Is Dining at The World's Most Romantic Restaurant Worth It?
Ristorante Hotel Grotta Palazzese is a restaurant you have likely seen if you have ever been on Pinterest. It is located in a cave in set on a cliff in Puglia, Italy’s Polignano A Mare, in a hotel by the same name. It overlooks the Adriatic Sea and is said to be the most romantic restaurant in the world - and I’d agree. So is it worth it or is it a tourist trap? Let’s break it down!
Ristorante Hotel Grotta Palazzese is located in the heart of Polignano A Mare, right on the water. To get to Polignano you will want to fly into Bari and drive in. There is also a train station in Polignano that you can arrive at which the restaurant is a short walk from.
If you plan to visit Puglia for more than just this restaurant (you should), I would suggest making Polignano your Puglia home base. There are many beautiful and cheap Airbnb options or you could even stay at Hotel Grotta Palazzese itself (opening soon)!
Don't miss my Puglia Road Trip: The Perfect Itinerary post if you are interested in seeing more of Puglia.
Ristorante Hotel Grotta Palazzese is open for lunch from 12:30 to 2:30 and for dinner from 7:30 to 10:30. It is, as they call it, the Summer Cave, meaning it is only open during the summer.
You will definitely want to make reservations, especially if you are visiting during peak season. During July when we went there were just two seatings per night - one at 7:30 and one at 10:30. Right now (in October), you can choose from 7:30, 8, 8:30, 9, 9:30, and 10. Regardless of your options, I would suggest dining at 7:30. This way you will arrive while it is still light out and you can catch the sunset.
You can make reservations on their site here. Do note that you cannot reserve a table in advance, they are on a first-come-first-served basis. When we arrived around 7 for our 7:30 reservation there were already dozens of people in line before us. But don’t stress too much! Every seat in the house is amazing (honestly).
It is "the most romantic restaurant in the world" so dress accordingly! Everyone was dressed up, although not strictly required. Shorts and sandals are prohibited for men, though.
MENU & PRICING
You might expect the food to be sub-par given that they could probably get visitors non-stop even if it was. But, to our surprise and delight, it was actually extremely delicious! They offer both a la carte options as well as two tasting menu options. We splurged a bit and got the 6 course “Instinct" full menu for 140 euro. It included:
- Croquettes of tuna tartare, apple vinegar powder, pistachio, stracciatella cheese and “Frisella” crumble
- Crunchy squid, beet cream, black inck “grissino” and mint oil
- Risotto ‘Vialone Nano’, saffron, dill pesto and sea bream
- Calamarata Pasta in original “Amatriciana” sauce with fresh monkfish, crispy bacon and Pecorino cheese
- Seabass, yellow pepper emulsion infused with pinewood essence and crystallized red cabbage
- Ricotta and pistachio cereal crumble and licorice sauce
Sound good? It was to die for.
Starters range from 40-45 euro, rice and pasta also from 40-45, and main course from 42-60. Do note that the site says you must either order one of the tasting menus or three courses from the a la carte menu. It’s certainly not a cheap meal, but it is worth it for both the food and for the experience!
You can find the full menu on their site here.
SO, IS DINING AT RISTORANTE HOTEL GROTTA PALAZZESE WORTH IT OR IS IT A TOURIST TRAP?
Totally. Worth. It. ! It is a bit on the pricier side but it was the most beautiful dinner I have ever had, the food was delicious, and it is a once in a lifetime type of experience. Do not miss it!
If you missed my Instagram story this day, check it out below to see videos from the restaurant!