Whether it’s the Empire State, London’s Shard or the Sydney Tower, the lines are always long to visit the top of tall buildings.
That’s why it makes sense to combine a cloud-level gawp at a sprawling cityscape with dinner. Thankfully many of these elevated spots come complete with sky-high restaurants.
From balmy Moroccan roof terraces to vertiginous Chinese skyscrapers, we’ve rounded up the venues with menus worthy of their killer views.
Duck and Waffle, London
London’s highest restaurant is also one of its best.
Open 24 hours a day and located 230 meters above street level, Duck and Waffle has an all-day menu of sharing plates.
Chef Dan Doherty’s imaginative dishes include ox-cheek donuts with apricot jam.
Window tables on the west or southern sides have the best city views.
Haute cuisine: The namesake “duck and waffle” – crispy confit duck leg, duck egg, a fluffy waffle and lots of maple syrup. It’s even dairy- and gluten-free .
MORE: The world’s best restaurant is…
The Ides at The Wythe, New York City
The Ides in Brooklyn has the best view of any New York bar and restaurant.
This Williamsburg rooftop at The Wythe Hotel looks across the East River to Manhattan, giving guests a head-to-toe panorama of the whole island while they sip crisp martinis and share small plates.
Haute cuisine: Cocktails change with the seasons. Top of the list for summer is the Frozen Paloma, made with tequila, grapefruit, agave and lime.
Sky on 57, Singapore
There’s no missing Marina Bay Sands: Three towers joined by a single rooftop of bars, restaurants and a giant infinity pool.
Visitors and locals book Sky at 57 well ahead for Justin Quek’s Asian fusion menu – lobster noodles and foie gras bao, for example – and views across the Pacific to Malaysia.
Haute cuisine: Quek’s signature miso black cod is baked until flaky and tender, and served with lime and ginger butter.
What’s better than a bird’s-eye view of the Colosseum?
A bird’s eye view with a plateful of spaghetti of course.
That’s where Aroma, an acclaimed restaurant on top of the Palazzo Manfredi, comes in.
Aroma has huge picture windows and a garden terrace overlooking both the Colosseum and Emperor Nero’s Gardens.
Haute cuisine: The veal fillet – it’s served with fresh herbs plucked from Aroma’s terrace.
MORE: Dubai’s most decadent restaurants
Sirocco is the world’s highest outdoor restaurant.
Located on the 63rd floor of one of Thailand’s highest buildings, it looks like it’s hovering in the air above Bangkok.
Those who haven’t lost their appetite to vertigo can graze on oysters or the eight-course tasting menu.
Haute cuisine: Don’t expect pad Thai. Chef Gabriele Castellanza’s menu has a high-end, global focus with signature dishes that include an incredible 48-hour Wagyu short-rib served with its own rich jus.
Le Foundouk, Marrakech
A charming terrace above Marrakech’s frenetic medina, Le Foundouk serves its take on Moroccan classics (beef fillet tagine, seafood pastilla) on a candle-lit rooftop overlooking the old town.
It can be hard to find, but lantern-bearing staff are on hand at the nearby taxi drop-off to guide diners to the restaurant.
Haute cuisine: Two Moroccan classics – a rich, slightly sweet and fragrant lamb and apricot tagine, and fluffy couscous studded with vegetables.
Dos Cielos, Barcelona
Rooftop restaurants can sometimes coast on mediocre food.
Not so Dos Cielos, which has a Michelin star for Javier and Sergio Torres’ innovative cuisine.
Dos Cielos is on the 24th floor of the Melia Barcelona Sky hotel, with an outdoor terrace and views of the Mediterranean, city and mountains.
Haute cuisine: The menu degustation. The Torres’ brothers menus evolve according to what’s in season, so the tasting menu is the best way of getting a feel for their modern Catalan cooking.
MORE: Fine dining direct from the Arctic Circle
Le Jules Verne, Paris
The Eiffel Tower offers several dining options, of which the highest is Le Jules Verne.
Of course it’s touristy, but with a menu overseen by Alain Ducasse, the tasting menu is as impressive as the location.
Diners can gaze through Gustave Eiffel’s wrought-iron web across the Seine and towards Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur church.
Haute cuisine: The five-course “experience menu” includes seared langoustines and roasted pigeon.
Terraco Italia, Sao Paulo, Brazil
This classic Italian restaurant lays on the romance (candlelight, a grand piano) with its views.
Terraco Italia is on the 42nd floor of Edificio Italia, Sao Paulo’s answer to the Flatiron Building and one of Brazil’s tallest structures.
There’s an outdoor terrace for 360-degree views of the Sao Paulo sprawl.
Haute cuisine: The raviolini is freshly made, stuffed with rich veal-rib ragu and served with its juices.
360 Istanbul, Istanbul
Built on top of a 19th-century apartment building, 360 Istanbul is a modernist glass construction with unobstructed Istanbul views.
The outdoor terrace is particularly popular at twilight, when locals and visitors sip Turkish wines, order gourmet kebabs and watch the lights come on across the Bosphorus.
Haute cuisine: Octopus shish with a sumac glaze and quinoa and avocado salad, accompanied by a glass of Turkish Chardonnay.
MORE: What the world has in its lunchbox
Catch, Guangzhou, China
Catch is one of the world’s highest restaurants, a giddying 1,340 feet (408 meters) above Guangzhou’s streets.
The menu majors in seafood: lobster three-ways, market oysters.
Diners can watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen, providing they can tear themselves away from the picture windows.
Haute cuisine: The indulgent seafood platter for two which includes lobster, oysters, abalone, scallops, crab and clams.
360 Bar and Dining, Sydney
All window seats are equal at this revolving restaurant atop the Sydney Tower.
360 doesn’t serve mediocre tourist grub, though: The menu is an accomplished introduction to contemporary Australian cooking and ingredients.
On the menu are blue mussels, Sydney rock oysters and Queensland kobe beef.
Haute cuisine: Kangaroo tartare with celeriac chips and hazelnut vinaigrette.
Movie buffs might know the Park Hyatt Tokyo’s bar from “Lost in Translation.”
Its fine-dining Japanese restaurant Kozue shares those famous views – to Mount Fuji by day, and the hazy blue cityscape by night.
Signature dishes include a wagyu beef tenderloin.
There’s also an extensive sake list.
Haute cuisine: Kozue’s gourmet takes on home-style hotpots are well worth a detour from the sushi and sashimi lists.
The cockle hotpot with yams and pork is highly recommended.
El Techo, San Francisco
Ice-cold margaritas, house-made chorizo skewers hot from the grill, Latin-American street food: El Techo would warrant a visit if it was a basement dive.
In fact, its rooftop eyrie above steak restaurant Lolinda is high enough to offer views all the way to San Francisco Bay.
Haute cuisine: El Techo’s margaritas made with pueblo Viejo tequila, fresh lime and triple-sec are a locals’ favorite (especially at happy hour).
Katy Salter is a food writer and editor for The Guardian, The Telegraph and leading UK food and travel publications.