The underwater restaurant that takes design to a new level


Its 34-metre-long concrete walls are half a metre thick, and the panoramic window that keeps out the ocean so you won’t spend your evening worrying you’ll drown should it shatter isn’t glass, it’s acrylic. Acrylic, because it flexes and glass doesn’t. Because when you’re dining five-and-a-half metres below sea level, you don’t want to be sitting by a window that can’t flex.

You have to wonder what goes through the minds of customers at UNDER, a submerged restaurant in southern Norway that looks like some post-apocalyptic ruin or the result of a catastrophic landslip, as they tuck into their 18-course seasonal gourmet marathon that’ll cost about $430 if they go for the wine pairing.$zoom_0.131%2C$multiply_1.2169%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/e_sharpen:25%2Cq_42%2Cf_auto/cd3e17690b975f67bdb15d9fddc79a87de6ed3a3
The entrance is intriguing but only paying diners get to see the inside of UNDER.  Inger Marie

Yes, it’s expensive, but at least you’ll be spared fussing over a menu because the staff won’t even tell you what’s coming, and don’t always know themselves. The chefs at UNDER, and their pantry, the ocean, prefer to surprise.

It’s not the sort of place you can just turn up to, sit down and eat. There’s a six-month wait list, which should be expected when you seat just 40 people, don’t do lunches, and get worldwide press without spending a krone on advertising because the building you’re in is one of the most exciting new structures on the planet.$zoom_0.065%2C$multiply_2.0212%2C$ratio_1%2C$width_378%2C$x_0%2C$y_114/t_crop_custom/e_sharpen:25%2Cq_42%2Cf_auto/68cac30db01482cff5f259875924c0081b2e1016
The 18-course set menu depends on what's been caught on the day.  Stian Broch

UNDER is located outside the town of Lindesnes on Norway’s southern coastline. People fly into nearby Kristiansand from across Europe just to eat here. But truthfully? I suspect few really come for the food. Europe is hardly stuck for fine dining venues. You eat here because that’s the only way you get to see the building – from the inside.

How absurd to think they should do more than one meal a day here, with each dinner so intricate and requiring such intensive preparation there’s barely enough time in the day for its bevy of chefs to produce it.$zoom_0.092%2C$multiply_1.2169%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/e_sharpen:25%2Cq_42%2Cf_auto/d380033fda235e833deaa2695cc933b007e64e5e
The decor is provided by the submarine scenery.  Ivar Kvaal

UNDER was designed by the Oslo-based architectural firm Snøhetta and opened in March 2019. It rests on a seabed that is rich in biodiversity and will, in time, morph into an artificial reef as kelp, limpets, algae, molluscs and other marine life make it their home. Outside of meal times, scientists use it as a platform to study fish behaviour.