Anakeesta’s Cliff Top Grill and Bar offers spectacular view and new, seasonal tastes

Before disappearing behind a mountain, the setting sun casts the Cliff Top Grill and Bar in hues of golden light, which glint off the seasonal decorations of Autumn at Anakeesta and creating an ambiance that is frankly hard to match.

It’s all part of the experience at Anakeesta, located behind Arrowmont School on the Parkway in Gatlinburg.

While the entrance to the park is located on the Parkway, Anakeesta itself sits high above Gatlinburg and is reachable either by Chondola ride or on a Ridge Rambler truck designed to haul people up the mountain.

Sitting at the restaurant, taking in the spectacular view, it’s almost as if the food could take a back seat to the experience. And, in fairness, there are not a lot of culinary options that could compete with such a visual experience.

But the Cliff Top is not content to simply let the panoramic views do the heavy lifting.

A sampling of seasonal offerings shows they’re proud of their home smoked barbecue - made in a caged smokehouse to protect it from any of the neighborhood bears who might explore the park after closing hours.

The housemade barbecue sauce is sweet and tangy and a good representation of the regional preference.

The desserts are tempting - we tried the carrot cake and a brownie - both as good as you could ask for.

There are, of course, speciality cocktails, which we didn’t sample but heard good things about.

You’ll have to pay admission to Anakeesta - roughly $21 per adult - for the opportunity to dine at the Cliff Top, but with all that Anakeesta has to offer, it’s well worth it.