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Dining In A Cave: A Unique Experience At Bari Cave Restaurant

Dining in a cave may sound like a fairytale or a surrealistic dream to many, but it is an experience you can enjoy at the Bari Cave Restaurant in southern Italy. This unique venue adds

Dining in a cave may sound like a fairytale or a surrealistic dream to many, but it is an experience you can enjoy at the Bari Cave Restaurant in southern Italy. This unique venue adds diversity to the dining scene and offers a distinctive ambiance that several people find impressive.

The cave is located in a rural village, Polignano a Mare, with a stunning view of the sea. The entrance to the Bari Cave restaurant is nondescript, and you have to travel down steep steps to reach the vaulted chamber. Once inside, the stones around remind you of a medieval castle or a hideout for knights.

The menu contains regional Sicilian and Puglian dishes, with an emphasis on local seafood, such as prawns and octopus. One of the notable specialties is the seafood platter, which is served on a bed of ice and includes an array of raw mollusks, shellfish, and crustaceans. Reviewers commend the quality of the ingredients and the attentive service.

The cave\’s temperature remains constant at around 18 degrees Celsius throughout the year, and it is humid. Therefore, it is crucial to come dressed accordingly. The seating arrangement is comfortable, and the lighting is dimmed, adding to the dramatic effect.

The cave has a long history, and previous to the Bari Cave Restaurant, it served as a tavern for local fishermen. The idea of turning it into a restaurant came from the owner of the building, Angelo Palese, a well-known local entrepreneur. However, it took several years to transform the cave into a restaurant due to practical challenges, and experts from different fields had to be consulted. The cave\’s architecture also required to maintain its original style.

Dr. Giuseppe Sansoni, a cave environment scientist, was someone who influenced the opening of the Bari Cave Restaurant. He is a professor of cave biology and ecology at the University of Bari. Dr. Sansoni believes this type of restaurant is an innovative way to preserve and highlight the value of cultural heritage. He said: \”The integration of a commercial activity in a natural site may represent an enhancement of environmental and cultural heritage. It encourages the development of ecotourism and, to a certain extent, the protection and conservation of underground karst systems.\”

Tips for Dining in a Cave

If you plan to visit the Bari Cave Restaurant or any other dining venue that is set in a cave, these are some tips to make the most out of the experience.

1. Dress comfortably: The temperature inside caves tends to be cooler than the outside, and it can also be humid. It is best to wear layers and bring a light jacket or shawl.

2. Book in advance: Some cave restaurants only accommodate a limited number of guests, making it important to make a reservation beforehand. You may also want to check which season the restaurant is open since the weather may affect the restaurant\’s operation.

3. Be patient: Since cave restaurants require special infrastructure and technology, the service may be slower than usual.

4. Mind your step: Caves can have uneven floors and steps, so be careful when walking around.

5. Be open-minded: Dining in a cave restaurant can be an unconventional experience. Be ready to embrace the ambiance and try some of the local specialties.

The Concept of Unique Dining Experience

The concept of unique dining experience has been on the rise over the past decade. Many restaurants have tried to differentiate themselves by offering an unusual ambiance or an exceptional menu. According to a report by The Guardian, diners are no longer looking for traditional fine dining, but seeking to connect with the restaurant\’s ethos and values.

Cave restaurants are still a niche market within the concept of unique dining experience, and may not cater to a broad audience. However, they do offer an unforgettable journey for those who appreciate adventure and want to explore new frontiers in gastronomy.

Preservation of Caves

Cave conservation or cave management is the process of protecting caves, their natural resources and ecosystems, cultural heritage and recreational values, and making sure their utilization and visitation is sustainable. Dr. Sansoni believes that turning caves into restaurants highlights their worth and helps individuals appreciate the cave structure and ecosystem, but preservation is still of utmost importance. He recommends reducing the impact of humans visiting caves and being mindful of the fragility of these natural wonders. It goes back to the ethos of responsible and eco-friendly tourism, which goes beyond the dining experience.

The Future of Cave Dining

The future of cave dining is somewhat unknown, with few restaurants available globally, it may be challenging to predict its success. What the Bari Cave Restaurant and other establishments offer endures, and it may urge others to embark on similar ventures to change the culinary scene. It undoubtedly provides diners with a unique experience and a story to tell that sets them apart from other diners.


Dining in a cave is an experience for those who enjoy new ventures in their culinary journey. The Bari Cave Restaurant provides an opportunity to explore the history and environment of caves while enjoying an exquisite meal. This unique experience may not be for everyone, but it highlights the ingenuity of local entrepreneurs and the need for sustainable and responsible tourism.

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