9 Underwater Restaurants Worth the Dive

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9 Underwater Restaurants Worth the Dive

No matter how breathtaking the atmosphere of a restaurant, serious food lovers only care if the food is good. Well, these nine restaurants — which are underwater, or at least surrounded by water in an aquarium setting, by the way — are certainly worthwhile, for the food and for the unforgettable surroundings.

Al Mahara, Dubai

Photo Modified: Flickr / Sam valadiCC BY 4.0

Al Mahara, which means “the oyster shell” in Arabic, is a dining experience for all your senses. Located at the landmark Burj Al Arab Hotel, it boasts a floor-to-ceiling aquarium so you can watch a world of colorful sea life swimming alongside your table. Bonus: You’ve probably never had white sturgeon caviar… yet. If you’re going to splurge, do it here.

Aquarium Restaurant, Nashville

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This underwater dining adventure at the Opry Mills Mall, one of four Aquarium Restaurants around the United States (the others are in Denver, Houston, and Kemah, Texas), is surrounded by a 200,000-gallon aquarium with over 100 different fish species that swim around you as you dine. The menu at the Aquarium Restaurant features favorites such as crispy calamari, Southern-fried fish, and even a New Orleans po’boy. Bonus: You’re above sea level!

Cargo Hold, Durban

Part of uShaka Marine World in Durban, South Africa, the Cargo Hold Restaurant is a replica of South Africa’s legendary ghost ship The Phantom, inside the world-famous uShaka aquarium. Large windows offer a glimpse into the underwater world with awesome views of the ocean and shark tanks. Since much of the aquarium is located below the boat, the restaurant also gives off a sunken-ship vibe. Dine on freshly shucked oysters, Mozambique chilli prawns, or a mixed plate of ostrich and venison. Bonus: You get to go to South Africa to dine here!

Forbes Island, San Francisco

Located in the San Francisco Bay, Forbes Island offers “fantasy dining on and below the bay” for tourists and locals alike. Start with a wild mushroom ragoût with soft goat cheese and end with a berry napoleon with mascarpone crème. Not only is there an underwater dining room, but visitors can also make their way up a 40-foot lighthouse to appreciate the unique waterfront views of the San Francisco Bay area. Bonus: Giant palm trees and a white sand patio provide you with a total island experience.

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives

The world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant is located at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. The resort itself, which offers 12 restaurants and bars, was the first resort to build an underground wine cellar, the first to create an undersea restaurant, the first to invite world-class chefs and winemakers to the Maldives, and the first to establish a submarine cheese bar. Ithaa serves contemporary European cuisine (how about an aperitif of malossol imperial caviar to start?) 16 feet below sea level. Bonus: Bare feet are encouraged. But be prepared: it is also one of the most expensive restaurants in the world.

Ossiano, Dubai

Located at Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm, the award-winning restaurant Ossiano lets guests and locals alike dine as they enjoy an underwater view of the world-famous Ambassador Lagoon, home to 65,000 marine animals. Chef Luke Wonnacott uses flavors inspired by the Mediterranean and only the freshest seasonal ingredients. While you can find land items on the menu, you would be remiss not to indulge in their obviously fresh seafood, starting with the octopus carpaccio. Bonus: The restaurant will arrange for skilled divers to deliver an under-the-sea personalized message for those celebrating life’s special moments. Perhaps you can stop by Gordon Ramsay’s new restaurant, set to open in fall 2015, in the meantime. 

Sea Restaurant, Maldives

At the appropriately named Sea Restaurant at Anantara enjoy a first course of Maldivian lobster, foie gras, unagi, and truffles in a tempura roll, topped with sevruga caviar. Located on the ocean floor, Sea is a magical experience with 360-degree views of passing fish, turtles, and sometimes even sharks. Bonus: There are only eight tables, so if you time your reservation well, you might be the only ones in the place (well, aside from all the fish!).

Sharks Underwater Grill, Orlando

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A little closer to home, idine at Sharks Underwater Grill next time you’re visiting Sea World. Get away from “park food” in an awesome aquarium atmosphere while you enjoy grilled mahi mahi or a rib-eye steak. Bonus: You’re at SeaWorld!

Subsix, Maldives

Looks like the Maldives are in the lead for most underwater restaurants. Subsix, part of Per AQUUM, is set against the colorful seascape of the Indian Ocean. Guests have to take a boat ride before going below the surface. Enjoy private a Champagne breakfast; subaquatic lunch complete with sea bass, prawns, and wagyu beef; and a wine tasting. Bonus: At night, Subsix doubles as a club where you can dance among the turtles, fish, and coral reefs!