Food & Drink

The best looking McDonald’s restaurants around the world

Admit it: man cannot live on quinoa alone. We can smash all the avocados and home-bake all the sourdough we like, but sometimes only a Big Mac will do.  

For proof of that, see the controversy over plans to open a branch in the Vatican, where even Cardinals are in urgent need of their McFlurry hit, occasional appearance of the fabled McRib and of course swiftly delivered patties and buns. 

And despite its reputation as a purveyor of bland global monoculture, some of the world's 36,538 McDonald’s outlets are pretty darned dazzling – so to mark the release of The Founder, starring Michael Keaton as real life salesman who helped build the golden arches into an empire, and in cinemas from 17 Feb, we’ve whittled down the best places to clog your arteries in style.

Taupo, New Zealand

For many years this Kiwi branch sat for many years next to a car dealership whose owner bought this Douglas DC3 plane, presumably after it was known as Yogi Bear’s Spruce Goose. When McDonald's eventually bought him out, the plane stayed put, and now seats 20 lucky diners.

Hyde Park, New York

Built in 1795, this McDonald's was once known as Denton House, and has been everything from a funeral home to a (non-McDonald's) restaurant. 

By the late Eighties, however, the building was near-derelict, and McDonald's bought the plot with the intention of knocking it down. It wasn’t to be, happily enough, as local residents worked together to have the building declared a landmark, forcing the burger bosses to restore the building, and resulting in probably the only McDonald's you could imagine Jane Austen nursing a Big Tasty in.

Ulsan, South Korea

This McDonald's in South Korea, which also doubles as a petrol station, is seemingly precision-designed to make Nicholas Winding Refn hungry.

Lindvallen, Sweden

Drive-thru? So 1999.

We're far bigger fans of this McDonald's in Lindvallen, a resort town north of Stockholm, where you can ski through. Sadly, they don't serve schnapps, but you just know your Dime bar McFlurry won’t be melting in a hurry.

Porto, Portugal

"Two double cheeseburgers, one large Coke and a small dictatorship, please." Okay so the vibe outside Porto's Imperial (named after the imposing Eagle which sits atop the sign) McDonald's might feel a little militarian but this was originally a cafe back in the thirties before switching hands throughout the years and eventually becoming a Maccy D's in 1995. And look at that art deco interior. Just sublime. 

Times Square, New York

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Start spreading the news - Times Square's McDonald's was always going to have a lot to live up to, given it's in pretty much the glitziest place on Earth.

We are most happy to report that it doesn't disappoint.

Dallas, Texas

Ever wanted to eat in a giant version of a happy meal box, festooned with images of those McDonald's characters whose names nobody can remember?

Well, now's your chance. Get yourself to Dallas, and all your dreams will come true.

Downey, California

Rather charmingly, the oldest-surviving McDonald's in the world has been kept in its original Fifties decor, with the staff all wearing retro uniforms, and the original menu on offer alongside more modern offerings like chicken nuggets.

Fun fact: this restaurant opening in 1953, the same year Stalin died. Coincidence? 

Kristiansand, Norway

The Scandinavian rep for strong design even extends to their Maccy D's. Kristiansand's residents claim this one used to be bank, but until we see the evidence that it wasn't a temple for some mysterious and hostile ancient religion, we're not closing the book just yet.

Milan, Italy

Now this one just might be our favourite - or it would, had the Milanese authorities not booted out the golden arches to make way for a Prada store.

In true pugnacious fashion, the local McDonald's operation sued the city for 24m euros.

Roswell, New Mexico

Leaning into the town's UFO heritage, the McDonald's of Roswell is, as you can see, in the shape of a flying saucer.

Is this wise, though? What if our visitors return in search of their lost comrades, arrive to conduct their solemn duty, and find humanity munching on some nuggets in a mock-up of their fallen brethren's craft? Couldn't that be perceived as a little provocative?

Chicago, Illinois

More space age loveliness in the Windy City, where this McDonald's, better known as the world's only Rock 'N' Roll McDonald's, boasts a classic rock exhibit adjacent to the restaurant.