Text: Angelique van Os
In the Maldives, they have been familiar with it for a long time. In fact, the exotic archipelago has no less than six (!) underwater restaurants: The Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Subsix, SEA, Minux Six Meters, 5.8 Undersea Restaurant and Edivo Vina. If you are closer to home and also want to dine sustainably in a sober but tasteful design below sea level, you can now visit the Norwegian Under.
The word Under means “under” as well as “miracle” in Norwegian. Both words come into their own at Europe’s first underwater restaurant, which opened its doors on 20 March 2019. The 34-metre monolith-shaped building was designed by world-renowned Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta. It is semi-submerged in the sea where it touches the ground five meters below sea level. The concrete construction already serves as an artificial reef, and offers sea snails and seaweed a new home.
Restaurant guests can see the underwater world around the Skagerrak archipelago from their table through the panorama window. Whether calm or inviting or wild and threatening, depending on the weather and the seasons, the sea can be seen from different angles near Norway’s southernmost tip.
Under’s culinary focus is on high-quality products from the waters of southern Norway, with fish and seafood as well as seaweed and other aquatic plants in the dishes. Meat and vegetables come from local farmers, who guarantee sustainability. Under’s chef is the Dane Nicolai Ellitsfaard, who previously ran the renowned Måltid restaurant in Kristiansand. For Under, Ellitsgaard has put together a 16-strong international kitchen team, which has gained worldwide experience in several Michelin award-winning restaurants.
For those who want to taste the taste of Under for themselves, please be patient, because for the coming months the exclusive restaurant – with associated prices – is already fully booked. Book well in advance.
Restaurant Under is located on the south coast of Norway, near Lindesnes, about 200 km southeast of Stavanger and about 75 km west of Kristiansand. In addition to being a restaurant, Under is also an institute for research into marine biology, sustainability and the ecological balance between land and sea.