Restaurants in the most spectacular locations

Fine dining is not just about the food. Fresh, expertly prepared ingredients will deliver a fine meal, but it’s the atmosphere that makes the whole array of the world’s best restaurants a true experience. These restaurants offer excellent cuisine in spectacular and unusual settings.

Sani Mountain Lodge

Lesotho is a small kingdom completely surrounded by South Africa. It is located on top of the Drakensberg Mountains, almost 10,000 feet above sea level. The rugged and undeveloped mountainous beauty of Lesotho attracts thousands of visitors each year and for those approaching from the south, the Sani Pass is the only gateway. The Sani Mountain Lodge is a hotel and restaurant right on the border at the top of the Sani Pass. The lodge itself, while not exactly modest, is not an opulent building, but its rustic charm is second to none. After a day traversing miles of bumpy gravel roads, the lavish wood and leather dining room lit by flickering light from the stone fireplace is the perfect place to unwind. The area above and behind the horseshoe bar is papered with currency from, the bartenders claim, every country in the world. But it’s the view that makes the Sani special. The lush green valley with its labyrinth of gated streams stretches before you to the horizon. Enjoy it with a traditional meal of oxtail soup with a glass of port.

The devil

For most restaurants, energy costs represent around 5% of the total operating budget. In El Diablo, on the island of Lanzarote, they are saving money by heating their grill with magma. Lanzarote is a volcanic island off the coast of Morocco, and the westernmost part of the island is a national park where geysers and lava have shaped the landscape for eons. The Devil is in a circular building on one of the many volcanoes. It has 360 degrees of windows that offer panoramic views of the Fire Mountains. The real draw is the grill that sits on a deep vent in the dirt. The volcano hasn’t erupted in nearly two centuries, but the vent still pumps out 450-degree air. Enjoy a geothermally grilled pompano with a bottle of the restaurant’s fine selection of Spanish wines.

Itaa

The Maldives sit like a string of pearls in the Indian Ocean, 500 miles southwest of Sri Lanka. This tropical Eden has been a go-to destination for the wealthy for years, and it’s no stranger to extravagance. Hilton hotels took luxury to new heights, or rather depths, when they built the world’s first underwater restaurant. Ithaa sits five meters below the waves and is made of clear acrylic. Diners are surrounded by the abundant life of the shallow sea and can enjoy a meal of tuna sashimi while selecting wines from Hilton’s cellar of more than 1,400 labels. It only seats 14 people, and due to the engineering issues of being submerged, it will only be available for 20 years. It would be one of the least profitable restaurants in the world if an average dinner didn’t cost $450.

Whether you’re on the roof of Africa or under the waves, a visit to one of these unusual restaurants is an experience not to be missed.

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