Updated: Sep 10
This post should be titled "Why everyone should eat in an underwater restaurant once in their lifetime" but that title is way too long. After this post, I am hoping that you add an underwater restaurant to your bucket list because we had an amazing experience.
There are so many places in the world that can be considered once in a lifetime places to go. The 5.8 Undersea Restaurant in the Maldives is one of those places. Because the Maldives is made up of a bunch of atolls, unless you are staying at the Hurawalhi Resort (where prices start at $700 USD a night) than the trek to get there can take you some time.
Largest Underwater Restaurant
Opened in 2016, 5.8 Undersea Restaurant boasts the largest underwater full glass restaurant. The glass dome sits 5.8 meters (or 19 feet) below the surface. The dome weighs 880,000 pounds and is 968 square feet.
My Lunch Experience
We were staying at a resort that required a boat ride over. The ride took about 20 minutes and it was crazy to see all the rain showers in the distance.
When we arrived from our resort, we were greeted by a resort host who walked us straight out to the restaurant. Don't expect to be able to wander around the island. We were greeted with a wine spritzer drink and asked to sit in the most comfortable chairs with the most amazing views.
The entire restaurant sits 10 couple and I was happy to see there were only four couples for our lunch. We were all escorted down a hallway (where I made sure to be first) where we were given a brief history of how the dome was constructed and even shown a piece of glass in the thickness that the dome was. We were asked to remove our shoes (which made the experience even better). We were then left by our host to walk down the winding staircase where we were met with the most amazing surprise! It is one thing to see the dome online but to see it in person, I felt like I was having an out of body experience.
Since there were only 4 couples, we were given the freedom to choose where we sat. We chose to sit at the very end of the dome where it appeared there was the most sea life. We were immediately presented with the 5-course menu for the evening where they confirmed if we had any food allergies and asked about our selection for the main course. Next came the drink list. We decided to share a bottle of red wine and then the courses started coming…
Course 1: Tuna Tartare: Seasoned wakame, wasabi sorbet, avacado puree
Course 2: Seared Scallop: Scallop ceviche, pickled zucchini, prawn coconut bisque, pea mousse
Course 3: Red Mullet: Lobster bisque foam, lemon confit, fennel & vanilla, bean puree
Course 4: Poached Lobster: Lobster claw emulsion beurre blanc, smoked trout beet ravioli, cucumber yuzu & galangal foam, truffle caviar (also an option for Wagyu tenderloin)
Course 5: Mango Cheesecake: cocoa cracker soil, mango ganache, coconut ice cream, rolled mango, wild berries, honeycomp tuile
As the courses came, we had to make a conscious effort to slow down and enjoy each course. They were so good, I wanted to shovel it into my mouth! As we were eating, we were distracted by all of the fish that were swimming around. It was so interesting being able to observe how the fish interacted and we even found ourselves making up stories for the fish. There was a giant fish that slowly kept swimming around the dome that we nicknamed the "Eeyore" of the sea.
After the last course, we took our time finishing our wine so that we could try and be the last couple in the room. Unfortunately we have bladders like small children and couldn’t wait any longer! We were the 2nd to last couple to leave but got some amazing empty restaurant photos to show for it!
Here are a few more details about 5.8 Undersea Restaurant:
What are the meal times: 2 Lunch times: 12:15 and 2:00 PM, 1 dinner time: 6:15 PM
How much is the meal: Lunch: U.S. $225 a person, Dinner; U.S. $280 a person
Can you visit 5.8 without a reservation: No, you have to be having a meal to be able to see the restaurant
How early can I make a reservation: The restaurant accepts reservations 30 days in advance
Tips for taking photos
It can be difficult to get photos where you don't look blue unless you are doing the dinner sitting. We ended up having two opportunities to get photos taken of us and the second set of photos are better. We waited until there was a cloud covering to get some photos. There wasn't direct sunlight shining down to tint our skin! If you can't seem to get it right, there are always photo editing tools where you can try and remove some of the coloring.
Are there more underwater restaurants?
If you want to visit an underwater restaurant, here are some other options to add to your list:
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant - Located at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Hotel
Sea - Located at the Anantara Kihavah Villas in the Maldives
Subsix - located in the Maldives, this restaurant is the first underwater club and is only accessible by boat from the Niyama Resort
Cargo Hold - Located in South Africa. You are technically not fully underwater but it feels like it
Al Mahara - Located in Dubai and not technically undersea but you are dining along a giant aquarium and may be easier to get to than the Maldives
Have you eaten here? Have you eaten at another underwater restaurant or "underwater" experience? If you are looking to visit the restaurant, click HERE!