Five meters below the ocean surface in Southern Norway, the Snøhetta-designed gourmet restaurant Under is one of the world’s most unique attractions.
At Båly in Lindesnes, as far south as you can get in Norway, a unique restaurant awaits. There might be other places where you can enjoy food underwater – but they look like aquariums compared to Under.
With space for up to 100 guests in an area of about 500 square metres, the submarine restaurant is the world’s largest of its kind. Striking architecture, beautiful interior, and gourmet food have made Under an international sensation.
So much so that the prestigious magazine Forbes calls it “one of the most remarkable restaurants in newer time” before they go on to praise the “18-course tasting menu of the finest Nordic products” on their list of the 10 coolest places to eat in 2020.
Under is – like many other spectacular buildings – designed by the Norwegian architects’ office Snøhetta. Project manager Rune Grasdal explains that the most time-consuming part of the work process was to remove everything that wasn’t essential to the concept.
“We spent a lot of time making it simpler. The building’s function is to take people down to the sea bottom in a safe and easy way. It must be able to withstand the forces of nature – water pressure, waves, and rough weather”, he says, and continues:
“Snøhetta has also provided Under with furniture, colour palette, textiles, and other interior details.”
No wonder that the restaurant won the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2020 for Best new restaurant.
Through a large glass wall, you can see schools of fish gather around the structure. You also get the unusual pleasure of witnessing rain whip up the ocean surface – from below!
“It is a special experience regardless of the season and the weather. It’s obviously awesome being here in stormy weather, but also beautiful when the sunshine creates fantastic colour patterns in the surface. The experience will vary according to the time of day and year”, Grasdal says.
Inside the restaurant, the mood is safe, nice, and warm, with local oak tree as one of the prominent features.
The kitchen’s mastermind, Danish chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard, is basing Under’s menu on the rich nature in Lindesnes. Obviously, this means a plethora of fish and seafood, but also local birds, wild sheep, mushrooms, and berries.
“Our Norwegian specialities highlight the wonders of the sea and the unique blend of genuine Norwegian wildlife and berries. We keep with the changing seasons at the southern tip of Norway”, Ellitsgaard says, and ads:
“My team and I work in close cooperation with local farmers, fishermen, hunters, and harvesters to provide the freshest ingredients. This way we create flavorful, innovative dishes that reflect the landscape.”
Hear chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard talk about his culinary philosophy in the video below:
Even though Under is worth the trip in and of itself, there are lots of other things to do in Lindesnes.
One of the absolute highlights is Lindesnes lighthouse, at the southernmost tip of Norway. It is an excellent place if you like to feel the forces of nature – and beautiful sunsets. Swing by the visitor centre – or why not book an overnight stay?
You should also stop in the city of Mandal, where you’ll find the white-painted wooden houses and charming narrow streets that characterize the small towns of Southern Norway. Here, you’ll also find some of the country’s best beaches.
Under is situated a 1.5-hour scenic drive from Kristiansand, the region’s main city and transport hub.
Kristiansand has both an international airport and excellent ferry connections to Denmark and is well connected to the cosmopolitan cities of Oslo and Stavanger by train. You can also rent a car both at the airport and in the city.
If you’re driving from Oslo, follow the E18 to Kristiansand, then drive the E39 to Mandal and the Fv460 towards Spangereid.
From Stavanger, follow the E39 to Lyngdal, then drive the Fv401 towards Spangereid.
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