12 of the most amazing restaurants in the world: from ancient caves to underwater dining

From towering views of glittering Hong Kong, to the Kenyan restaurant where a giraffe might join you for your meal, here are 12 incredible dining rooms from around the world

As far as wow-factor restaurants go, there's no denying we're spoilt for choice here in the UAE. From the European dishes of At.mosphere at the top of the Burj Khalifa, to Bedouin-influenced eats beneath the stars in the stunning Arabian Desert, if the overall dining experience is as important as you to the food, you'll be able to find a dining room to suit your style and palate.

As countries begin to open up this summer following months of lockdown, so too are some of the world’s most incredible restaurants.

Covid-19 safety restrictions vary from country to country and from restaurant to restaurant, with most establishments carrying their updated information on their websites, so be sure to check before you book.

From the crackling fireside dining of a cherry blossom-strewn restaurant in Central London, to a rock in the Indian Ocean that only seats 20, via authentic African cuisine in a 180,000-year-old candlelit cave in Kenya, these dining rooms are well worth booking when you're next in that neck of the international woods.

The 12 most amazing restaurants in the world

1. The Rock, Zanzibar

2. Grotta Palazzese, Italy

3. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives

4. Sheesh Mahal, India

5. Mozaic, Bali

6. Dasheene, St Lucia

7. Tosca di Angelo, Hong Kong

8. Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant, Kenya

9. La Sponda, Italy

10. Clos Maggiore, England

11. Giraffe Manor, Kenya

12. Outstanding in the Field, Global

1. The Rock, Zanzibar

Describing itself simply as 'a restaurant on a rock in the ocean', what started life as an outpost for fishermen from the local village of Michamvi has become one of the most Instagrammable restaurants on earth. Seating 20 guests, the restaurant off Pingwe beach on the south-east coast of the island serves seafood and local dishes and is accessible by foot at low tide or boat at high tide, although you can wade out if you wish.

2. Grotta Palazzese, Italy

This restaurant in Apulia, Southern Italy is found inside a natural cave, the "Grotta Palazzese" from which it takes its name. Once a main stop-off for the upper class on their grand tour of Europe, the grotto, overlooking the Adriatic Sea has been used for parties and banquets since 1700.

3. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives

Found five metres below sea level at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, dining at Ithaa gives a whole new meaning to the word "seafood". Enjoy fusion food inside the glass tunnel, while fish, sting rays and the occasional scuba diver float gently by.

4. Sheesh Mahal, India

Located in The Leela Palace Udaipur, this stunning open-air dining room comes with views across Pichola Lake, which dates back to 1362. Naturally, royal Indian cuisine is what's on the menu as you dine under the stars. Rudyard Kipling wrote of the area in 1899: "If the Venetian owned the Pichola Lake, he might say with justice, 'See it and die'." But, at least order dinner first…

5. Mozaic, Bali

Less a dining room than a lush tropical oasis where you just so happen to get food, Mozaic in Bali, Indonesia is open seven days a week from 1pm to 9pm. Find lobster, ceviche and duck on the menu courtesy of the chef-owner Chris Salans.

6. Dasheene, St Lucia

Dedicated to showcasing the food of the West Indies, all the ingredients are delivered fresh from island farmers and local plantations. Enjoy roast conch and Cajun Creole vegetables against a backdrop of the Caribbean Sea.

7. Tosca di Angelo, Hong Kong

Come for the Michelin-starred cuisine, and stay for the dazzling views of Kowloon at this restaurant housed in The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong. Dramatically high ceilings, statement chandeliers and panoramic views are the perfect complement to the Mediterranean-inspired dishes on offer from chef Angelo Agliano.

8. Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant, Kenya

Ten metres below ground, lit by candles and serving international cuisine and local seafood, Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant is Instagrammable perfection. The naturally sculpted coral cave also serves a slice of history alongside your social media likes, with the cave on Diani Beach thought to be between 120,000 and 180,000 years old.

9. La Sponda, Italy

Found at Le Sirenuse in Positano on the famously beautiful Amalfi Coast, the dining room at La Sponda brings the local flora inside, along with floor-to-ceiling views of the legendary coastline. Enjoy local classics from pasta al pomodoro to line-caught fish, served up with views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. "Positano bites deep," wrote John Steinbeck in 1953. "It is a dream place that isn't quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone."

10. Clos Maggiore, England

London’s Clos Maggiore is a restaurant for all seasons, with a cherry blossom-strewn conservatory whose glass roof retracts in the warmer months for city summer dining, while in winter the crackling fireplaces are lit, beckoning diners to linger long after petit fours. French fare is on the menu, with the restaurant based on the old country inns of Provence and Tuscany.

11. Giraffe Manor, Kenya

It's not often that the food comes in second place to the experience of having inquisitive giraffes join you for your meal, but there you go. While the food is undoubtedly delicious, making the most of local fare, it's the fact any point a long-necked visitor might poke their head through the window that makes this one of the most fascinating restaurants in the world.

12. Outstanding in the Field, Global

Where exactly is Outstanding in the Field located? A tricky question because the answer is both anywhere and everywhere. Described as a "roving restaurant without walls", OITF brings the tables, chairs, cutlery and kitchen to set up anywhere in the world amid the very fields, orchards and seashores where the meal's ingredients were harvested. Their aim is to "reconnect diners to the land", for a dining experience without walls.

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