Darling, it's better down where it's wetter ... or so declared Sebastian the musical crab. And if Ithaa Undersea Restaurant in the Maldives is any indication, the crustacean was onto something. The restaurant is exactly what you think it is: an aquarium-style underwater eatery where you can enjoy a 270-degree panoramic view of tropical fish — and no, you don't need to bring your scuba gear. One catch: it only seats 14 people, so make your reservations in advance.
Step Aside, Krusty Krab
Ithaa, located 16 feet below sea level, first opened its doors in 2005 and is famous for being the world's first all-glass underwater restaurant. The structure, which weighs 75 tons, was made on dry land in Singapore before being transported by ship and carefully dropped into the ocean with an additional 80 tons of sand ballast to help it sink. The cost of building the restaurant was approximately $5 million.
Ithaa's cuisine is described as contemporary Maldivian with Western and Asian influences. Items on the current menu include butter poached lobster, prawn tartare, and squid ink miso-dashi consomme. With a dining experience this unique, expect to spend some of your pirate dubloons. Lunch starts at $120 for guests of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Hotel, but it may be worth it, since you're also paying for bragging rights and plenty of Instagram material. If you do visit at lunch, take note: it's so bright inside Ithaa that both the waitstaff and diners need to wear sunglasses. They even have extra pairs on hand in case someone forgets theirs.
The Maldives is already famous for its exotic marine life; from schools of fish in the thousands to Whale Sharks and coral reefs. The first underwater cabinet meeting was even held in the Maldives in 2009 to raise awareness about climate change. So it should come as no surprise that tourism drives their economy. Now imagine watching a Manta Ray swimming by as you're snacking on caviar and sipping a cocktail. Suddenly the fact that Ithaa means "mother of pearl" in the Maldivian language of Dhivehi isn't all that surprising.