Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Tasting Room – St. Augustine


$$$
We picked out this restaurant as our last dinner out in St. Augustine. Luckily we did so at the beginning of the week because I'm not sure we would have gotten a table if we had waited any longer to make the reservation.

St. Augustine doesn't have a ton of restaurants that step out from the norm of fried, generic, must I say it – tourist-trap eateries. This gem however, meets every single one of my expectations for an amazing night out. Whether you choose their dimly-lit, warm interior with live music, or their quaint and cozy patio, you're sure to have an exceptional experience. Being from Ottawa with only a small percent of warm patio days, we did opt for dining al fresco.

They have an insanely extensive wine list that could trap you for hours. But I decided that since this was a contemporary Spanish restaurant, the full page of Tempranillo's would be plenty to choose from. We went with the Beronia, Graciano and Mazuelo, 2005 – AMAZING.

Next the food. I love food. I love trying all different kinds of dishes. When faced with tapas, it takes all of me not to order every single dish listed. It's like they're little plates from heaven made specifically for me. These plates were about appetizer size, perfect for our party of four. Yay, more food!

We started off with some complimentary bread and oil for dipping. Then our first order, fresh ricotta and goat cheese terrine with Galician toasts. This dish came highly recommended by our server and oh my god, she was so right. Whipped melt-in-your-mouth cheese with a savoury center of sun-dried tomatoes and pesto.

Next the champinones al Jerez, mushrooms with sherry and garlic. This dish was a textural treat to have on the side but compared to all of the other plates that were served, lacked in flavour. The patatas bravas more than made up for it though. Bursting with flavour, these fried potato wedges with rosemary sea salt and spicy aioli were seriously some of the best potatoes I've ever had in my life. Last on the veg side of things, grilled asparagus cooked to perfection.

Up next, the salt cod fritters with garlic saffron aioli. So delectable I don't think I even stopped for a breath in between bites.

Our last two dishes made for a sinfully delicious end to the evening, pairing oh-so-perfectly with our second bottle of Tempranillo. Albondigas, deliciously tender and juicy lamb meatballs made with Moroccan spices and a lightly creamy, cumin cilantro dressing.

And the highlight of the dinner, paella Valenciana mixta – a combination of chicken, Spanish chorizo, fresh local seafood like clams, mussels, plump shrimp, red and yellow peppers, peas, garlic and regional rice all brought together beautifully with a tomato-saffron broth. YUM!

This meal was the best of our entire trip. And paired with outstanding service really made the entire experience one to remember. Earlier in the week we had stumbled upon their Tasting Room To Go Spanish deli where we indulged in some homemade salads on their patio for lunch. This second location also offers many varieties of meats, fresh baked breads and cheeses to take home, including the infamous ricotta and goat cheese terrine.

Another must-visit when in St. Augustine. Tapas prices range from $5.95 to $12.95, entrées between $16.95 and $33.95. They also do chefs tastings and wine pairings for both lunch and dinner.

25 Cuna Street
St. Augustine, Florida
904-810-2400

39.5 Cordova Street
St. Augustine, Florida
904-808-7202

Tasting Room on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Simply St. Augustine said...

I'm so glad you happened upon The Tasting Room! We're local & frequent this gem and it never lets us down. Here's the review I did on our last visit: http://www.simplystaugustine.com/2011/10/22/night-life/

Next time you're in the area, check out my site first. I hope you'll discover some more amazing food- our city has a lot more to offer than the greasy food joints you may see at first glance. :) It really is a great place to be a food lover!

Allie
www.simplystaugustine.com