Located in Polignano a Mare, Ristorante Grotta Palazzese is built 74ft above sea level in a cave overlooking the Adriatic sea. Only open from May to October, it is labelled as one of the top restaurants in extreme locations and a must to visit in a lifetime.
Since it’s only opened seasonally, it’s very high in demand and recommended you reserve a few weeks to a month in advance to ensure you secure a table. We booked a few weeks ahead and nearer the date we realised we needed to change the time, they were kindly able to push back our reservation an hour.
When you book they send you the menu. This is convenient and in the case of any issues with the menu, you can advise them in advance.
While having an ever-changing menu, the restaurant’s sole focus is seafood. The province of Bari is famous for seafood, particularly octopus, so it’s guaranteed you’ll eat well.
We started we scampi and il polpo in due cotture, la pappa al pomodoro e la scarola ripassata (unfortunately I only have a picture of the scampi). It was my first time trying scampi, but what better place to try it at. The polpo (octopus) was bursting with flavour, satisfying taste buds I didn’t even know needed satisfying.
For the main we had Calamaro in griglia, hummus nero, ristretto di pompelmo e fonduta di scamorza affumicata (grilled calamari, black hummus, grapefruit shaving and smoked scamorza fondu). I cannot explain how good this was, the flavours bounced off one another. The tangy notes of grapefruit went marvellously with the scamorza, and the calamari was grilled to perfection (this is coming from a calamari critique). My boyfriend finished eating his first and his eyes were on my plate until I finished.
We ended the meal with to-die-for dessert. As I always say in every food related post, I’m a sweet tooth so choosing dessert is always a struggle I want it all! I went with the tiramisu and my boyfriend chose semifreddo (a bit like sorbet) with mango and berry sauce.
With our meal, we drank white wine from the Falanghina wine grape.
Straight away when you walk into the restaurant you are filled with a sense of peace from the sounds of the sea, love from the surrounding couples and the old school love songs revised in a jazz manner playing in the background and a relaxing feeling thanks to the mood lighting.
Unfortunately, the waiters seemed on edge which did slightly disturb the mood.
€€€€€ – in all honesty, you get what you paid for. A one in a lifetime experience dining in a cave, excellent food and a super-romantic setting.
What’s the most unique restaurant you’ve been to?