The guests of this immersed gourmet restaurant are invited to dine five and a half meters below the surface while the panoramic view of the ocean floor is providing the dramatic backdrop. When it opens next spring, Under Restaurant will be the largest underwater restaurant in the world and Europe’s first underwater restaurant. Snøhetta-designed Under Restaurant in Norway has opened online reservations for dates beginning April 2019.
The restaurant which will also function as a research center for marine life, is a tribute to the Norwegian coast and to Lindesnes.
The building designed by Norwegian architectural & design firm Snøhetta comfortably accommodates 80-100 guests. Muted lighting from the inside of the restaurant and installed on the seabed will help stage the wildlife flourishing on the sandbank outside the 11 x 4-meter panoramic acrylic window. Under’s Head chef Ellitsgaard will prepare innovative seasonal dishes that capture the essence of the pristine Norwegian coastline.
“Fresh ingredients and pure, naked flavors are of utmost importance to us. At the same time, we want to provide a gastronomic experience that ushers guests just beyond their current comfort zone – when it comes to new flavors”, says chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard.
“Just on the other side of our iconic window – the ocean is bursting with fresh delicacies from the sea, so the journey from the kitchen to the plate is minimal,” added Ellitsgaard.
“We will offer a set menu which will vary according to the seasonal ingredients we have at our fingertips. The menu will amount to around fifteen to eighteen servings, ranging from small gastronomic mouthfuls to larger more filling portions”.
The form of the building is encapsulated in a concrete shell with a coarse surface that invites mussels to cling on.
Under’s namesake holds a double meaning: In Norwegian, “under” can just as well be translated into “wonder.” Half-sunken into the sea, the building’s monolithic form breaks the water surface to lie against the craggy shoreline. More than an aquarium, the structure will become a part of its marine environment, coming to rest directly on the sea bed five meters below the water’s surface. With meter-thick concrete walls, the structure is built to withstand pressure and shock from the rugged sea conditions. Like a sunken periscope, the restaurant’s massive acrylic windows offer a view of the seabed as it changes throughout the seasons and varying weather conditions.
As visitors begin their journey through the restaurant they descend through three levels. From the entrance, where the tidepool is swallowed by the sea, guests enter the wardrobe area. Visitors are then ushered down one level to the champagne bar, which marks the transition between the shoreline and the ocean. This physical transformation is emphasized by a narrow acrylic window cutting vertically down through the restaurant levels. From the bar, guests can also look down at the seabed level of the restaurant, where two long dining tables and several smaller tables are placed in front of the large panoramic window.