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A look at Europe's first underwater restaurant

Want dinner with a different kind of view? Book a table at Under and you'll be dining with the fishes

By Ronan O'Shea
photographs by Under, Snøhetta
Published 15 Apr 2019, 08:00 BST, Updated 22 Jul 2021, 11:25 BST

Until now, the windswept Norwegian region of Lindesnes was best known for its picturesque lighthouse. However, another landmark is set to put the area on the culinary map as the fine-dining restaurant, Under, finally opens its doors.

Dramatically half-submerged into the Atlantic, the brutalist restaurant is Europe’s first — and the world’s largest — underwater eatery, its dining room plunging almost five metres below the surface. It’s a collaboration between architects Snøhetta, founders Gaute and Stig Ubostad and a group of marine biologists, and almost everything channels a central concept of being ‘short-travelled’, from the locally cast steel stairways to the walls made of a regional variety of oak. The food follows suit, too, thanks to head chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard carrying the ‘keep it local’ ethos through to the kitchen. Diners can expect seafood, but it’ll be the ocean’s unsung marine life such as ling, squat lobster and stone crab that will take centre stage on the innovative menu.

Photograph by Under, Snøhetta

However, it’s not all about the menu. Marine biologists have worked hard to ensure Under exists in harmony with its nautical neighbours: the concrete exterior will develop into an artificial reef for mussels, who will in turn help to filter the water and attract more marine life to that breathtaking panoramic window.

Ready for service at the world's largest underwater eatery
Photograph by Under, Snøhetta

Something more far-flung...

Head to Subsix in the Maldives, where you can dine alongside a floating cast of turtles, eels, and damselfish. The underwater restaurant sits six metres beneath Niyama Private Islands and is only reachable by speedboat. Don’t miss one of the twice-weekly Underwater Glow Parties for a surreal, cerulean night out.

Published in the May 2019 of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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