Located about 16.5 feet below the surface, the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant off Rangali Island in the Maldives provides a one-of-a-kind dining experience with 180-degree views of the vibrant coral gardens.
From the surface, the restaurant doesn’t look like much. You enter through a small hut, which houses only a restroom and small food prep area. But when you descend the small spiral staircase into the luxurious restaurant, you will be surrounded by spectacular blue Maldivian waters.
The restaurant features a six-course set dinner menu, comprised of Maldivian cuisines that have Asian and Western influences, particularly European. Each course is paired with champagne. Because the hut above Ithaa is so small, hot items are cooked at another nearby restaurant.
Ithaa’s menu offers specialty dishes like Malossol Imperial caviar with sour cream and potato blinis; yellow fin tuna with lemon grass and sumac dipping sauce; and Angus beef with truffles or king fish with kataifi langoustines.
Desert is nothing short of extraordinary, with options ranging from chocolate fig dariole to a mascarpone infused with lemon grass espuma cream; macaroon stuffed with mangoes and berries; or lime and limoncello custard.
This all-inclusive six-course dinner option costs about $390 per person – earning itself a spot on the top 10 most expensive restaurants of the world. However, the restaurant also offers a four-course lunch tasting menu that costs about $238 per person.
You can enjoy these exquisite dining options while fishes, stingrays, turtles, and sharks swim around you and the floor-to-ceiling curved, transparent acrylic walls and roof. And bright lights inside and around the restaurant create a unique undersea glow at night.
Dinner typically starts at 6:30 p.m., with the exception of Wednesday and Sunday, when dinner starts at 8:30 p.m. It is easier to see more fish during the day, so most choose to dine earlier. While Ithaa is extremely popular, it is also relatively small and can only seat 14 people at a time, so reservations need to be made at least two weeks in advance. By special arrangement, Ithaa undersea restaurant can be booked for meetings or special events.
Since marine debris accumulates quickly, scuba divers clean the outside of the restaurant just before each meal so diners can have a crystal clear view of the remarkable underwater scenery.
By Samantha Mathewson