We were searching for a nearby restaurant and Grappa came up as number one in the tripadvisor Dorado list and also as several local residents favorite restaurant so we decided to give it a try. We booked a table for three (J, A and I) on a rainy Saturday evening and arrived in the center of town where we found Grappa’s unobtrusive entry. We walked in and were surprised at how dark and tiny the place actually was with just a few tables and a pretty antique-tiled floor. There are no windows that look out onto the street so the place does feel smaller than it is. That evening, there was already a large family having dinner, about 10, and ourselves. Soon after, two other tables of 6 walked in and the place was packed in an instant.
We were seated in a table right by the bar and struggled to read the menu so we were relieved when they turned the lights up a bit. The menu has a several starters, a few pastas and risottos and several more main dishes. There are also some daily specials listed on the board. We decided on two starters to share and a main course each with a glass of Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon.
After we ordered, we were given some warm bread and olive oil which we ate rather quickly as we were hungry. The two appetizers were served: fried calamari with the typical marinara sauce which were crispy and quite good despite being frozen uniform-sized squid rings and the arancini – three extra large deep-fried risotto balls covered in breadcrumbs, topped with the same marinara sauce and drizzled with a basil oil and balsamic vinegar glaze. These were better than the calamari but were too big to be bite-size and although we were hungry, we only managed to polish off two of them.
At this point, the restaurant was packed and the cozy intimate ambiance we experienced at the beginning of our meal became like a market at peak time with the noise level so high we couldn’t even converse unless we shouted above the din. Thankfully, the main courses were served – spaghettini with meatballs for J which came with five meatballs covered in the same ubiquitous marinara sauce, a bland asparagus and lemon risotto for A and the pretty good roast pork with roasted potato wedges, the whole plate again drizzled in basil oil and balsamic vinegar glaze. We ate our dinners quickly as the noise was becoming unbearable, I could only finish half the portion of pork and A barely touched his risotto while J thoroughly enjoyed his spaghetti and meatballs and ate almost all of it. We would have lingered over several desserts and espresso but just shared one dessert – a poached pear in a cinnamon orange sauce then paid the bill while we were still finishing the dessert. We stepped outside, walked to the car and appreciated the quiet of the evening with just the rain drops on the pavement and an occasional car driving by. The food was good but not extraordinary, the service was fine and it is probably the best restaurant in Dorado but I’m not sure I’d go back there unless they sort out their acoustic problem.
Mendez Vigo St # 247
Dorado, Puerto Rico 00646
Telephone: +1 787 796 2674
*Open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday from 5 pm.