Grotta Palazzese, Puglia
Have you ever seen a restaurant that is just the most magnificent thing you have ever seen? Now I'm not talking about interior design and I'm not talking about beautifully presented dishes (even though this restaurant excels at that as well). No I'm talking about the whole package: location, staff, food, decor, mood, ambiance - everything. This restaurant is located inside a cave ! yep, that one that you have probably seen all over Instagram and Facebook, that restaurant you probably saved in your Instagram hoping that one day you will go but you never get around to it? The most unique and beautiful restaurant I have ever been to.
Grotta Palazzese is part of a five star luxury hotel, and is situated inside the cave or grotta facing the Adriatic ocean. You could not have more of a panoramic meal, where you have a 90° view of nothing but blue water. Be advised that the restaurant is only open from April until October as the water is too rough during winter season.
The decor is completely natural in order to favour its natural surroundings. The restaurant is spread amongst two floors with simple designs in order to not take away the importance of the view. The elegance of this restaurant adds to the luxurious nature of the place, making it one of the most popular restaurants in Italy.
As far as the menu is concerned, it is a labyrinth of food with an enormous variety of high quality dishes. You can opt for a tasting menu with 4 dishes for 120 Euros or 6 dishes for 140 Euros, or a set menu for 160 Euros.
The individual menu includes a starter section, a pasta and risotto section, and a main meal section such as kobe beef, tuna tataki in almond crust, sea bass and salmon fillet. We opted for pasta however as although the fish sounded delicious the pasta was something else. We had Risotto ‘Vialone Nano’, saffron, dill pesto and sea bream and Calamarata Pasta in original “Amatriciana”sauce with fresh monkfish, crispy bacon and Pecorino cheese. They were both out of this world. All the flavours really came though, the fish was incredibly fresh and the contrast between monkfish and crispy bacon was divine. I would highly recommend trying one of these past dishes as after all you are in Italy !
As far as deserts are concerned, this is the kind of place that even though you may be filled up, a desert is a must. We opted for a gorgeous chocolate mousse with dried raspberry and a caramel sauce. There were many other options such as an interesting take to the usual tiramisu, sorbets and ice cream.
You can really tell the effort in the presentation of the dishes, everything is carefully assembled and the attention to detail is outstanding. But the merit of the restaurant is also thanks to the staff, who are always there, attentive to your needs. You never have to ask twice about anything which I find an absolutely essential characteristic about a luxury restaurant.
Another thing I adored about this restaurant is the fact that if you come at 19.30 you can enjoy the sunset and the different lights. When it is still bright you enjoy the bright atmosphere of the restaurant and the sea and as the sun goes down you feel like you are on a different planet, I mean you look out in front of you and all you can see is darkness, with a few stars. The atmosphere becomes so intimate and romantic it is the ideal place to come with a loved one .
Whether your on a date, family holiday or simple business trip then Grotta Palazzese is the perfect restaurant for you. Just do not forget to book in advance as due to it's popularity it is also quite difficult to get a table. Furthermore, there are two booking times for dinner: 19.30 and 22.30. It is advised to come at 19.00 or 22.00 if you are hoping to get a table facing the water as the restaurant does not take table requests in advance. (Lunches are easier to book for as the restaurant is more popular in the evening). To book your table, click on the link.