Lonely Planet Writer

Get the first look at Europe’s first restaurant under the sea in Norway

Underwater restaurants have been a feature in the UAE, the Maldives and the United States, but now Europe is getting in on the act with a restaurant underneath the ocean planned for Båly in southern Norway.

The ‘Under’ restaurant will be submerged on the Norwegian coastline. Image by Snøhetta

The restaurant is named ‘Under’ as the Norwegian word for ‘under’ can also be translated into ‘wonder’. Half of the restaurant will be submerged into water, resting five metres beneath sea level and diners can look out onto the ocean through huge windows.

The walls will be made of metre-thick concrete which will resist the pressure and changes of Norway’s rugged coastline. As guests walk towards the restaurant entrance, they can read information about the local marine biodiversity and coastline before descending one level to the champagne bar.

Diners will get an incredible view of marine life. Image by Snøhetta

From here, they can look down at the dining area of the restaurant, lying just above the seabed. Naturally, the menu will be centred around locally-sourced seafood like cod, mussels, lobster and kelp that tastes like truffles.

The design of the building has also taken environmental concerns on board. The coarse concrete around the submerged structure was chosen to make it easy for mussels to cling to and it’s hoped in time it will flourish into a full artificial reef, attracting even more marine life. Researchers will also be visiting the site to try and optimise conditions for sealife.

The underwater restaurant is designed to withstand the wild Norwegian weather. Image by Snøhetta

The design of the restaurant has been selected to evoke images of the sea. At the upper level of the restaurant, the colour palette will reflect the coast and as the guest descends closer to the seabed, it will change to darker green and blue hues.

The underwater restaurant is being designed by Snøhetta, the award-winning architecture firm responsible for the Norwegian National Opera and the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York City.

Technically Europe does have another underwater restaurant – the Pearl in Brussels – but diners there must have a diving diploma and the view of the pool is markedly different to the Norwegian ocean.