© H. Armstrong Roberts / ClassicStock / Getty Images
Mike Pomranz
June 22, 2017

We all have things we look for in a restaurant. Usually swimwear and a claustrophobic atmosphere aren’t on the list, but hey, maybe the people behind what appears to be the world’s first SCUBA restaurant are just ahead of their time.

“The Pearl” is a two-meter wide, spherical restaurant at the bottom of one of the world’s deepest pools, built for training SCUBA divers, at the NEMO33 pool facility in Brussels, Belgium.  To get to their meal, diners have to gear up for the five meter decent underwater, at which point they hand off their SCUBA equipment before heading to their table, encapsulated inside a tethered pod.

Once inside, a server – who also has to be equipped with scuba gear to reach the tiny “restaurant” – serves dishes brought down in a special watertight container. Based on video footage from Reuters, all the food looks like it’s served in jars, but The Pearl still strives for a high-end experience – offering up items like foie gras, lobster salad and champagne.

“We are launching a new era of restaurants,” John Beernaerts, founder of NEMO33, told Reuters. Though apparently, getting to this new era wasn’t easy, requiring over a year of work to build, as well as to refine issues like the food delivery system. And it’s worth noting that while The Pearl is the first SCUBA restaurant, it isn’t the first underwater one. There have been a couple impressive submarine eateries in various far flung parts of the world.

After all that, the price actually sounds like a bargain: Just 99 euros (about $106) per person – though it isn’t specified whether that includes things like tip and scuba gear rental. Speaking of which, what do you tip a scuba diving waiter? I’m beginning to think this whole scuba diving restaurant idea is more trouble than it’s worth!

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