"The better the view, the worse the food” is a restaurant proverb that dates in print to at least 1991. If a restaurant is on top of a hotel and offers spectacular views of a city, or if a restaurant is on the water, or if a restaurant overlooks a mountain range, the customer is often paying for that great view. Many of the customers are tourists who will never return. The restaurant doesn’t necessarily have to serve outstanding food to bring in business.
The proverb doesn’t always hold true, of course—some restaurants offer great views and also have great food.
Dallas (TX) Morning News
Travelin’ Gourmet’s a la carte rules to eat by
Author: MIKE KALINA King Features THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS (DAL)
Publish Date: APRIL 14, 1991
As I girdle the globe in search of the perfect meal, there are certain things I have learned about dining out in strange cities.
Here are, for your perusal, the Travelin’ Gourmet’s Rules of the Road.
1. The bigger the pepper mill, the lousier the food. (I’ve actually seen grown men risk hernias trying to handle a 4-foot pepper mill.)
2. The better the view, the poorer the food (and never eat in a restaurant that moves). (...)
29 September 1991, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “The Wine List,” Times Magazine:
The better the ocean view, the worse the food. While this may no longer be true, one old saw still applies: The better the view, the higher the wine prices.
24 July 1992, San Jose (CA) Mercury News, Eye section, pg. 3:
THE better the view, the worse the food. Right? Well, sometimes. “That’s typically true,” says Pat Kuleto, the designer and restaurateur.
7 January 1994, Miami (FL) Herald, “Eat, Drink, People-Watch at the Cantina, pg. 24G:
The old axiom goes that the closer you get to the water, the better the view, the more unbelievably delicious the atmosphere, the worse the food.
New York (NY) Times
Post Time, Dinner Time A Grand View of the Ponies And Some Good Steak, Too
By FRAN SCHUMER
Published: Sunday, October 13, 1996
The better the view, the worse the food, or so the theory goes, and it held for Pegasus for most of its 18 years, when asparagus plucked from a can and garnished with pimiento strips passed for haute cuisine.
Google Groups: ba.food
From: Robyn Young
Subject: Re: Restaurant on Skyline or elsewhere on the hills
I have a theory I call the “Inverse View Law”. In brief: The better the view, the worse the food.
Google Groups: dc.dining
From: “Jeffrey Pandin”
Subject: Re: Good Brunch?
You might want to call Cedar Knoll (off the GW parkway just north of Mt. Vernon). Don’t know if they do brunch, but the menu food is excellent and the view of the river can’t be beat. Definitely an exception to the usual rule: “the better the view, the worse the food.”
San Francisco (CA) Chronicle
View beats food at Crab House
Bill Daley, Chronicle Staff Critic
Friday, May 9, 2003
There’s an old saying, “The better the view, the poorer the food.” The Crab House at Pier 39 in San Francisco has an absolutely gorgeous view.
Metro Santa Cruz (CA), July 26-August 1, 2006
By Stett Holbrook
The better the view, the worse the food Generally speaking, a place that touts its stunning ocean vistas or twinkling city-lights views doesn’t have to wow you with its food, because it knows you came to admire the pretty view.