Top 5 Alfresco Dining Hotspots

From rooftop wonders with panoramic city views and waterside restaurant gems, to hidden eateries nestled in sun-trapped courtyards; so long as the weather cooperates, eating under the sun ‘in the open air’ makes for a wonderful way to enjoy food and drink.

1. Monopoli, Italy
The enchanting Grotta Palazzese (www.grottapalazzese.it/en/) definitely holds a place on every foodie’s bucket list. This breath-taking restaurant is built inside a cave on the Italian coast, a perfect spot for alfresco dining, with the warm summer night’s breeze. Arguably one of the world’s most unique dining experiences, this enchanting restaurant located in Southern Italy was actually built centuries ago. Enjoy dramatic sea views as you sit at dimly lit tables and watch the waves lap the shores beneath you.

Where to stay:
The quaint B&B Relais Del Senatore (www.booking.com/hotel/it/relais-del-senatore.en-gb.html) is only a two minutes stroll along the charming medieval streets of Polignano A Mare where you will find the Grotto Palazzese, perfect for reserving the best seat in the house (or cave). Set in an 18th-Century watchtower, this charming B&B offers its own alfresco dining from the summer terrace, complete with fitted tables and sun loungers.

2. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is a city of contrasts, from the hedonistic nightlife scene along Khao San Road, to the entrancing temples and shrines. Along with sightseeing and shopping, food is a top endorsement for Bangkok by Booking.com travellers. Sirocco (www.lebua.com/sirocco) is the world’s highest alfresco restaurant and is a must-visit for foodie thrill seekers. This iconic rooftop restaurant boasts unrivalled views of bustling Bangkok, plus indulge your senses with the jazz band and the chef’s tasting menu.

Where to stay:
Why not treat yourself whilst you’re in Bangkok and stay in the very home of the Sirocco restaurant. The lebua at State Tower (www.booking.com/hotel/th/lebua-at-state-tower.en-gb.html) has a range of glamorous suites with impressive views of the spectacular city skyline. Conveniently located near the Chao Phraya River, BTS Skytrain and the expressway, you will have easy access to the city’s main attractions. Plus your reservation at the Sirocco restaurant and Sky Bar is just a lift away!

3. Port Douglas, Australia
With the famous Aussie sunshine and warm temperatures in Port Douglas year around, travellers are spoilt for choice with alfresco dining options. Flames of the Forest (www.flamesoftheforest.com.au) is Australia’s only rainforest dining experience in the heart of Tropical North Queensland. This unique restaurant combines local produce with the stunning beauty of the surrounding forest. You can choose between the Aboriginal Cultural Experience (includes a seven dish banquet and an Aboriginal cultural performance) or the Rainforest Dining Experience (includes a six course tropical tasting menu).

Where to stay:
Port Douglas is a haven for travellers looking to embrace natural beauty and breath-taking landscapes, from the Daintree Rainforest, Bloomfield Falls, to the pristine four-mile beach.
This tropical town is also known for its boutique, beach-lined cafes, restaurants and bars; perfect for soaking up the rays whilst tucking into delicious food. The Martinique on Macrossan apartments (www.booking.com/hotel/au/martinique-on-macrosssan.en-gb.html) is a great place to stay – only 50 yards from the beach. The spacious self-contained apartments each have a private balcony and are surrounded by lush tropical gardens, boast a saltwater swimming pool and BBQ facilities.

4. Cederberg, South Africa
A trip to South Africa is incomplete without trying the famous Cape cuisine and the best place to try this is at the Embers at Bushmans Kloof (www.bushmanskloof.co.za/food-and-drink/embers) restaurant. Dine under the African skies in the natural sandstone amphitheatre. Embers is perched on a dramatic cliff and overlooks the spectacular valley below. It is lit by a roaring fire, and a myriad of candles and lanterns create a truly magical atmosphere – it’s a truly fairy-tale alfresco experience like no other.

Where to stay:
Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat (www.booking.com/hotel/za/bushmans-kloof-wilderness-reserve.en-gb.html) is located at the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains and boasts a spa, wellness centre, heated outdoor swimming pool and lush surrounding gardens. Who ever said camping couldn’t be glamorous?

5. London, United Kingdom
Brits will know that the summer months can prove all too fleeting, so booking an outdoor table whenever you can is a must. Even with its nickname of the ‘big smoke’ London is not one to be disregarded when daydreaming of alfresco dining. The Coq d’Argent (www.coqdargent.co.uk) is a must for outdoor dining, serving delicious French cuisine, and customers will love the stunning rooftop garden boasting mesmerising views of the capitals skyline.

Where to stay:
Stay in the heart of London at the exquisite and beautifully designed Ham Yard Hotel (www.booking.com/hotel/gb/ham-yard.en-gb.html) dine at the on-site restaurant and enjoy the frequently updated menu and rooftop terrace. Relax on the large, leafy roof-top garden and enjoy sweeping views of London’s skyline.

Text and photos courtesy of booking.com

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