Restaurant Grotta Palazzese

We have all seen the photo and the accompanying articles professing

you can romantically dine in a candlelit cave overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

The allure of that photo, a restaurant set in an unexpected location –

who wouldn’t want to go there? I certainly did.

It’s the Grotta Palazzese Summer Restaurant and it’s located in a hotel

by the same name in Polignano a Mare in the Puglia region of Southern Italy.

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Grotta Palazzese Polignano a MareTo be frank, we can’t deny the

fact that location trumps other

things sometimes and I

wanted us to see what all the

fuss was about.

There’s no debating that this

location is fantastic.

This restaurant was carved out

of the cliff’s limestone

centuries ago by the sea and

has hosted elegant dinners at the request of Italian nobility since the 18th century.

Today the natural sea cave, which is the largest of all the sea caves under the town of Polignano

a Mare, serves as a summer restaurant (it’s only open from May until October)

is sort of suspended between the town above and the Adriatic Sea 74 feet below.

See also, 8 Cool Most Visited Locations in Italy

Grotta Palazzese Polignano a Mare

There are only 6 tables with a prime view, so be sure to request one

when you make your reservation.

The cavern extends back beyond the restaurant,

which has just a handful of tables to keep the atmosphere intimate.

My friends it is much more atmospheric i tell you when it’s daylight

and you can appreciate the view.

You would be lucky to be seated at the sea view table,

after having been there, you’d have to agree.

Dinnertime in the south of Italy isn’t until after dark,

even when the sun doesn’t set until 8:30pm,

so you wouldn’t be able to see much beyond the interior of the restaurant.

There’s a fixed menu which you can plan to spend around $100 per person

or you can also order a la carte.

If you’re set on dining at Grotta Palazzese’s cave restaurant,

another great reason to opt for lunch is that you choose a la carte and eat lighter.

The menu is the same for both lunch and dinner and the average price per item,

including appetizers, is around 33.

Grotta Palazzese Polignano a Mare

Calamari fritti with watermelon

Let us start with the

calamari fritti,

It is surprisingly paired with

watermelon atop a bed of

salad greens.

The calamari is flavorful and

crispy. It works well with the

watermelon too.

The portion is a bit on the

small side for an appetizer

priced at 35 though.

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Grotta Palazzese Polignano a Mare

Lobster ravioli

Craving the delicious lobster ravioli,

that is so good I order it two nights in a row at Hotel Santavenere in Basilicata,

and you’d be glad you did.

I opted for the lobster ravioli with cherry tomatoes and crispy basil.

It lacked flavor and desperately needed some seasoning.

You could agree with me on this or otherwise it all depends on your flavor taste.

Grotta Palazzese Polignano a Mare

Tuna with burrata cheese

I could take on tuna with curry served with burrata cheese and drizzled with just of balsamic.

This dish is more flavorful, immensely helped by the curry,

and it’s hard to go wrong with a creamy burrata.

Grotta Palazzese Polignano a MareItaly isn’t exactly known for

their rosé wines (called rosato

in Italy), though they are much

more common in the south of

Italy and Puglia produces a

good selection.

A chilled glass of rosato is

perfect for a hot summer day

and 35 seemed to the magic

number per bottle of wine.

You could get your server to choose the one he thought is the best.

I bet you won’t be at all disappointed by the rosato.

Even though the restaurant is hosting you for lunch,

you can decided to skip dessert and opted to pop in to the gelato shop

around the corner from Grotta Palazzese.

Overall, their food is not terrible but it certainly was not up to par for the price.

At Grotta Palazzese you are clearly paying for the location and atmosphere.

My suggestion is taking in the atmosphere of the cave restaurant

by sharing a bottle of wine from Puglia at their bar instead of dining at the restaurant.

And if you want that famous photo of the sparkling aqua Adriatic

and the restaurant, head to the bathroom.

There are tiny little windows where you can stick your camera out to get the perfect shot.

Just be sure not to drop your camera!

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