When researching the what to do in the Maldives, we spent most of the time researching the website of the resorts we planned on visiting. After all, in most cases, travelers land on a private island, and stay on that private island. During my research, though, I never thought we would end up in an underwater restaurant. About 5.8 meters underwater to be exact.
5.8 Underwater Restaurant
Just before dusk, we left the soft sands of the Maldivian island where we were spending our luxury holiday in the Maldives. We walked onto a jetty that juts out into the warm Indian Ocean. As we walked along, we looked to either side and spotted small, black tipped reef sharks, that seemed to be circling us.
Just before hitting Aquarium restaurant, where dined the night before, we made a left turn down another overwater walkway. This one offered views of Hurawalhi resort to the left, and the sea to the right. We crossed over several glass panels, which offered views to the world underwater, just below our feet. This was just a sign of what was about to happen.
Our server opened the double doors, almost as though he was presenting another world to us. And, in some ways, he was. We started to walk down a narrow spiral stair case, descending further and further away from the light above. Around each bend was a window offering the views that surrounded us. The first view included about 15% of the land above the water line, and I could catch a glimpse of the resort in the distance. The rest of the view was dark blue. We were descending into 5.8, the largest underwater restaurant in the Maldives.
After several more twists and turns, we arrived at the dining room. When learning about our underwater restaurant experience, I worried that I would suffer from claustrophobia. It’s been a recent occurrence, which has crept up during an MRI and a crowded flight to Ireland, as well as at other inopportune times. I did not want to ruin my once in a life time chance to experience dining in an underwater restaurant because of my “issues.” I was concerned that I would feel like I was eating in a submarine. My concerns were clearly unfounded.
Check out our YouTube Video to see more about eating in an underwater restaurant:
What It Is Like To Eat in an Underwater Restaurant
Once I stepped onto the dining room floor, I was mesmerized. Eight two-top tables, four lining each wall. A half moon shaped ceiling, high enough that Eric cleared it with no problem. And, the most important part, fish as far as the eye could see. On the left was a small coral reef, and a deep ravine that seemed to go on forever. On the right, a small boat, similar to a canoe, with coral and sea life surrounding it. And, fish. Everywhere.
The polite staff tried to their best to corral us, and the handful of other diners, to the table, to look over the tasting menu, to order wine. But, we were all too mesmerized. Obviously we had to set up our cameras for photos and videos, and obviously I was interested in the seven course menu we were about to eat. But, I couldn’t take my eyes off the fish.
Earlier that day, we took a brief little snorkeling trip around the house reef that surrounds Hurawalhi resort. I saw some fish, a star fish too. Generally an enjoyable snorkel. I know I would have seen more if I had taken one of the half day snorkeling trips on offer. But, while dining underwater I felt that I didn’t need to go snorkeling, and the photos I took on my earlier trip with our GoPro HERO4 Silver paled in comparison to what I was seeing during dinner.
Tiny, glowing bait fish. Bright yellow and black clown fish. Puffer fish. Large fish. Small fish. Red fish. Blue fish. Yes, dining in an underwater restaurant, and spotting the different types of fish was like walking through a Dr. Seuss book.
The food was well prepared. The service was friendly. Because the restaurant had just opened a few days before we dined, it seemed some of the service staff was just as amazed as we were with our surroundings.
We dined on oysters and scallops and steak, all as the sun set, turning the underwater dining experience into a more mystical one. A few well placed lights on either end of the restaurant illuminated the sea like I’ve never seen before. I am sure this is slightly similar to a night time dive, an experience I will most likely never have. For me, this was the perfect type of underwater experience. I was safe and dry. I was eating a good meal, with a nice bottle of wine, sitting and chatting, all while watching the underwater world around me. It was truly an amazing experience.
Where to Eat at an Underwater Restaurant
We dined at 5.8 during our stay at the recently opened luxury Maldives resort, Hurawalhi. The restaurant is named 5.8 because it is 5.8 meters underwater. Although there is one hotel that offers a deeper underwater dining experience (at 6 meters, go figure), 5.8 is the largest underwater restaurant. Even with my claustrophobia, I had no problems whatsoever, as the restaurant felt very spacious.
The 7 course set menu costs $280 USD. We were on the All Inclusive Plus package at Hurawalhi, so wine was included, although the meal was a surcharge. Although the tasting menu might seem pricey, everything is pricey in the Maldives, and this experience would be worth it! Dining underwater is one of the top things to do in the Maldives!
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We were hosted by Hurawalhi and the Crown and Champa resort family, but all opinions, yummy sounds, and fishy tales, are of course my own.