In the past we’ve done stories on restaurants in the middle of nowhere in America, as well as those that are in the middle of nowhere internationally, but there are several amazing restaurants around the world that are not only remote, but can be physically exhausting to get to. There aren’t many that you can only reach by foot, but if you get a chance to visit any of them you’ll be glad you did.
Some, like the Tampu Restaurant at Machu Picchu (which made our list of one of the world’s best restaurants for a sunset view), can be reached by taking a train and a light stroll (or a 60 mile hike if you really want to make it difficult for yourself), while others require a much more rigorous approach, such as China’s Hua Shan Teahouse, which you’ll practically have to scale a mountain to reach — it’s really a treacherous walk with steep walkways and a narrow plank that’ll force you to hug the mountain to cross.
The Äescher Cliff restaurant in Switzerland can be reached after several hours of hiking, or by taking a cable car from Wasserauen, which cuts your hike time down to only 15 minutes. For the best experience, we recommend doing the three-hour hike up the Ebenalp mountain from Wasserauen, then taking the cable car back after you’ve enjoyed an adventurous day and delicious meal — with a menu featuring rösti (hashbrowns) and other specialties from the local Appenzell region. From the restaurant you’ll be able to see gorgeous views of the Appenzell landscape, along with St. Gallen, Thurgau, and Lake Constance.
At 2100 meters, Chez Vrony restaurant in the Swiss Alps is only accessible by foot and is about a 10-minute walk from the foot of all year long. Enjoy beautiful views of the Matterhorn from the sundeck and the restaurant’s various dishes and wines — from traditional recipes and classic dishes to international specialties.
If you’re not afraid of heights (or potential death), try your luck hiking up the side of Mount Hua in China for the country’s most fear-inducing restaurant. To reach this restaurant you’ll have to ascend a steep rock staircase called “the heavenly stairs” (probably called “heavenly” because so many people have turned into angels trying to climb them), which has minimal handrails. No, we’re not done yet. The path gets tighter and tighter before turning into thin sections of plank that have been haphazardly nailed to the side of a mountain — you’ll have only these planks, a length of chain to hold onto, and a harness attached to a small rope separating you from a fall that will likely last for days. At the top, there’s a tea house and restaurant, which offers free meals to climbers. What do they serve? Does it even matter? If you made it up there alive, that’s reward enough.
Located at the base of the Grand Canyon, Phantom Ranch can only be reached “by mule, on foot, or by rafting the Colorado River,” according to their website. Considering the 7- to 9-mile hike (depending on which trail you take) down the canyon, you may want to reserve a cabin at the ranch in advance to avoid having to hike all the way back right after eating a relaxing meal.
Ang S./ Yelp
Take a hike down to the base of Elk Mountain and dine at the delicious Pine Creek Cookhouse. During the winter, you can reach the restaurant by sleigh ride if you choose not to walk in the cold, but it is definitely worth a stop when in Aspen. All ingredients are locally sourced, and Pine Creek Cookhouse prides itself on their seasonal menus and use of natural and organic products.
Travel by the Hiram Bingham train, operated by the Orient-Express, to reach the luxurious and serene Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge high in the Andes, where you’ll instantly feel transported back to the ancient Incan era. Or, if you are bold enough, you can hike the 60 miles, because areas like Choquequirao and Espiritu Pampa are only accessible on foot — so get a local tour guide! Sit indoors or outdoors at the Tampu Restaurant, the gourmet choice from among Machu Picchu’s very few restaurants, and you’ll be treated to a rare view of the ruins and lush vegetation. Here you can choose from an international or Peruvian menu featuring local Andean specialties. Sip an expertly crafted pisco sour or muña tea on the patio while gazing at the Urubamba River and the misty green terraces carved into mountain ridges that make up one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
En route to climb Mt. Everest, hike to a village called Namche Bazaar, nestled between the slopes of Nepal’s Khumbu Valley at 11,286 feet above sea level. It’s a hike to get there, and the air is thin, but once there you’ll find plenty of mountain gear shops, plus a selection of teahouses and fried noodle joints, a karaoke bar, and an Irish bar. The Irish Pub is a must-see, where a dozen languages are spoken at once as international guests sip beer from around the world and enjoy Namche homemade whiskey with bar snacks. Get an "I was drunk in Namche" T-shirt while you’re there.
Weekend Notes/Julie Mundy
The Old Forge is a beloved establishment that draws locals and visitors from across the world who are intrigued by the pub’s Guinness World Records listing as "The Remotest Pub" on mainland Britain. There are no roads in, so expect an 18-mile hike or a seven-mile boat ride to the village of Inverie, Scotland (population: 70). Once you get there, though, you can indulge in homemade beer-battered haddock and chips or, for lighter fare, try the Loch Nevis mussels steamed in white wine and fresh bulb garlic served with crusty bloomer bread. Try some local brews or a classic Guinness, or choose from the many gins, ciders, and other spirits offered.