Dine on the Horizon
The South is filled with spectacular skylines and scenic shorelines—Why not sit back with a glass of wine or plate of food and enjoy the view? There are restaurants nestled on river bends where you can dine on live-fired fish pulled fresh from the water, and rooftop bars for sipping on creative cocktails while you take in sweeping city views. Here are 12 spots where the sights are just as appetizing as what’s on the plate.
KIMBALL’S KITCHEN | Duck, North Carolina
Catch a spectacular sunset at nearby Kimball’s Kitchen at Sanderling Resort, where a wall of windows provides every seat a view of the sound. For a more casual evening, walk across the street to the Lifesaving Station, Sanderling’s other dining concept, housed in a renovated Coast Guard station—note the vintage diving helmet mounted on the bar.
HELLO, SAILOR | Cornelius, North Carolina
Joe Kindred tips his hat to the fish camp tradition at his second restaurant on the banks of nearby Lake Norman. The crispy soft shell crab banh mí alone is worth the trip, but a side of beef fat fries takes it the extra mile. Ask for a seat on the patio for lakeside dining.
CANYON KITCHEN | Sapphire, North Carolina
Situated in a residential mountain farm community, open-air Canyon Kitchen fits in seamlessly among the rolling meadows and surrounding mountains. The May-through-October restaurant emphasizes Appalachian cuisine with bites like smoked trout croquettes and a smoked pork loin over barley middlins.
JIANNA | Greenville, South Carolina
Chef Michael Kramer’s Jianna prides itself on housemade pastas like squid ink radiatori with Carolina shrimp and Calabrian chile. Ask to sit on the terrace for a sweeping view of Main Street.
PEREGRIN | Savannah, Georgia
From its woven furniture and AstroTurf lawn to the bright tropical murals and towering plant walls, the Peregrin is a slice of Miami nightlife dropped on a rooftop in downtown Savannah. Grab a next-level mule (made with fernet branca and spicy ginger syrup) or sangria spiked with apple brandy and take in the skyline under the string lights.
BUD & ALLEY’S WATERFRONT RESTAURANT | Seaside, Florida
Bud & Alley’s is the beachy seafood joint of your childhood memories. In operation for more than thirty-three years, the gulf-front restaurant and bar is a favorite after a day at the beach for fish tacos and ice cold cocktails on the rooftop deck. If you’re craving carbs, check out sister restaurant Bud & Alley’s Piza Bar + Trattoria. With the year-round local availability of blue crabs—they source from Alabama, Louisiana, and the Florida Panhandle—chef Phillip McDonald has been inspired to conjure up new dishes in order to meet the local demand for the popular staple. That translates into crab toast, which combines the sweet meat with fennel atop charred bread, and crab pizza with a béchamel base, corn, and basil.
CASTILE RESTAURANT | St. Petersburg, Florida
While there’s plenty to do in downtown St. Petersburg, the Kimpton Hotel Zamora on St. Pete Beach brings an urban boutique hotel experience to the water’s edge, with rooms overlooking the Gulf and the Intracoastal Waterway. Take in the panoramic views from its 360 Rooftop lounge before dinner at the hotel’s Castile Restaurant for Mediterranean fusion fare. Standouts include the romesco butter sea scallops over black rice and lamb shank with poached apricots.
LEVEL 8 | Tallahassee, Florida
As the discerning drinkers of Tallahassee know, there’s more to the Capital City’s cocktail scene than college-oriented bars. Enter Level 8, the bar at the top of Hotel Duval on North Monroe Street. It’s the go-to place for happy hour, where a banquette on the west-facing outdoor terrace offers the perfect perch for toasting the sun as it sinks into repose. On the nights that Level 8 hosts live music, you can while away an evening on the terrace transported by the warm glow of good drinks and fine tunes.
CANTLER’S RIVERSIDE INN | Annapolis, Maryland
For the full-on crab feast experience—the Maryland equivalent of Louisiana’s crawfish boil or oyster roasts in the Lowcountry—follow the winding road that leads to Cantler’s Riverside Inn, a forty-year-old institution that still sources its crabs from local watermen. Grab a table on the deck and get cracking while overlooking picturesque Mill Creek with its bobbing sloops and bay boats.
RAPPAHANNOCK OYSTER COMPANY | Topping, Virginia
On the Virginia coast, Travis and Ryan Croxton are all about oysters. The cousins and co-owners of Rappahannock Oyster Company are reinvigorating the Chesapeake Bay oyster trade and celebrating the bivalves at their restaurants. Stop in their “tasting room,” Merrior, to sample oysters fresh from the river, paired with seasonal craft brews and international wines.
MOUNTAIN PIE COMPANY ON THE RIVER | Saint Albans, West Virginia
At this riverside pizza spot, they serve pepperoni rolls with a side of sauce. Save it for the crust and wallow in the bliss of the pure pepperoni roll on their large patio overlooking the Kanawha River and surrounding mountains.
HOT TIN | New Orleans, Louisiana
While mixed drinks have never fallen out of fashion in New Orleans, the cocktail revival of late has only enhanced them. Embracing this trend as well as a growing appetite for rooftop bars, the historic Pontchartrain Hotel converted its penthouse into one of the most fashionable bars in the city—Hot Tin, named in a nod to playwright Tennessee Williams, who lived at the hotel while he wrote A Streetcar Named Desire. Its prepossessing bartender, Jake LeBas, has customers lining up nightly to sample his creative riffs on traditional New Orleans cocktails.
- by Erin Byers Murray
- by Jennifer Stewart Kornegay
- by Emily Havener
- by Hannah Lee Leidy
- by Beth D’Addono