Best 8 Underwater Restaurants in The Maldives You Must Visit
The world of luxury dining was changed seemingly overnight in 2005 with the opening of the world’s first underwater restaurant in the Maldives. A New Zealand design consultancy by the name of M.J. Murphy Ltd ideated and brought life to a fantastical dream at a resort in Maldives. This marked the beginning of a new luxury dining era, and people from all over the world either rushed to Maldives to try it out or started building their own underwater experiences in Underwater Restaurants in The Maldives.
It gained popularity quite fast due to the unique nature of dining underwater. Feast upon five-star or Michelin-level dishes as you face the ocean through a large glass window, with the colourful marine flora and fauna entertaining you in all its splendour.
How Much Does An Underwater Restaurant Cost in Maldives?
Due to the restaurants being underwater, while also being in one of the most premier holiday destinations in the world, the restaurants do cost a pretty penny. Every restaurant has their menu items between the low to mid hundred Dollars (USD) which is excluding beverages.
There are other factors that can influence the pricing of the restaurants. Some of these restaurants have a Michelin-starred chef at the helm either making well-known delicacies or they’re experimenting with the ingredients they have acquired, taking your taste buds on a culinary adventure where 5-star meals are the norm.
Another reason can be due to the fact that a lot of these underwater restaurants in the Maldives are some of the world’s first constructions in one area or another, such as the world’s first underwater restaurant, the world’s first underwater nightclub / restaurant, and so on. The exclusivity of it all certainly lends itself to the underwater fantasy. For more details on the actual pricing, check out this blog post.
Which Maldives Islands Have Underwater Restaurants?
There’s a few islands, namely eight, that host these architectural marvels where the locations were perfect for this type of construction.
1. Kihavah Huravalhi Island
Kihavah Huravalhi Island is located at Baa Atoll, which is at the central western section of Maldives. It can be reached via seaplane from Velana International Airport.
Baa Atoll is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, due to its amazing biodiversity in its reefs, turtles, fish, whale sharks, seabirds and manta rays. The atoll is also famous for its diving spots and gets regular tourists and customers that want to explore these beautiful waters.
Because of Kihavah Huravalhi Island’s location, this was seen as a prime spot to open up an underwater restaurant in the Maldives. The reef on the island is top tier and is already in use for diving and snorkelling. Add an underwater restaurant on top of that and you get a scenic beauty that is nearly unmatched.
2. Rangali Island
Located at Alifu Dhaalu Atoll (also known as Southern Ari Atoll), this area is known for its larger marine wildlife where divers go to swim and interact with. Wildlife such as manta rays, whale sharks and hammerhead sharks are abundant and you will more often than not come across these magnificent creatures.
Rangali Island’s coral wildlife makes it a prime spot within South Ari Atoll for scuba divers, while also being a decent spot for watersports, due to its large lagoons and fantastical sights. The view is just as good above water as it is underwater.
If you’re an avid diver or just enjoy adrenaline pumping experiences above water, Rangali Island has the right ingredients for a good time above or below the water.
3. Hurawalhi Island
Another northern island located at Lhaviyani Atoll makes its mark with its varying marine life and crystalline waters. Due to the clarity of the water, Lhaviyani Atoll is known for hosting various watersports activities and dive sites such as Kuredu Express, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that is home to sharks, manta rays and large schools of fish.
Hurawalhi Island has a long reef with a neighbouring sandbank right next to the island. The underwater scenery is fully taken in by the underwater restaurant on this island, as it is made of glass with a 180 degree view of the ocean world. Different species of fish swim near and around the restaurant, making it feel like the ocean is an aquarium for you to enjoy while you dine on delectable meals.
4. Huluwalu Island
Huluwalu Island is located at Dhaalu Atoll, known for its scuba diving potential. Huluwalu Island itself is located at quite a secluded location, with almost no other island being visible around it, making this an exceptionally private and romantic setting.
Huluwalu has another island right next to it which is also occupied by the same resort as Huluwalu. One of the islands is utilised for a more family oriented holiday, while the other is more for a romantic getaway.
There is a larger submerged sandbank that surrounds the main island, making this island viable for all sorts of construction projects such as an extensive amount of overwater villas. The sandbank also provides slight protection from stronger waves and while that’s the coral reef’s job, it doesn’t hurt to have an extra layer of protection.
Due to the island being secluded, going for watersports or underwater activities can be quite thrilling as there wouldn’t be as many people around. This would make for a nice and quiet trip, celebrating and having fun with your significant other, family or friends.
5. Nakachchafushi Island
Nakachchafushi Island is located at North Male’ Atoll, where a speedboat will take you to the island from Velana International Airport in 30 minutes. This island has a house reef that teems with underwater wildlife, in the form of colourful corals and multiple species of fish.
The island also has two turquoise lagoons before the vast ocean takes over the background in all its salty glory.
6. Maadhoo Island
Maadhoo Island is located at South Male’ Atoll and is surrounded by a kilometre of shallow cerulean water, making this area an amazing place to go for a swim. The beach of this island is perfect for picnics, sunbathing, sea fishing and more.
The island itself has an abundance of tropical vegetation, with coconut trees and other flora calling it home. It is also quite large in terms of length, which allows for exploration within its jungle so anyone with an appetite for adventure will feel right at home.
7. Lobigili Island
Lobigili Island is located at Male’ Atoll, a mere 15 minute speedboat ride away from Velana International Airport. It’s nicknamed the ‘island of love’ due to the name Lobigili’s translation in the Maldivian language. ‘Lobi’ means love and ‘gili’ means island!
The house reef of this island is also a wonder to behold, allowing for diving and / or snorkelling enthusiasts an absolutely sublime environment to enjoy a colourful underwater world.
8. Uthurumaafaru Island
Located in Raa Atoll, which is an atoll located up north, Uthurumaafaru Island is a 600 metre long abode for a romantic retreat to island life. Even then, it has a large enough coastline that is stretched out with an extremely fine-sanded beach, making it a wonderful place to go on barefoot sunrise or sunset walks with your partner.
There is a large house reef that extends beyond the island itself, giving the island even more wiggle room for people to indulge in underwater and overwater activities.
8 Underwater Restaurants in Maldives
Let’s talk about the restaurants and what they have to offer their guests. Here are the 8 best underwater restaurants in the Maldives!
1. H2O by Chef Andrea Berton
Located at You & Me by Cocoon Maldives, H2O is the first underwater restaurant in the world that has a Michelin-star chef (Andrea Berton) at the helm.
Take a short boat journey to the entrance of the restaurant, where you descend six metres / 19 feet from the surface of the ocean to be greeted by a colourful world of coral and fish. If you’re an ocean and food enthusiast, you are going to feel right at home.
Seating 20 people, the restaurant offers immersive 360 degree views into the ocean while you order from a menu that is inspired by Maldivian and Italian flavours.
H2O is mainly used as a restaurant but if needed, it can also function as a wedding or birthday venue, along with any other celebrations you might want to host.
2. Only BLU
Only BLU is the largest underwater restaurant in the Maldives and is located at OBLU Select Lobigili Maldives. The restaurant itself can be accessed by a wooden jetty that rests in between the OBLU SELECT Lobigili and OBLU XPERIENCE Ailafushi resorts.
The restaurant showcases ocean views 6.8 metres / 22.3 feet beneath the surface of the ocean and offers couples their own window to look into an uncompromising beautiful terrain of coral and other marine wildlife.
When you enter the restaurant, you are greeted with a glass of sparkling wine and a set of appetisers to get you started. There are three menus for the restaurant covering meat, seafood and vegetarian flavours in a Prix Fixe style so you get to choose what you feel like eating.
3. M6m – Minus Six Metres
Enjoy lunch or dinner six metres / 19 feet below sea level with M6m. The restaurant is located at OZEN LIFE MAADHOO Maldives and is included in their All-Inclusive Meal Plan, making it easier for people to access this culinary marvel.
Before you even enter the restaurant, you are taken to the M6m Lounge, where you are brought some top tier caviar and champagne to chase it down with as a warmup to the rest of the meal.
When you get to the restaurant, you’ll be surprised to see that your table and seat are facing the window to the ocean, with tall chairs providing a sense of privacy as you gaze into the sea. Low lights from the inside and outside the restaurant into the ocean provides a relaxing and romantic environment for you and your partner.
A five course meal awaits, laden with seafood options straight from the Maldivian ocean.
4. Immerse… Latitude 4°
Immerse… Latitude 4° isn’t necessarily a restaurant, rather a bespoke dining experience at Huvafen Fushi Maldives. Their spa is transformed into a one-table venue where a couple enjoys a private underwater dinner experience eight metres / 26 feet below sea level and 4° from the equator.
Take a short stroll over the turquoise lagoon before you walk down into luxury. A panoramic window into the ocean sets the scene, with a coral filled background adding to the ambiance.
The resort’s executive chef meets with you prior to the meal and constructs a menu based on your tastes, with their sommelier recommending wine pairings to go along with the carefully crafted dishes.
Not only is SUBSIX an underwater restaurant, it is also a bar & nightclub, which is how it first started out in 2012, becoming the world’s first underwater nightclub. It was revamped to include a restaurant in 2014 and has been serving amazing cuisine, drinks and party vibes ever since.
It is located at Niyama Private Islands Maldives, 500 metres / 1,640 feet off the island’s coast and 6 metres / 19 feet below sea level. A quick ride on a speedboat is all that’s needed to access the entry, where you’ll be greeted with a staircase that’ll take you down to this underwater location.
Inside, a luxurious marriage of the ocean, restaurant and nightclub ambiance awaits. Chandeliers that look like corals adorn the ceiling along with capiz shells. The chairs reflect sea anemones, offering comfort as you dine in this underwater dream. The middle of the venue has a bar that was inspired by clams, with glowing lights that change as the day goes on.
Enjoy weekly party nights, lunches, dinners, wine tastings and more as they cater to an event that the guests may wish to host. They offer an On-Request Breakfast, Subaquatic Lunch Menu, a Beverage Menu and a Kids Menu, covering Seafood and International cuisines.
6. 5.8 Undersea Restaurant
The reason why the restaurant is called 5.8 is because that is the depth at which it is located. Hurawalhi Island Resort Maldives proudly houses this underwater fantasy, which has been creating ever-lasting memories since 2016.
Hailed as the largest underwater restaurant in the world, 5.8 hosts not only people who want to dine there, but guests also have the option to experience / host a wedding, meditation / yoga session, and even work related events. The restaurant has an acrylic dome, allowing for a full view of the surrounding sea, along with a sunken dhoani (Maldivian word for ‘boat’) that adds to this mesmerising background of fish and coral reef.
With an occupancy of just 20 people / 10 couples, you get to enjoy European, Fusion, International and Seafood cuisine in a romantic ambiance that also offers a bit of privacy between you and your partner.
7. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
Welcome to the world’s first underwater restaurant which opened in 2005 at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Ithaa, meaning the ‘mother-of-pearl’ in the Maldivian language is a restaurant with a 180-degree acrylic dome that rests 5 metres / 16 feet below sea level.
Reserve a seat for you and your partner at this 14-seated marvel, whether you just want to have lunch, dinner or if you just want to indulge in a mid-morning champagne hour. The restaurant also hosts weddings, private events and special occasions upon request.
The restaurant observes a barefoot policy and chic clothing for the sake of comfort. Enjoy natural sunlight streaming through the ocean surface when you’re having lunch, dining on Western-Maldivian fusion meals as the denizens of the ocean entertain you.
8. SEA Underwater Restaurant
Constructed in the shape of an octagon to give guests an optimal view of the cerulean sea, SEA is known as the world’s first underwater wine cellar and restaurant, located 6 metres / 19 feet below sea level at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas. The windows were made to be lower than the tables guests would dine at and wider than their peripheral vision, which gives the illusion that they are sitting right on the reef itself.
Fish such as lionfish, clownfish, parrotfish, moray eels and more swim around the reef, offering a colourful underwater display. The chairs of this establishment come with a lumbar pillow that has been hand embroidered using leopard wrasse, filefish, angelfish and groupers.
The restaurant has a seating capacity of 20 people, offering degustation setting courses set in Maldivian and International cuisines. The wine cellar has rare and vintage bottles from 15 countries spanning 275 labels, making this restaurant a wine-lovers dream.
How Many Undersea Restaurants Are There in Maldives?
Currently, there are eight underwater restaurants in the Maldives. At the time of writing, there has been no news of any other underwater restaurants being under development in Maldives.
Tips for Dining at Underwater Restaurants
Dining at an underwater restaurant or staying in underwater hotel in Maldives is quite exclusive and prestigious so there are a few things you should keep in mind if you want to dine at one.
First thing is to make sure that you plan a few days or so ahead and book a seat for you and your partner. It shouldn’t be of any surprise if you find yourself looking down the barrel of a long waiting list for something like this so if you’re the type of person who really doesn’t want to miss out on something as special as this. Perhaps converse with the resort staff to get an idea as to the popularity of the establishment.
Another thing you should do is to take a look at any sort of review on the restaurant you want to go to. Search up articles, blogs, anything will do as long as another person has already been there to fully experience it.
Some places will do rotating menus or the chef will switch up the menu in accordance with the sort of ingredients they have so it’s vital to let the restaurant know of any sort of allergies you may have to avoid any sort of incident. This should be done while you’re making your booking for considerations sake. The restaurant should be able to accommodate your allergies so it shouldn’t be an issue.
And that’s about it for the underwater restaurants in the Maldives. Going for a unique experience such as this is a once-in-a-lifetime event and it’s important to get as much information as you possibly can to get the most out of it. We at MadlyMaldives hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog!