In 2013, I dined at Ithaa Undersea Restaurant at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, the largest, all-glass underwater restaurant in the world at the time. Then, 5.8 Undersea Restaurant at Hurawalhi Maldives opened in 2016, claiming to be bigger and better. The Maldives restaurant, sunken 20 feet deep in the lagoon, received rave reviews thanks to a Michelin chef, and while he’s no longer there, I recently dined at 5.8 underwater restaurant in the Maldives to see if it was any different from Ithaa.
While both restaurants have the same, oval-shaped design, gourmet dishes and expensive menus, they are extremely similar—but what makes 5.8 at Hurawalhi stand out (other than the size) is the vibe.
Here’s my full experience at 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, the world’s largest all-glass undersea restaurant, below. Also, I should point out that Under in Lindesnes, Norway, is considered the world’s largest underwater restaurant, though it is not “all glass.”
5.8 Undersea Restaurant: The largest, all-glass underwater restaurant in the world
This is the bridge at Hurawalhi that connects you from the island to the restaurant floating above sea.
Inside the foyer are photos of the restaurant’s construction.
Diners walk down a spiral staircase to the restaurant. I love this window that shows the water level as you descend.
The seating is at 6 pm. This is the best time since you can see underwater life before and after sunset. The resort was nice enough to let me go in a little early to take photos!
When you arrive to the restaurant, you can pick whichever table you prefer. This is the one I chose.
Notice the coral and fish just outside my window!
In the first 15 minutes or so, everyone dining here takes photos. Nothing is really served because everyone’s in awe and can’t be distracted from their Instagramming!
Also, what made the “vibe” different from Ithaa is that most of the diners were honeymooners and very chatty. We got to know a lot of people and became friendly the next day when we saw them out. It felt like we were having a communal, underwater dinner (whereas Ithaa, which was equally nice, didn’t really have much of a social atmosphere).
The servers brought us a guide to the fish we would see out the glass. I’d say we saw about half on this list.
Here’s the full dinner menu. It’s a set course of primarily fresh seafood.
You can opt to pay extra to have wine paired with each dish, which we did and have no regrets.
The first dish was tuna tartare, served on a glass plate served on another glass plate that had sand on it. Presentation was a 10/10 here.
I’m not a huge fan of scallops, but I ate this in like .4 seconds.
All the dishes on the tasting menu, like this smoked lobster and sea urchin mousse, were visually impressive. You’d expect this kind of plating for such an expensive dinner, and you’d expect refined dishes, which 5.8 excelled in, Michelin chef or not.
Presentation is everything! In fact, there was *too* much visual stimulation with the dishes and the constant seagazing, so if you’re dining here, expect to take tons of photos, like this red mullet with lobster bisque foam.
The lobster dish was my favorite. The colors popped, and the lobster was fresh. As you can see, it has the lobster claw, as well as truffle caviar, cucumber yuzu foam and smoked trout beet ravioli.
Service was excellent, and the selection of wines was memorable. After the sunset, the restaurant’s interiors were lit up in a compelling way. There was also lighting around the coral, where we saw a Moray eel and other night creatures. It’s a good time to tell you that 5.8 underwater restaurant in the Maldives is insane.
The restaurant after sunset. That’s a huge fish prowling above.
This is what the restaurant looks like from above the water’s surface, after sunset.
I loved how the underwater restaurant looks like a spaceship coming out of the water.
The entire dinner was about 3 hours long. I’m not a fan of long dinners but a meal here is more about the experience. From excellent, visually commanding dishes and impressive design, to the unique way to have dinner in a remote part of the world, it’s definitely worth the splurge.
Would you pay upward of $350 per person to dine here?
If not, here’s a secret. Hurawalhi offers free yoga and meditation classes inside. The resort used to charge a fee, but now it’s free.
So if you are staying on property and don’t want to dish out $250 for the dinner, you can still see how beautiful the restaurant is inside.
All photos by Jimmy Im.
Have you dined at 5.8 underwater restaurant in the Maldives? Let us know in the comments below!
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