While we can never say no to things that make us happy, such as adorable dessert-inspired bags or pretty espadrilles, we believe that collecting experiences is the ultimate goal in life. And what better way to do that than to travel to places you’ve never been, and savouring food you’ve never tasted before?
Our never-ending search for places to visit and unique experiences to try, has led us to put together this guide to cave restaurants around the world . We understand that having dinner in an enclosed, and potentially dark, cave might not be everybody’s cup of tea, especially for those with claustrophobia. Which is why we’ve also included a gorgeous Thai restaurant just sitting in the shade of a cave, with tables set further out towards the beach for your comfort. Take it as a stepping stone before going for the full-on cave escapade.
Given the rarity of caves that are wide enough or stable enough to house a restaurant, these eateries are scattered around the world, with spots in Thailand, Italy, Kenya, Jamaica and Spain. There’s a beautiful seaside cave on a coast in Italy overlooking the Adriatic Sea, a cave restaurant cum music performance hall in Spain, and even private dining caves in Jamaica for an evening to remember.
So if you’re looking for something completely different to try on your next adventure, check out these 5 cave restaurants for a meal to remember.
Ristorante Hotel Grotta Palazzesse, Italy
This gorgeous seaside cave is home to Ristorante Hotel Grotta Palazzesse. Make sure to reserve a table as the restaurant fills up pretty quickly during meal times. Sunsets are extra beautiful here, with views overlooking the Adriatic Sea. There are set menus available, where for €110 per person, you can look forward to dishes like stewed lobster with arugula pesto, purple ratte potatoes and mandarin essence oil; and a dessert of tiramisu with strawberries, dark chocolate from Madagascar, crispy lime and sea salt flakes.
Ristorante Hotel Grotta Palazzesse, Via Narciso, 59, 70044 Polignano A Mare BA, Italy, +39 080 424 0677
(Photo: Ristorante Hotel Grotta Palazzesse)
The Grotto, Thailand
If you want an introduction to dining in a cave without being in an entirely enclosed space, this is a good place to start. Rayavadee resort in Krabi is home to The Grotto, an al fresco restaurant resting in the shade of an ancient limestone cliff on Phranang Beach. Though most of the dishes on the menu are Thai, there are also several Western options like pastas, burgers and paninis. Appetisers include the likes of tuna spring rolls and prawn satay, while desserts range from a dark chocolate-passion-mango tart to a vanilla crème brûlée with pineapple and longan.
The Grotto, Rayavadee, 214 Moo 2, Tumbon Ao-Nang, Amphur Muang 81000 Krabi, Thailand, +66 2 301 1861
Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant, Kenya
Begin your ultimate cave dining experience here with delicious sounding appetisers like poached king prawns with mango, fresh Indian Ocean oysters or Champignons Provencale. For your main course, you’ll be spoilt for choice whether you love seafood or meat. Highlights include chili crab, Lobster Thermidor, Madagascar steak and pork fillet. There are also vegetarian options like baked vegetable shepherd’s pie and savoury mushroom crêpes. The dessert list comprises treats such as brandy snaps with fresh cream, lime semifreddo cheesecake and Crêpe Suzette.
Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant, Ali Barbours Road, Diani Beach, 80400 Ukunda, Kenya, +254 714 456131
(Photo: Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant)
The Caves Hotel, Jamaica
This beautiful hotel perches on limestone cliffs at the scenic West End in Jamaica. There are 12 picture-perfect cliffside cottages, a grand villa, two dining gazebos, caves for private dining (Moonbeam and Seastar) and the Blackwell Rum Bar. Perfect for a romantic getaway, the hotel has a spa, jacuzzi, sauna, private hot tub and saltwater swimming pool for leisurely dips or swims. If you’re going for the private cave dining experience, relax and enjoy the five-course menu that’s recommended. Tuck in to delicious Negril specialties at your private table just for two, in your own little cave. Doesn’t it already sound like a meal you’ll remember for life?
The Caves Hotel, 144 One Love Drive, Lighthouse Road, Negril, Jamaica, +876 957 0720
(Photo: The Caves Hotel)
Jameos del Agua Restorante, Spain
The restaurant is in a large cave with high ceilings, so don’t worry about feeling claustrophobic in there. There are also fantastic natural acoustics, so great that many live concerts have taken place in the cave itself. Food-wise, the menu features seafood dishes such as grilled king prawns, grilled octopus served with Canarian spicy sauce, and grouper in Iberian ham served on beans, tomato and vegetables; as well as a few meat dishes like rabbit in salmorejo, beef tenderloin medallions and lamb chops. For dessert, there’s the Canarian ground almond syrup served with vanilla ice cream, three-chocolate semifreddo, and caramel bacara.
Jameos del Agua Restorante, Calle de Jameos del Agua, 35542 Punta Mujeres, Las Palmas, Spain, +34 928 84 80 20