Top 10 world's revolving restaurants

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Over the past 50 years, revolving restaurants have opened in more than 50 countries on six continents, from Colombia to Nepal to Canada. Along the way, the concept has gone from futuristic novelty to often-tacky tourist traps. But set aside that skepticism: we've pinpointed select revolving restaurants that are worth the price of admission.

The revolving restaurant trend took flight in 1961, when Seattle architect John Graham built one on top of a shopping center in Hawaii. A year later Graham was commissioned to design the Space Needle for the upcoming World's Fair in his hometown, and brought the idea with him. The resulting ultramodern tower not only became an enduring icon of this Northwest city, it brought 20,000 awed visitors to the Space Needle restaurant each day of the World's Fair, setting off a global craze for revolving restaurants.

Far too many successors get by on their looks alone, serving generic, overpriced dishes that typically invite the harsh review: "killer views, mediocre food." Munich's Restaurant 181 rises above that revolving restaurant reputation and has become one of the city's most coveted dining spots. It even earned a Michelin star for chef Otto Koch's concoctions, such as morel-crusted veal and langoustine tartare on a bed of caviar.

Koch introduced airplane-esque classes of dining, from the First (eight courses, including the caviar, for $209) to the Economy Sunset Menu, a three-course prix fixe at a down-to-earth $52. That's about as frugal as you get at these revolving restaurants, which each deliver a once-in-a-lifetime meal that can't be duplicated anywhere else. Give them a spin.

The Sky at New Otani Tower: Tokyo

The Sky at New Otani Tower: Tokyo, one of the 'top 10 world's revolving restaurants' by

The Sky at New Otani Tower: Tokyo

It's hard to know which way to look when Tokyo's skyscrapers are spinning by on one side and an array of master chefs are working at lightning speed in the giant stage kitchen on the other. The dinner buffet highlights fresh seafood from Tokyo's famed Tsukiji Market, which you can request sautéed, grilled, steamed, or cooked tempura in front of you ($108). Additional stations prepare sushi and teppanyaki -- prime Japanese beef grilled on a hot iron plate at your table.

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