The Handbook
The Handbook

London has the best food scene in the world, that’s just a fact. What we don’t have though, are mountains, underwater restaurants and caves, we’ll put it forward to Sadiq. Until then, you’ll have to travel a little further afield and when you do, make sure you check out these top incredible restaurants.

Stratosfare, New Zealand

Awe-Inspiring Views

Overlooking the incredible coastline of Queenstown, you’d be forgiven for only gawping out the window and completely ignoring your dinner companion; this view is basically what inspired the word “panorama”… no, really. If you can pull yourself away from the drama of the tumbling shoreline, the Stratosfare restaurant boasts an impressive buffet. Their award-winning Wagyu Angus cross fillet steak in particular is worth abandoning your vantage point for. If only for a couple of minutes, anyway…

Photo: Vinit Pathak

Where: Queenstown Brecon Street, PO BOX 17 Queenstown, New Zealand

The SnowCastle, Finland

The Restaurant That Should Be In Narnia

Which came first, the Narnian snow castle, or the Snow Castle restaurant? While we may never solve that conundrum, the Snow Castle restaurant is beyond beguiling. Full of magic, the snow walls are lined with intricate carvings and snow sculptures flanking the rows of ice tables. The restaurant serves an eclectic array of seasonal fare, but expect a selection of delicious fish and reindeer to get you started. Endlessly enchanting, the cavernous Snow Castle is great for those looking to live out a lesser spoken Frozen fantasy, and even better for those of us who want to experience a bougie version of an ice bar. Whatever your reasoning, pick your favourite snow based fairy tale, grab your favourite jumper and hunker down…

Where: Lumilinnankatu 15, 94100 Kemi, Finland

The Grotto, Thailand

In the Thai Caves

Nestled in the limestone cliffs of Phranang Beach, the Grotto is basically the fantasy ending to any tropical romance you’ve ever dared to dream. Like the ending to Eat Pray Love only better, the Grotto overlooks the unsullied waters of the Thai coast. Each night, the Grotto lights up the fires of the barbecue to create decadent feasts for lucky guests dining amongst ancient stalagmites. Picture yourself: barefoot, windswept, staring out to sea and gnawing on a perfectly seasoned leg of lamb… Prepare to float off to your happily ever after: a food coma.

Where: The Grotto, Rayavadee, 214 Moo 2, Tumbon Ao-Nang Amphur Muang 81000 Krabi Thailand

Fangweng Restaurant, China

Worth the Peril

If you have a fear of heights, this particular restaurant may be one to swerve—although it might be worth closing your eyes on the walk in, so to only miss 30% of the most “unique cave restaurant in the world” rather than the whole sha-bang…

Precariously dangled over a ravine overlooking the river Yangtze, guests must traverse a walkway nailed to the side of the cliff edge in order to get there. Beautiful, adventurous and blooming terrifying, the restaurant is listed amongst the top ranking bucket list locations globally. As you enjoy the local specialities: freshwater fish, duck, pork and maybe a turtle or two- guests can smugly take pleasure in watching the bungee jumping mentalists on the other side of the river and be pleased that you got in the other queue.

Where: NanJin Guan San You Dong Bridge, Yichang, China
Website: So Cool They Don't Have a Website...

Maiden's Tower

Dream-Like Haze

Indulge a dream-like haze and book a train ticket to Istanbul to dine in the exquisite Maiden’s Tower. Turkey’s answer to that window in Verona (only slightly more romantic), Maiden’s Castle sits adrift from the city of Istanbul, anchored somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea. Lit by yellow light on the azure of a lazy sea, The Maiden’s Tower is wonderfully reminiscent of chivalric story-telling, except the dragon guarding the tower is the chaotic mess of the water taxi rank, and the prize is fresh calamari and the most wonderful hummus which—to all accounts—is  most definitely worth the hard fought negotiation.

Deeply romantic- even those hardened by heartbreak will struggle not to feel the warm glow of affection…

Where: Salacak /Üsküdar 34668, Turkey

Kuklos, Switzerland

Revolving Restaurant

There’s something suspiciously Bond-y about Kuklos Switzerland; to the point where you half expect to see Pierce Brosenan skidding around the corner is an Aston Martin. Made entirely of mirrored glass, the restaurant reflects the spectacular snow scape that surrounds. Tucked in a snug between two mountains: a Tour Mayen and la Tour d’Ai, the restaurant revolves (YES, YOU HEARD ME!) for diners to enjoy the magnificent mountainside from all angles. Good for a panoramic Instagram and better (so I hear) for the roast veal.

Hop on the next cable car there and for goodness sake, don’t forget to pack the camera…

Where: TLML SA Restaurant tournant Kuklos 1854 Leysin, Switzerland

Subsix, Maldives

Underwater Hangout

Within the Per Aquum Resort in the Maldives (six metres beneath the waterline and 500 metres out in the ocean), lies the Subsix bar. The hotspot’s interior (designed by Poole Associates) is in keeping with the concept of the ocean themed restaurant and is complete with seating that resembles sea anemones, a clam shaped bar (in the centre of the room) and a ceiling which appears as if thousands of tiny seashells hang from it. The lighting changes from white during the day, to lavender during dinner and blue during night, ensuring you can see the marine life at it’s fullest at all times. Spot over 90 coral reef species through the viewing windows including, moray eels and parrotfish, as you grab lunch (available from noon until 3pm) dishes include ‘sea bass fillet with Jaffna prawn, squash and peas’ and the ‘lobster medallion served with avocado, tomato medley and blackberry balsamic essence’. The bar offers an array of cocktails, wines and spirits such as the ‘Pimm and Proper’ made with ‘Pimms, orange vodka, ginger beer, cranberry juice and mint’ and the ‘Tropical Smash’ with ‘white rum, dark rum, gold rum, pineapple and orange juice’.

Where: Dhaalu Atoll PO Box 2002 Republic of Maldives