TikTok's Latest Restaurant Obsession Is The Middle Of A Norwegian Fjord

You can expect a visit to Norway to be filled with outdoor and nature-centered activities. However, if you want something completely different, head to the Salmon Eye, a metal bean-shaped structure close to Rosendal in the waters of the Hardangerfjord region. A fjord, for reference, is a valley-shaped inlet. That said, the Salmon Eye is technically an educational center where guests can learn about Norway's maritime industry in what is referred to as a "learning experience." It's also home to Restaurant Iris, which opened in June 2023.

Following its opening, Restaurant Iris went viral after TikTok user and opera singer Mari Eriksmoen (@marieriksmoen) posted a short video detailing her dining experience, which included a boat ride to the structure, scenes of the inside of the building, as well as the innovative food she consumed. Several social media users commented on her video saying, "This is literally 'The Menu'," a reference to the 2022 dark comedy film with Ralph Fiennes and Anya-Taylor Joy.

But alas, Restaurant Iris is not run by a murderous chef. Instead, it's the brainchild of Chef Anika Madsen, a young Denmark native who was previously the head chef at Fasangården, a Michelin-rated restaurant in Copenhagen. Needless to say, Restaurant Iris is clearly not your typical dining establishment and entails much more than eating.

This is what diners can expect at Restaurant Iris

On its website, Restaurant Iris refers to the experience it provides guests as "Expedition Dining." At six hours long, this is not something you should book if you have other pressing plans. The website explains that guests will first take a boat from Rosendal to Sniltsveitøy. This island is now home to Chef Anika Madsen, who noted, per Fishfarming Expert, that she gets culinary inspiration from her surroundings. She said, "Here on the Norwegian coast, I can explore a whole universe below the surface that I could only dream of in Copenhagen. This region offers some of the cleanest and most exciting seafood produce in the world."

In Sniltsveitøy, guests will meet Madsen at her home and have refreshments before heading to the Salmon Eye for what Restaurant Iris describes as a multisensory underwater experience. In a brief TikTok by user @haakonvaaga, this appears to involve watching a video before being led to the restaurant, which has expansive nature-filled views.

In an interview with Insider, Mari Eriksmoen dished what it was like to experience Restaurant Iris. She told the publication, "It was so extraordinary." Before adding, "I felt like I was going to the moon. I had this funny feeling that I was a part of something secret that soon would be a huge thing."

Dining at Restaurant Iris comes with a steep cost

A visit to Restaurant Iris is not for those who want to save money while traveling. According to its website, dining at Restaurant Iris will set guests back around $300. However, this is without beverages. Adding a wine pairing adds about $235 to the bill, and non-alcoholic drinks nearly $140. So what exactly is served at Restaurant Iris? Although there is no set menu, guests can expect to dine on 18 courses.

Before the restaurant's opening, Chef Anika Madsen explained (via Fishfarming Expert), "I am especially looking forward to working with ingredients like the invasive red sea urchin and all kinds of local seaweed and presenting them as a part of a fine dining experience. There is also a plethora of regional products like game meat, sheep's milk, and ciders that will have natural spots on the menu."

The Fishfarming Expert states that the menu has a theme: sustainability. Restaurant Iris posted one of their dishes, called "Feeding the Future," on Instagram. While it looks to be an art piece, the caption notes that it was inspired by sustainable farming, saying, "In this dish, we combine the young salmon fry with possible feed sources of the future: mycelium, chlorella algae, and insect protein." At the time of this publication, reservations for Restaurant Iris, which can only serve 24 guests at a time, are sold out.