If you’re planning a Norwegian adventure for when travel restrictions ease, make sure your itinerary includes a visit to Under – the world’s largest (and in my opinion, the most beautiful) underwater restaurant. No wetsuit required…
Alongside my usual dose of wanderlust, I’ve been feeling particularly homesick lately. One of the things I miss most about travelling is the chance to eat incredible food in beautiful places. I’ve found myself reminiscing about my trip back to Norway when I got to eat at one of the world’s most amazing restaurants – five-and-a-half meters under the sea.
Under, which is in Båly on Norway’s South coast and an hour’s drive from Kristiansand where I grew up, became the world’s largest underwater restaurant when it opened in March 2019. I was lucky enough to visit with a group of friends just a few months later. Designed by the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta, this 40-seater fine dining restaurant looks like a sunken concrete periscope, submerged on the dramatic shoreline. Seriously, this is the kind of restaurant where you’d expect to see James Bond casually sipping a Martini.
We arrived in style in my friend’s boat – definitely the coolest boat I’ve ever been on and made in Norway, of course (talk about friends with benefits!) The scenery along the coastline with all the pretty summerhouses dotted around the archipelago is a breathtakingly beautiful experience in its own right.
After we arrived at Under and managed to pick our jaws up off the floor, we started making the journey deep under water to our table. Half way down, we were given an aperitif and we could see the water level on the window which showed us just how deep we’d already gone.
The dining room itself is stunning and fronted by a huge panoramic window, giving guests an incredible view of the North Atlantic’s marine life, with lobsters, cod and mini-sharks floating by as you dine. There is one set ‘Immersion’ menu with wine pairing, and every dish was a work of art.
The Head Chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard uses incredibly fresh seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, and of course the seafood is from the just the other side of the glass. Unsurprisingly, Under has won its first Michelin star since my visit.
Sitting at our table eating delicious food and watching the fish swim past us was a completely unforgettable experience – and one I can’t wait to repeat.