Nestled in the heart of Hillcrest, La Terraza Rum & Lounge is a culinary treasure we are quite lucky to have here in Rock City. Featuring a bold Venezuelan-Mediterranean fusion cuisine, the dining experience transports you to a different location entirely – you are no longer a customer entering a restaurant, but a family member coming home. With local ingredients and new and exciting flavors, this menu is one you won’t want to miss out on.
I had the pleasure to sit down with Carlos Valdivieso – Head Chef and Creative Director – to discuss some new additions to their menu for fall.
First up was the Tilapia Mauniere. “This is a new presentation of the Tilapia, so we wanted to give it a new flavor with lemon, butter, and a little bit of parsley to give it a nice kick,” says Valdivieso. The zesty aftertaste is invigorating and flavorful, and pairs well with a glass of white wine, as he continues, “[The] butter and lemon takes over and gives a lot of flavor to the fish.”
Next up was the Mixto with Champinones y Camarones – a combination of shrimp, mushrooms, parsley, garlic, reduced tomatoes, and some white wine. Valdivieso explains, “This is a dish that is popular in Caracas. … The white wine really mixes together with the seafood and the vegetables, and the garlic is very strong … it brings it together like an embrace.” The flavor of this dish is so fresh and unique, unlike anything I’ve had the pleasure of trying before.
The final dish I sampled was the Aguacate Relleno, featuring an avocado stuffed with surimi crab and covered in golf sauce. This entree is an interesting blend of Asian and Venezuelan cuisine, with the crab lending itself to a sushi flavor. Valdivieso continues, “This is one of four variations of this dish we will have. The others will have shrimp and chef sauce, shredded chicken with reina, and a final variation that includes octopus with vinaigrette.” With several options to choose from, you can’t go wrong sampling this dish.
In fact, the menu as a whole truly packs a punch. “The main idea is to bring some new flavors to the culture here so you can try new things. … We bring some food that resembles Mexican, but it’s new flavors, like Spanish and Venezuelan flavors,” explains Valdivieso, as we finish up our glasses of wine he brought out for the tasting.
It is this instant that truly captures the essence of La Terraza: “Customers are not just a number, they are a part of our family as well.” They welcome you in with big smiles and open arms, willing to accommodate any request. The large patio is perfect for the fall weather, and when the weather doesn’t play quite so nice, the restaurant itself is warm and inviting. Don’t want to wait until dinner to stop by – they serve brunch and lunch, as well.
Catch their upcoming one year anniversary on Saturday, October 15 from 9 p.m. to midnight. At $12 per person you can catch live music, complimentary tapas and happy hour wines. Specials include $4 mojitos, $5 sangria – plus – there will be a Halloween Costume Contest with a prize. Be sure to check it out and support local, family owned businesses.