If you’ve heard of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, you’ve probably already heard about Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, the world’s first all-glass, underwater place to dine. The restaurant, which debuted in 2005, sits 16 feet below the water’s surface and offers 180-degree under-the-sea views. Ithaa serves a tasting menu, and you can opt for either a four-course lunch or a six-course dinner.
Needless to say, we felt like we couldn’t miss Ithaa Undersea Restaurant while staying at the resort. Read on to learn more about our experience!
ACCESSING ITHAA UNDERSEA RESTAURANT
We made a reservation as soon as we arrived at the Conrad since the restaurant only seats 14 guests at a time. I definitely recommend doing the same; even though our seating turned out to be half-full, you don’t want to risk missing the seating you want (lunch vs. dinner can be pretty different experiences, as I’ll get into below)!
Before our reservation, the staff asked us to wait at the Sunset Grill, which is connected to Ithaa by boardwalk. Ithaa itself doesn’t have much above the water other than bathrooms and a small hut for food prep.
When it was time for the seating, a staff member led us over to Ithaa and down a staircase into the all-glass room. If you’re a photographer, you’ll want to be at the front of the pack to access the restaurant before others step into your photo! The staff members at Ithaa are more than willing to take photos for you during or after your dining experience, but this is the only chance you’ll have to shoot the restaurant before guests sit down.
While there may not be many fish in the photo above, I promise, it’s not representative of the experience! There are all kinds of tropical fish, whale sharks and even rays swimming around and over Ithaa constantly, so there’s no need to worry about not seeing what you came for. On top of that, the restaurant does regular feedings, at which time fish will swarm the outside of the restaurant to get the food!
If you don’t want to pay for the full Ithaa experience or are just curious about what you’ll see, you can take the boardwalk from the Sunset Grill over to Ithaa any time and watch the sealife from above.
FOOD AT ITHAA UNDERSEA RESTAURANT
While the main attraction to Ithaa is the novelty, don’t overlook the food itself. From bread and butter all the way through dessert, every course we had was amazing, and that seemed to be consensus among other guests at the restaurant, too. Though Ithaa serves a tasting menu, it has both vegetarian options and opportunities to upgrade to fancier dishes such as lobster, so we were able to look around the room and peep a variety of different plates. The chefs artfully prepared each dish and accommodated all dietary restrictions, which staff members collect at the time of reservation.
LUNCH vs. DINNER AT ITHAA UNDERSEA RESTAURANT
We didn’t have much of a choice when deciding between lunch vs. dinner, considering that dinner runs more than $300 per person (I don’t have the exact figure, but some reports I’ve seen put it as high as $390!) Instead, we went for lunch, which was still pricey at $250 per person but offset by the $250 resort statement credit that comes with the Hilton Honors Aspire credit card (more on that in this post!). $125 per person still isn’t anywhere close to our idea of a reasonable lunch, but for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we were happy to bite the bullet and both agreed that it was worth it.
Aside from price, the other benefit to going at lunchtime was the visibility. Thought Ithaa lights up at night, it’s still much easier to see the undersea life in the daytime. If you do go for dinner, I recommend going as early as possible for optimal viewing!
One thing to note: It is both VERY hot and VERY bright inside of Ithaa in the day. There are fans around, but the sun still makes the room incredibly toasty. For proof, see below for my stick-straight hair doing its very best to frizz… and an extremely squinty Jake. Not our best, but it was the best we got!
Is dining underwater on your bucket list? Would you eat at Ithaa Undersea Restaurant? Let me know in the comments! >>
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