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Europe's first underwater restaurant is making the right waves

March 22, 2019 12:36 IST

Five metres below the surface of the North Sea, near the southernmost tip of Norway, Europe's first underwater restaurant is now complete.

Welcome to Under -- Europe’s first underwater restaurant.

Designed by Norwegian outfit Snøhetta, the building is part-sunk into the sea and is encased in a concrete shell designed to withstand the harsh conditions on the seabed of Norway's rugged southern coast.


Take a tour of the fascinating place.

The underwater spectacle took 18 months to build. Likened to a sunken periscope, the 34 metre (111 ft)-long restaurant was built atop a barge a short distance from where it now rests in what sounds like an impressive work of engineering. Photograph: Lefteris Karagiannopoulos/Reuters

More than half of the structure is submerged, and guests gain access through a glass walkway that will bridge the gap between the coast and the entrance, which is at shore level. Under is made of reinforced concrete, to withstand the harsh conditions found in this spot of the Norwegian coastline. Photograph: Tor Erik Schroder/NTB Scanpix/Reuters

Visitors enter into an oak-lined foyer before descending down a staircase into the restaurant proper. In the bar, a window is cut into the side of the wall vertically, extending from above sea level down to the seabed. Finally, in the restaurant at the bottom, a large panoramic acrylic window enables diners to gaze at the ocean floor at a depth of 5 m (16 ft) below the water's surface. Photograph: Tor Erik Schroder/NTB Scanpix/Reuters

Under can welcome 35 to 40 guests every night but you might be waiting a while to experience it yourself. Reservations opened in November 2018 and most days until the end of August are fully booked. The menu is firmly fine-dining but with a focus on high-quality, local ingredients that are sustainably-collected. The menu is a set seasonal one and chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard promises “fresh ingredients and pure, naked flavours” that showcase the seasons and the produce of that area. Photograph: Lefteris Karagiannopoulos/Reuters

In addition to serving as a restaurant, Under will host marine research. The aim is to use cameras and other instruments installed on its facade to collect data that can be used to monitor the population of marine life. Photograph: Lefteris Karagiannopoulos/Reuters

Interior lighting is muted and discreet to avoid such reflections, and colours are chosen accordingly, with oak wood and fabric covering the walls to avoid glaring white spots. Photograph: Tor Erik Schroder/NTB Scanpix/Reuters