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The World’s Largest Underwater Restaurant Is Now Taking Reservations

Travel + Leisure logo Travel + Leisure 9/10/2018 Cailey Rizzo
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Along the coast of Båly, a small town on Norway’s southernmost shore, something like a sperm whale pokes out of the North Sea. But the irregular structure isn’t an animal. It’s the world’s largest underwater restaurant, preparing to welcome its first diners.

© Courtesy of MIR/Snøhetta

Under — expected to open to the public in April 2019 — has two aquatic claims to fame, depending on whom you ask. It’s Europe’s first underwater restaurant and the largest of its kind in the world.

a swimming pool © Provided by TIME Inc.

It took about six months to construct the building on a barge near the coast. In July of this year, Snohetta, the designer, submerged the building 16 feet underwater and secured it to the ocean floor. Now the agency is completing work on the interiors.

More than half the structure is underwater. Guests enter by land and then swirl down a suitcase and past a champagne bar to the depths of the submerged dining rooms.

When it makes its debut, Under is expected to serve a menu of fresh seafood. Chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard will place an emphasis on fresh, local food, including mushrooms, berries, seabirds and sheep from nearby locations.

The concrete building is designed to be a positive addition to the marine ecosystem. It will double as a marine research center in the off-hours and its concrete walls will eventually become an artificial mussel reef.

a large body of water with a mountain in the background © Provided by TIME Inc.

The restaurant is already accepting reservations for its opening in April (and it’s already limited through the summer). If you’re looking for the most fantastic dining experience, the architects suggest checking the weather forecast before making a reservation. "I think the most exciting experience will be visiting the restaurant during rough weather," Rune Grasdal, one of the architects of the building, told CNN. "It will be fantastic to see the sea surface broken up by the big waves and the rain, making for a very dramatic view -- although you will still feel safe and relaxed inside the restaurant."

Be warned: you’ll also have to plan how you’re going to travel to the destination restaurant. The closest airport, Kristiansand, is about an hour’s drive away. (But a boat service could be coming soon.)

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