We wandered over to the Grotto with some friends on a Friday night to check out a place we have been hearing about. I hadn't even noticed it when I was there before. It is an attractive addition to the poolside area of the San Luis. The setting is lovely with a view of the waterfall. And the volcano in a distance if you enjoy that.
This was a festive occasion so we decided to order a bottle of proseco, and were pleased with the Villa Sandi they offer from their ample wine list. We were treated to plenty of fresh bread and garlic-infused olive oil dipping sauce. Along with that we selected a starter of Calamari Toto. The calamari was fresh and tender with a delicately flavored crust. I am usually not a big calamari fan, but this was simply superb and the best I've ever tasted. I would order it again. If I had any complaint, it was that they could have provided more marinara sauce given the generous size of the calamari serving.
My companion decided to sample the tomato basil soup and was not disappointed. The soup was creamy and rich, and to put it simply, delicious with the fresh basil sprinkled on top. We were beginning to think we were really going to like this place despite the policy against reservations for groups of less than five and the somewhat crowded, noisy atmosphere.
I am unable to resist pasta, or any dish with lump crab, or fresh shrimp. So when I saw the "Shrimp and Crab Capellini" on the menu I had no choice. This arrived in a generous serving with plenty of exquisitely fresh shrimp and big bites of crab. The pasta was a bit glutinous but did not detract from the flavorful sauce which had a perfect hint of lemon.
My companion is a snapper fanatic and ordered the Snapper Siciliano. He typically prefers his snapper grilled and unadorned, but took a risk to try the Capellini-crusted version. The snapper was deemed very fresh cooked to perfection (did I mention he is a fanatic?). The crust complemented the snapper flavor. Add in the fresh jumbo lump crab and the tomato and shrimp sauce and he declared the entree to be a total delight. Now I'm feeling hungry just thinking about it.
To top it off we ordered a slice of "Mezzanotte" chocolate cake, and a piece of Mama's recipe coconut pie along with our coffee. Not to worry, we shared with our friends. Both were fabulous although the cake was a bit dry. I'm a chocaholic, however, so no complaint here.
This is a restaurant I would gladly recommend to friends. The menu is varied with everything from soups to salads to entree to pizzas. Staff members were quick responders and very pleasant. Only negatives were the high noise level and general crowdedness; this is not the place for a quiet romantic dinner. At least not on a weekend evening. Give it a try and see what you think. I believe you'll be glad you did.