Soon you’ll have yet another good reason for visiting Southern Norway: Having dinner at five metres below sea level. “Under” in Lindesnes will be Europe’s first and the world’s largest underwater restaurant. “We’ll attract tourists from all over the world. That is our goal. I hope and believe that this will be the start of a new age for the travel industry,” says Gaute Ubostad, one of the founders of this very special restaurant project.
Along the coast of Baly, a small town on Norway’s southernmost shore, something like a sperm whale pokes out of the North Sea. But the irregular structure isn’t an animal. It’s the world’s largest underwater restaurant, preparing to welcome its first diners.
Under – expected to open to the public in April 2019 – has two aquatic claims to fame, depending on whom you ask. It’s Europe’s first underwater restaurant and the largest of its kind in the world.
It took about six months to construct the building on a barge near the coast. In July of this year, Snohetta, the designer, submerged the building 16 feet underwater and secured it to the ocean floor. Now the agency is completing work on the interiors.
Get Ready to Experience Under Water Dining
More than half the structure is underwater. Guests enter by land and then swirl down a suitcase and past a champagne bar to the depths of the submerged dining rooms. When it makes its debut, Under is expected to serve a menu of fresh seafood. Chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard will place an emphasis on fresh, local food, including mushrooms, berries, seabirds and sheep from nearby locations.
The concrete building is designed to be a positive addition to the marine ecosystem. It will double as a marine research center in the off-hours and its concrete walls will eventually become an artificial mussel reef.
The restaurant is already accepting reservations for its opening in April (and it’s already limited through the summer). If you’re looking for the most fantastic dining experience, the architects suggest checking the weather forecast before making a reservation. “I think the most exciting experience will be visiting the restaurant during rough weather,” Rune Grasdal, one of the architects of the building, told CNN. “It will be fantastic to see the sea surface broken up by the big waves and the rain, making for a very dramatic view – although you will still feel safe and relaxed inside the restaurant.”
Be warned: you’ll also have to plan how you’re going to travel to the destination restaurant. The closest airport, Kristiansand, is about an hour’s drive away. (But a boat service could be coming soon.)