You Can Now Dine Under the Sea at Europe's First Underwater Restaurant

Eat an 18-course seafood feast under the sea at Norway's marine-set and -themed eatery, Under.
Sarah Ward
Published on March 24, 2019

"Darling it's better down where it's wetter" isn't just a line that The Little Mermaid fans have had stuck in their head for the last two decades. It's also the first thing likely to pop into the minds of anyone heading to one particular Norwegian restaurant. Now open in the coastal village of Båly in the country's south, Under plunges hungry patrons into watery surroundings, offering more than just the usual scenic vistas. At this eatery, diners tuck into their dishes underwater.

As first announced in 2017, patrons feast on seafood under the sea. If you're going to open a space underneath the ocean, you have to serve up the fish, which is just what head chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard is doing. There's just one food option, with a seasonal set menu serving up 18 courses and taking around four hours to get through — with optional wine or juice pairings.

Here, however, the surroundings are as much of a drawcard as the cuisine. Visitors descend down three colour-coded levels to sip sparkling tipples in a champagne bar that boasts views of the shoreline, then enjoy dinner in the completely submerged dining room. The latter sits five metres below the water's surface, and is surrounded by panoramic acrylic windows for quite the aquatic view.

For those wondering about pressure and safety, metre-thick concrete walls will keep everyone nice and dry, in a structure designed by architecture firm Snøhetta. Describing the space as "a sunken periscope", the building was constructed not only to wow those stepping foot inside, but to fit in with its surroundings. The grey exterior colour scheme is designed to blend in with the rocky coastline, with coarse surfacing that encourages molluscs to cling on. Indeed, over time it's hoped that Under will become an artificial mussel reef.

As well as offering quite the place to eat, the project also aims to champion biodiversity, functioning as a research centre for marine life. This includes informational plaques educating visitors about the area, helping to expand not only the list of places you've tucked into a meal, but your knowledge.

Bookings are open — start planning your next Scandinavian trip now.

Images: Snohetta.

Published on March 24, 2019 by Sarah Ward
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