Plenty of restaurants sport great decor, but it's not every day you can say you ate with the fishes. Watching sea creatures glide past your meal can be a uniquely soothing experience, and several restaurants around the world are ready to provide it—whether that means actually descending below the surface of the ocean or eating in an above-sea-level world with a giant aquarium as part of the construction.
1. AL MAHARA // DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
in Dubai has added its star chef to the restaurant's name, and is now called Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara. Four-star seafood may be second to the view, however. The restaurant is at the Burj Al Arab hotel, but there are no windows. Instead, diners are seated around a floor-to-ceiling 700,000-gallon marine aquarium. Al Mahara is also famous for its prices, high even by Dubai standards.
2. SUBSIX // MALDIVES
is one of nine restaurants at the PER AQUUM Niyama resort in the Maldives. Located about a third of a mile offshore from the rest of the resort, it's also about 20 feet, or six meters, below sea level—hence the name. The only way to get there is by speedboat. You can enjoy lunch and dinner daily while relaxing in the anemone-inspired chairs, dance at the Underwater Glow Party on Wednesday and Saturday nights, or rent the whole place for a private champagne breakfast or dinner.
3. CARGO HOLD // DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA
How about lunch under the watchful eye of sharks? The Cargo Hold restaurant is part of the uShaka Marine World theme park, which boasts 32 aquarium tanks, with acrylic glass walkways leading to five shipwrecks. The Cargo Hold is nestled inside the stern of the Phantom Ship—a 1920s cargo steamer—with plenty of glass so diners can watch both the shark tank and a marine wildlife tank as they eat.
4. ITHAA UNDERSEA RESTAURANT // MALDIVES
at the Conrad Maldives Hotel on Rangali Island claims to be the world's first all-glass undersea restaurant (the name comes from a Maldivian word that means "mother-of-pearl"). The domed walls and roof offer a constant background of marine animals and coral scenery that can be enjoyed alongside lunch and dinner, all served 16 feet below sea level. Mid-morning cocktails are also on offer, and the place can be reserved for special occasions such as weddings.
5. ATRIUM BAR // BERLIN, GERMANY
The Atrium Bar inside the Radisson Blu Hotel in Berlin isn't underwater, but it definitely has an aquatic feel. The hotel atrium serves breakfast, and the bar is open all day. Hanging above the bar is a 80-foot-high aquarium called the AquaDom. The world's largest cylindrical aquarium contains a million liters (260,000 gallons) of salt water and 1500 tropical fish. Don't worry about it falling; the aquarium has been there since 2004.
6. AQUARIUM RESTAURANT // FOUR LOCATIONS, USA
For an underwater dining experience far from the sea, check out Aquarium, a chain of four restaurants, with locations in Denver, Nashville, Houston, and Kemah, Texas. In Nashville, you'll dine in the glass-enclosed sections of a 200,000-gallon saltwater fish tank. In Denver, there's a million-gallon aquarium. The various locations have tours outside of dinner, theme park rides, and educational programs.
7. SHARKS UNDERWATER GRILL // ORLANDO, FLORIDA
is a restaurant that adjoins the Shark Encounter tank at Sea World Orlando. The fish swimming by will likely be much bigger than the fish you order for lunch!
8. SEA // MALDIVES
The acrylic glass-enclosed SEA at Anantara Kihavah Villas is one of several restaurants at the Kihavah resort in the Maldives, but the only one that provides views of coral reefs at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. The octagonal restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and has the world's only underwater wine cellar.
9. 5.8 UNDERSEA RESTAURANT, MALDIVES
at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort is constructed almost completely of acrylic glass for a world-class view. The name comes from the fact that it sits 5.8 meters (about 19 feet) below the surface of the Indian Ocean. The walls and roof are domed for a spectacular view of the wildlife that calls the Maldives' coral reefs home. But it may not be the best place for a big group: The restaurant can only accommodate 16 people.