In a world of endless distractions and the constant buzz of alerts and updates on our phones, there is a simple comfort in eating well in a special place. Taking a step away from all the “noise” can yield real and lasting benefits for us. The sparkle of sunshine on plates, the taste of what the chefs create and the setting for the experience combine to shape powerful memories of moments which matter.
While great food is, of course, at the heart of every dining experience the addition of a view adds richness to the joy of eating out with friends, family or colleagues. Whether it’s the sea, lakeside or a compelling cityscape, these places can often prompt the question even years later: “Do you remember that time when we went to…?”
Here are hotels across Europe, that take your dining experience to the next level, where the feeling on arrival is of complete absorption in the venue and how each connects and interacts with its own unique surroundings.
The elite of the Roman World used to relax in Capri. At the Jumeirah Capri Palace high up in Anacapri it is possible to do just that and to take full advantage of the extensive and elevated sunset views over the Gulf of Naples. Being well away from the busyness of the harbor and being surrounded by trees and greenery adds to a feeling of escaping from pressure and having a quiet place to unwind. At the hotel’s 2 Michelin star restaurant L’Olivo, Executive Chef Andrea Migliaccio draws on his extensive experience and knowledge of the region’s cuisine to craft menus such as “L’Olivo Undiscovered” which reveals the extent over ten years of his culinary efforts to serve up the food of Italy in original ways with the most attention to detail in taste and presentation.
Switzerland never disappoints with its lake and mountain backdrops. On the sixth floor of the Eden au Lac La Reserve in Zurich, La Muňa restaurant provides the finest cuisine and a 360° view from its tree-lined roof terraces. Set right on the lake and with mountains framing the horizon, it also offers an aerial oversight of the city centre below whatever the time of day or night. Philippe Starck led the transformation of the restaurant space with a design that is quirky yet captivating and which reflects the delight of time spent on the lake. Chef Domenico Zizzi takes a bold approach in the open kitchen – he uses locally-sourced ingredients to present a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian dishes.
Il Sereno Lago Di Como could not really be any closer to the water and all its enchanting light patterns. The place to eat here and experience the full beauty of Lake Como and its surroundings is the Ristorante Berto Al Lago. Here, Chef Raffaele Lenzi presents authentic regional dishes with a contemporary twist. He has a passion about sourcing locally and does not want to use ingredients which have been “trucked from afar”. His menu says “Trust me… in nine courses”. Sitting on the section of the terrace which extends right out over the water, you feel that you certainly can. The color, taste and balance of the food presented is the perfect complement to the natural landscape which is all around.
History, heritage and location seem to sum up Hôtel de Crillon on the Place de la Concorde in Paris. This 18th Century Palace has retained all its atmosphere following a major restoration program completed in 2013. Its non-showy sophistication marks it out as one of the places to stay in Paris. Heading up to the sixth floor to the terrace which surrounds the famous Bernstein suite and you are suddenly right in the center of one of the city views with landmarks at almost every angle. What better moment to enjoy some classic cocktails or a glass or bottle from the carefully-curated French wine list? To accompany the aperitif, you can select from some distinctive savoury dishes as the drama of Paris unfolds below.
Being close to but not in the city sets the Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens apart. Although only 30 minutes from all the history and vibrancy of the city, the hotel is a real seaside escape on the Athenian Riviera. It’s located right at the end of its own peninsula and you sense the fragrance of the pines and the freshness of the sea air the moment you arrive. It sits right by the Saronic Gulf which forms part of the Aegean Sea and is one of the places to see and experience the sunset. Settling down at the Mercato Terrace restaurant, browsing the cocktail menu and wondering what Italian-themed dish to pick and it is hard to imagine being anywhere better.
Set within a landscape which could only be Provence, Château Saint-Martin & Spa hugs a hilltop and sits so comfortably within its 34 acres of private gardens. Here is an area where the unique quality of the light has inspired generations of artists. It is a place where soft green landscapes meet rocky outcrops and the sunlight dazzles on the sea. Surrounded by olive groves, filled with the freshest air and with an elevated and extended view all the way to the Mediterranean the terrace of the Saint-Martin restaurant is where Michelin-starred chef Jean-Luc Lefrançois presents a range of gastronomic options. These include his six course L’Instinct Gourmand Menu – designed to delight the palate with its technical expertise and sheer panache.
At the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, you immediately feel the character and authenticity of the traditional architecture. From the weathered stonework to the terracotta of the roof tiles, there is a sense of both history and continuity. Enjoying an elevated rural position and with views framed by avenues of cypress trees it is so restful for the soul. Seasonal produce straight from the soil finds its way from the organic kitchen garden to the Osteria La Canonica. Here the emphasis is always on creating dishes which combine the freshest ingredients with the boldest ideas. Gazing at the intense greens of the landscape and enjoying the proximity to nature creates time to savor.