It's easy to forget how tough the last year has been. Even as many of us are reunited with friends and family and normality is starting to return, there are still some aspects of pre-COVID life that we’re missing.
The last piece of the puzzle is Europe's skies reopening without the consequences of quarantine and costly hotel bills. It almost feels like it’s within touching distance!
We’ve been busy concocting a list of wanderlust locations to visit (when the regulations allow) and these 10 restaurants should feature on your bucket list.
10 Must-See Restaurants Around the World
We’ve conjured up a list of fabulous restaurants from around the world that most chefs only dream of working at. Restaurants where the location, the experience and the service are second to none. Relax as you’re quickly swept into a magical state of mind where all your cares melt away and normality returns (with a safety aspect no one can ignore). We feel grateful to be getting these luxuries back and think there’s no harm in a bit of daydreaming until these thoughts become a reality.
1. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives
The world's first undersea restaurant truly has to be seen to be believed. Located five metres below the surface of the ocean, you'll enjoy panoramic views of the coral garden and get the closest possible look at the incredible wildlife that calls the Arabian Sea home.
On the menu are delicious seafood and vegetarian dishes but the experience of dining while reef sharks swim by is the reason this beautiful restaurant makes our list.
2. El Diablo Restaurant, Lanzarote
Do you enjoy a good barbecue? Why not try the ultimate barbecue experience at the El Diablo restaurant in Lanzarote. Here, you'll enjoy mouth-watering food that's been grilled by heat from the volcano below.
Diners enjoy spectacular views of the Timanfaya National Park while their food is cooked to perfection by lava. Truly an experience you'll never forget!
3. Fangweng Restaurant, China
Not one for the faint of heart, the 'Hanging Restaurant' of Yichang, China gives restaurant-goers incredible views of the surrounding area as it's built into the side of a stretch of cliffs.
Diners must traverse a narrow bridge to reach the restaurant which hangs several hundred feet above the ground. Fancy a post-meal activity after enjoying the delicious Asian cuisine that's served at the restaurant? There's a bungee jumping platform nearby.
4. Ristorante Grotta Palazzese, Italy
Situated inside a natural cave with stunning ocean views, this restaurant is the perfect setting for a delicious meal as the sun sets below the horizon.
Offering delicious Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, the Grotta Palazzese is a restaurant you won't forget in a hurry.
5. The Rock, Tanzania
Once you see this beautiful restaurant in Tanzania you'll quickly realise why it's called The Rock. It's quite literally situated on a rock in the ocean so diners must take a short but scenic boat ride before they can begin to enjoy their meal.
After arriving, you'll enjoy fresh seafood that was caught nearby and enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean from the terrace. The perfect place to relax, grab a drink and take the perfect holiday picture.
6. Sounds of Silence, Australia
Are you ready to witness the beauty of the Australian Outback? Diners at the Sounds of Silence restaurant in the Uluru National Park experience authentic Australian cuisine and entertainment under a sky full of stars.
An evening here is an unforgettable experience as you watch the sunset and enjoy food from the bush tucker inspired menu that uses native ingredients.
7. Siroco, Thailand
Siroco is situated in Bangkok and offers incredible views of the bustling city below. It's the perfect way to end a busy day of sightseeing, allowing you to take a moment to enjoy the city's beauty.
Diners enjoy Mediterranean-inspired cuisine that's cooked to perfection on a backdrop of twinkling lights from the city.
8. Schwerelos, Germany
Your food arrives via rollercoaster - is there anything else we need to say?
You'll feel like you're on a spaceship at this galactic-themed roller coaster restaurant. With a Captain's lounge, officer's casino and domed glass roof, this restaurant is the final frontier for space-lovers. Once ready, dishes travel via rollercoasters to your table, ready for you to enjoy.
9. Alpino Vino, USA
At 11,966 feet, Alpino Vino is the highest elevation fine-dining restaurant in North America. Located in a picturesque mountain village, diners can enjoy staggeringly beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains.
During the day it's popular with skiers, while at night you'll get to enjoy a trip by snowcat before you can enjoy the delicious Italian food that's on offer.
10. Labassin Waterfalls Restaurant at Villa Escudero, Philippines
Last, but certainly not least, is this beautiful restaurant in the Philippines that's situated next to a stunning waterfall.
The cool water is the perfect antidote to the warm weather and diners can dip their feet while they wait for their authentic Filipino food to be prepared.
Here's how we scored them
When deciding on which restaurants would make our exclusive list, we made sure to think about cold hard data. They are in order of importance:
Uniqueness & Experience
It’s important when you’re abroad for restaurants to ‘stand out from the crowd’. Some are designed to be exclusive, others to invite tourists in but everyone knows to find a hidden treasure you look where the locals dine.
We rated our restaurants by uniqueness, is it authentic, trendsetting, atmospheric and like nowhere you’ve been before.
During our search, we found the highest restaurant in the world and the most beautiful. Another intriguing venue could be found on a volcano. Bubbling lava grills the food while diners enjoy breathtaking views of a national park!
Or, we can go underwater for a stunning ocean experience. Ever imagined eating food at a table in a waterfall? Me neither, but trust me it's a unique opportunity you don’t see every day!
Sticking to the water theme, eat in a cave with stunning views of the Adriatic Sea. Another option that offers a ‘different’ dining experience is to paddle or swim to a hut in the middle of the water. This scenic spot is admired by many and washes all your worries away.
Quality of Produce
Food quality should be one of the highest factors when deciding where to eat whilst on vacation. It can be a worry if you’re unsure of the standards so research beforehand to avoid food poisoning and other nasty bugs.
Most of the time this won't be an issue but to rate highly in our data we need to ensure the food was on point. A unique experience is one thing but you want it to be remembered for the right reasons. Our list covers some of the best seafood around, not to mention Filipino specialities and Mediterranean dishes and tapas.
We put our ear to the online ground and visited the restaurant's pages for Trip Advisor reviews to gather the general feeling about the level of service. It would be ideal to visit each one of these fabulous restaurants but with the recent lockdowns, it wasn't possible. There are some fabulous travel bloggers and influencers who have some amazing content that has helped us decide who deserves the top spot!
Ratings and Value for Money
We’ve considered Michelin star ratings and awards but we believe restaurants can be amazing without any stars and there's a place for all different experiences depending on the visitor and the occasion.
Similarly, with value for money, we’ve tried to weigh up if the prices match the quality and like I said value for money doesn't mean cheap and tasty too but the diner feels like they haven't been ripped off whether it's expensive or affordable.
The location rating is definitely a consideration for me as the location can make all the difference. Depending on which part of the world it is and the views the restaurant offers, a location can set an atmosphere and offer a feeling nowhere else in the world can.
Social Media Reach
We wanted to gather how many people supported the restaurants on Facebook. The reason we did this is that it’s a good indicator of how successful it is. Diners that have had positive experiences are more likely to ‘like’ that restaurant on social media. It stands to reason then that a restaurant with a large social media community is worth a visit.
We scored all these factors listed above per restaurant and the highest points gives us our winner.