Dining with the Fishes at 5.8 Undersea Restaurant

Shortly after Chris and I booked our week at Komandoo we caught word of a new resort that would be opening up nearby, and I have to admit I felt a tiny pang of regret and I briefly considered switching our reservations. Who doesn’t want to stay at brand-new accommodations where everything is shiny and fresh? But the more I continued to read glowing reviews pouring in daily for Komandoo, I couldn’t help but be curious about the slice of paradise with repeat guests returning multiple times despite all of the other choices out there.

We decided to keep our original plans (and we were beyond thrilled with that decision), but we found out that the new resort would be home to an extraordinary restaurant called 5.8 Undersea Restaurant and that we would be welcome to dine there. In my over-excitement, I immediately contacted them to make a reservation months before they even opened!

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On the last day of our stay at Komandoo, a boat picked us up promptly from the main dock and zipped us away for lunch at the neighboring sister resort, Hurawalhi. The 90-villa, adults-only luxury resort opened in December of 2016 in the Lhaviyani Atoll a few minutes’ boat ride from our island. Hurawalhi seemed at least double in size compared to Komandoo, so we were thankful to be escorted to the restaurant by golf cart, a much-appreciated mode of transportation in the mid-day sun.

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We headed along this walkway, and then we dove straight into the water to swim to our table. (Just kidding. The entrance to 5.8 Undersea Restaurant is within that building in the background.)

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At the entrance to the restaurant, we saw a sample section of the glass used to construct the tunnel-shaped walls and ceiling. The entire structure was built in New Zealand, shipped to the Maldives via cargo ship, and then lowered into the water in one piece. It’s currently the largest underwater restaurant in the world!

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There’s no need to hold your breath or wear scuba equipment to enter the restaurant, and you won’t even get your hair wet. A long spiral staircase descends down into the ocean where that thick glass encases the dining room at 5.8 meters beneath the surface of the sea. At lunchtime the room was lit with bright rays of sunlight, and we had the perfect viewing conditions for observing the surrounding reef. Schools of colorful fish circled and gazed in at the guests, and at one point a pair of sting rays glided straight overhead, but I was too busy savoring my lunch to capture it on camera.

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With five courses including snacks, appetizers, mains, and dessert, the menu provided a culinary adventure unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. The service was attentive yet also unobtrusive. We started by ordering a couple of tasty tropical drinks to enjoy while we identified the fish near our table.

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Our first course included a selection of snacks that weren’t specifically identified on the menu, so it was an exciting activity to try to guess what we were tasting. Actually, I’m not usually good at that. I tend to want to know all or at least most of the ingredients in my food, but I was feeling especially adventurous that day. And every bite was incredibly delicious. Not to mention the beautiful presentation!

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In the next two courses we were treated to shrimp ceviche with cucumber wasabi sorbet and then a gorgeous scallop with butternut squash, pinenuts, and raisins. Both wonderful.

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For my main I selected the sea bass and Chris opted for the Angus beef. I’ve never tasted such a perfectly prepared piece of fish in my life. I would eat it every day if I could. Chris thoroughly enjoyed the steak as well.

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Here is where the menu lost me a juuust little bit. I’m not a huge cheesecake fan, but I do like it every now and then. I was happy to try their blueberry cheesecake with blueberry ice cream for dessert, only this wasn’t a cheesecake anyone would recognize! I didn’t expect it to be sort of deconstructed (the swirl in the photo below is similar to a typical cheesecake filling), and I’m not quite sure the little puffs of pistachio sponge actually qualifies this as a cake. 😉 But it was so pretty, like a piece of art, and it was fun to try. The Baileys coconut praline, however, was amazing. I could have eaten a few more of those.

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After lunch we headed upstairs to the Aquarium Restaurant & Bar, another dining option at the Hurawalhi resort. (We didn’t eat or drink here, but this is where we paid our bill as guests from Komandoo.)

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We lounged outside for a few minutes while awaiting our golf cart escort back to the boat, and observed our surroundings at the resort. Hurawalhi is a beautiful, brand-new option in nearly the same stunning location as Komandoo. We were thrilled with our decision to stay where we did, but I don’t think you can go wrong with either option!

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If you do stay at Komandoo, I highly recommend a trip over to 5.8 Undersea Restaurant for this one-of-a-kind dining experience. At $150 per person for lunch and $280 per person for dinner (plus $25 per person for the boat transfer), it’s definitely a big splurge item. We originally made reservations for breakfast which was a little easier on the wallet and the menu looked amazing, but shortly after opening they decided not to offer breakfast so they graciously reserved lunch for us at the breakfast pricing instead. I’m happily checking this one off the bucket list!

“Just look at the world around you, right here on the ocean floor. Such wonderful things surround you. What more is you lookin’ for? Under the sea…under the sea…”

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