My bucket list of restaurants around the world for a once-in-a-lifetime occasion just got longer. First, we had lunch at the restaurant on a rock in Zanzibar. Today, I’m inviting you for dinner at this eye-poppingly beautiful restaurant set inside a sea cave in the ancient Italian town of Polignano a Mare, in the foodie region of Puglia in southern Italy.

It’s the kind of place I would consider booking an entire trip around, if it wasn’t so eye-waveringly expensive (and had I not read how popular it’s become since writing this post…). Still there’s no doubt it has an incredible setting and there’s no harm in day-dreaming…

restaurant in italian sea cave

Just looking at this picture, I can hear the sound of rhythmic lapping water and the twittering of visiting sea birds, and can almost feel the slight chill of a salty sea mist in the air…

Side note: I wonder if any diners have been completely drenched by a crashing wave here and there while slurping spaghetti and sipping rose in their fine linen suits? (Apparently the restaurant has a strict dress code.) Italian food for thought…

The restaurant belongs to the five-star Grotta Palazzese hotel which has been open since 1784. Both the hotel and its fancy restaurant are set inside the largest cave in the Puglia region, which it’s thought has been used as the setting for lavish parties as early as the 6th century, by its original owner, a local feudal lord who liked to entertain fellow nobility, regal guests and fabled travellers.

I can just imagine polite tussling among well-heeled diners for a seat with a view. Because, who wants their back to the sea?

I checked the menu and like I said it’s not cheap. A three to four-course tasting menu costs between €190-€230 per person. Yikes. Dining at Grotta Palazzese is definitely either a once-in-a-lifetime splurge, or off limits for most of us! What I also discovered is a stay at the hotel isn’t as expensive as you might think, with standard double rooms starting from € 120. Not too bad, eh?

I hope you enjoyed your trip to the otherworldly restaurant inside a sea cave in Italy!

Find out more about Grotta Palazzese here.

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