale French steakhouse will be a moody spot for steaks, seafood, and evening rendezvous. A wine room will offer 1,200 bottles, and there will be lots of hidden nooks and private dining spaces for VIP types.” Booths look out via floor-to-ceiling that offer panoramic views of the Los Angeles skyline from the 71st floor. Boucherie’s menu features reimagined French classics; premium steaks and seafood, all created with the finest ingredients from around the world. The dining experience is enhanced by a cheese atelier, charcuterie cave and an extensive, carefully curated wine list featuring up to 1,200 hand-selected international and American wines.
2. New York, Asiate, Mandarin Oriental
Travel + Leisure says, “The 16-foot-high windows in this Mandarin Oriental Hotel’s restaurant, Asiate, offer views of Midtown Manhattan’s sleek vertical marvels and the leafy urban oasis of Central Park. From the elegant 35th-floor dining room, the buzz of the city recedes, leaving a glittering metropolis.” Chef Toni Robertson “mixes Asian flavors and classical French training to the menu,” according to the travel magazine. Entrees include Atlantic halibut with shishito pepper and citrus sabayon, as well as Long Island duck with summer berries and hibiscus.
3. Hong Kong, Felix, The Peninsula
Another pick from T+L we also like is Felix, on the 28th floor of the Peninsula Hotel, with its Kowloon location providing unobstructed views across the bustling harbor to Hong Kong Island skyscrapers and twinkling lights in the distance on The Peak. Set in a Philippe Starck design, there are floor-to-ceiling windows while modern fine dining includes offerings like crab salad and tuna tartar with dandelion salad, slow-cooked sea bass with black shrimp mousse, and grilled Australian lamb. If you are there a 8 p.m. you can have a front row seat for a nightly laser and light show. The name honors the hotel’s former general manager Felix Bieger.
4. Hong Kong, Pierre, Mandarin Oriental
It’s not fake news when CNN Travel picks the two-Michelin starred Pierre for one of its top restaurants. We’ve dined there and agree it’s the real deal. Pierre Gagnaire’s 25th floor perspective is a backdrop for his modern French cuisine. The location is amid Hong Kong island’s towering skyscrapers and high enough to get that dining in the sky perspective, but still close enough that you can watch locals scurry along the streets below.
5. London, Aqua Shard, Shangri-la
Aqua Shard is not actually part of the Shangri-la hotel, but it is in the same building, thus it makes our list. Located the 31st floor, the restaurant serves innovative contemporary British cuisine paired with spectacular London views. Gayot writes, “Aqua Shard offers views over London from the 31st floor of Europe’s highest building, and an interior done in a purple and grey color scheme with comfortable banquettes covered with Liberty print. Add to all this dishes using seasonal local ingredients and a dash of exotic flavors and you have a winner. Potted rabbit comes with baby vegetable pickles and rosemary toast; roast halibut is accompanied by charred onion, confit orange peel and nasturtium leaves with a passion fruit and honey dressing adding a sweet note. Or go for roasted Cornish lamb loin with carrots, mint yogurt and puffed rice. Desserts range from salted caramel chocolate mousse with crispy Mandarin to poached pear with honey sponge and ricotta, and there’s a good selection of British cheeses as well.”
6. Tokyo, Peter, The Peninsula
In Tokyo, Peter offers the Tokyo skyline and views of the Imperial Palace Gardens and Hibiya Park from its 24th floor venue. Grilled fare includes premium cuts of meat and fresh seafood including 40-day Japanese dry-aged strip loin or Kagoshima pork Kurobuta, grilled Hokkaido scallops. Japan Today puts it this way: “Peter is a great choice when you want a refined but casual dinner with the best of good honest food (especially a really good steak) in a fun and stylish place. The bar is worth having a drink at before dinner, or why not stick around afterwards and enjoy the scene and some of their famous cocktails. If you happen to be in the mood for a feast on Sunday, try their Prime-cut Sunday Brunch.” By the way, Peter refers to the current president of the Peninsula Hotels group Peter Borer.
7. Tokyo, Kozue, Park Hyatt
Movie buffs will remember Park Hyatt Tokyo’s bar from “Lost in Translation” however, its fine-dining Japanese restaurant Kozue shares those famous views, to Mount Fuji by day with the endless city in front of you. The Guardian lists it as one of the 10 best fine dining restaurants in a city that has more Michelin stars than any in the world. A Life Worth Eating reports, “Traditional amber wood and handmade pottery carried by waitresses in kimonos contrast against floor-to-ceiling windows and granite slabs overlooking one of the most impressive restaurant views in the city. Such an explicit juxtaposition of the traditional with the modern — two concepts whose constant interplay largely defines Japanese culture — contributes to Kozue’s uniqueness. The dishes themselves are very traditional in flavor — there are no “twists” — but their presentation and the finesse with which the waitresses explain their components make this type of cuisine extremely accessible to westerners. Signature dishes include wagyu beef tenderloin.There’s also an extensive sake list.
8. Singapore, Spago Dining Room, Marina Bay Sands
I’ve always liked Wolfgang Puck, not just for his innovative cuisine, but from my time living in Los Angeles in the ‘90s how he would always come out and mix in the dining room. It wasn’t just a token hello, but he actually took the time for a bit of conversation. Silver Kris says, “Looking through the large windows at Spago’s bar terrace (above) with the pool and palm trees beyond, it’s easy to imagine I’m having drinks and bar bites in a open-air cabana by the beach – instead of 57 stories above the city by Marina Bay Sand’s famous infinity pool. The sophisticated colonial decor continues over to the more formal air-conditioned fine dining area (below) with its glamorous gold tiled ceiling. The white French doors around the dining room show off the views of the bay.” Puck displays his extensive range with dishes such as sesame miso cones (above) of spicy-sweet big eye tuna tartare with shaved bonito, scallions and masago to hand cut agnolotti with white corn and mascarpone. If Puck is in Singapore when you are there, you will likely see him. In fact, I think he may have cloned himself as he somehow seems to be there every time I visit one of his restaurants.
9. Bangkok, Sirocco, lebua at State Tower
Sirocco on the 64th floor of the Dome at State Tower, also housing the lebua hotel, gets credit for turning rooftops into al fresco fine dining venues from well, rooftops with nothing. You’ll feel like a titan of the universe (OK, more than usual) as you survey skyscraper packed Bangkok, the Chao Phraya River and temples glistening in evening lights. Food is fresh Mediterranean fare and is sourced from local markets. The tasting menu includes the likes of freshly flown in, chilled Alaskan king crab with osetra caviar, citronelle emulsion, and yuzu, and Dover sole “a la plancha” accompanied by Soulard foie gras and piquillo pepper farce. The spectacular outdoor staircase with the dome lit in the background will tempt even the most private among you to post some pictures on Facebook or Instagram.
10. Guangzhou, Catch, Four Seasons
At 1,340 feet (408 meters) above Guangzhou’s streets, Catch is nearly a quarter mile in the air. The menu focuses on seafood such as lobster three-ways or seafood platter for two which includes lobster, oysters, abalone, scallops, crab and clams. Diners can watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen, providing you can tear yourself away from the picture windows.
11. Athens, GB Roof Garden Restaurant, Grand Bretagne
Michelin writes, “Set on the 8th floor of the Grande Bretagne hotel, this elegant rooftop restaurant offers spectacular views across Syntagma Square towards The Acropolis. Sunny, modern Mediterranean cooking uses fresh ingredients and is accompanied by an extensive wine list. Service is smooth and efficient.” We agree. The view is breathtaking as you look out on such historical sites. A top pick by Wine Spectator fours years in a row it is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
12. Shenzen, Elba, St. Regis
Named by The Telegraph as one of the 20 best rooftop restaurants in the world, on the 99th floor Elba provides a contemporary take on Venetian-inspired décor where metallic silver and grey mosaic tiles line the entrance and a shelf displays a preview of fine wines. Moving into the dining room, natural light streams in through floor-to-ceiling windows and sleek, crystal column chandeliers illuminate modern, face-shaped white chairs and an eclectic, complementary array of regal gold, eggplant, and sienna armchairs, which are joined by sleek modern black tables. Plush black area rugs top smooth charcoal-colored marble floors, which, together with a backdrop of neutral hues and metallic accents, highlight an open kitchen as well as wall mosaics featuring colorful Venetian masks and playing cards. Complete with a pizza oven, the kitchen reveals the restaurant’s top chefs preparing Italian favorites and modern interpretations, including homemade pastas, antipasti, and pizza. A private dining room seating up to 18 guests is situated on an indoor balcony and features a private pantry, washroom, and sitting area. Two additional half-private dining spaces can seat between two and eight guests each.
13. Beijing, China Grill, Park Hyatt
Another pick from The Telegraph’s best dining in the sky is the 66th floor China Grill atop the Park Hyatt with 360 degree views of Beijing A “dramatic Chinese lantern” at the building’s apex, featuring a soaring glass pyramid ceiling and glass walls will make you fell like you’re flying. China Grill focuses on premium meat, fish and seafood. There is a semi-private dining area on the mezzanine level overlooking the main dining space. The day I was there we were actually above the clouds in bright sunshine on a raining day.
14. Rome, La Pergola, Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria
Heinz Beck’s three Michelin start La Pergola in the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria offers stunning views of the of Rome in a classically decorated dining room. Andy Hayler, the only person to have eaten in all Michelin three star restaurants in a single year says, “Fagotelli carbonara is the restaurant signature dish, and was as good as ever, the liquid filling of the pasta delightful, the seasoning precise. Black cod mash with celery infusion and crust was also excellent, the fish beautifully cooked and the celery having deep flavor.” He adds, “Service was superb from start to finish, as polished as you could wish for.” If you are an oenophile, he notes the wine cellar contains 65,000 bottles of wine, with 3,500 different labels offered on the list.
15. Sydney, Altitude, Shangri-la
The floor-to-ceiling windows at Altitude Restaurant in the Shangri-la in Sydney give postcard views of Sydney Harbor accompanied by a fine dining take on Australian cuisine. An 18-person private dining room is available for more intimate gatherings. Awards this year alone include “Restaurant of the Year” from Tourism Accommodation (NSW) Awards, 2017, Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year from Luxury Travel Guide, UK, and Three Hats from Gault & Millau.