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Terramia Wine Bar and Restaurant

Terramia interior

Terramia has reopened. Which Terramia? you ask. Good question.

As you may recall, Terramia Winebar Trattoria closed its doors in January with the announcement from owner Rosario Spagnolo that it would be moving around the corner. Terramia Winebar Trattoria was the one that was in the Springs Centre in Altamonte Springs, although everyone thought the address was really Longwood. 

In Lake Mary, Spagnolo’s other restaurant is called Terramia Brick Oven Pizza. When he announced the move for the Altamonte (not Longwood) restaurant, he said that its menu would be more aligned with the Lake Mary restaurant’s.

So Terramia Winebar Trattoria closed, but it has not reopened under that name. Nor is it Terramia Brick Oven Pizza II. Instead, it is known now as Terramia Wine Bar and Restaurant.

I hope that clears things up.

At the risk of confusing things further, the decor at TWBR reminded me of Francesco’s  Ristorante & Pizzeria in Maitland, which is owned by Francesco Aiello, who was once the chef at Terramia in Lake Mary. There’s an open kitchen with the pizza makers on display, a central bar and high top tables, and conventional booths and tables in a fairly compact space. It all has a casually upscale feel.

Terramia pizza

Although the word pizza does not appear in this restaurant’s name, pizza was the best of what I sampled here. I ordered the quattro formaggi, which featured a perfectly honed crust topped with just the right amount of cheesy goodness. This is not for the people who expect a red sauce to be part of a pizza pie’s base, nor for the lactose intolerant, but I liked it just fine.

terramia short ribs

Braised short ribs in a hearty and tomatoey ragu, served with penne pasta, was another winner. The lasagna looked wonderful, and it had big hunks of sausage nestled between the delicate pasta sheets. But ultimately it was too mildly flavored; bland, really. Same was true of the meatballs with spaghetti. The density of the meatballs was spot on, but there were no distinguishing flavor characteristics. And the pasta had not quite boiled up to the al dente stage and therefore was a bit too chewy.

Terramia was packed when I visited, on a Monday evening yet. Not too many restaurants in town can boast the same. It could be that the throngs were patrons of the former Terramia who were anxious to visit the just-opened restaurant. I wonder how it stacks up to the old place.

It had been a long time since I had had the chance to visit the old Terramia, which earned my critic’s Foodie Award for best Italian on at least a couple of occasions. So I don’t know if this is indicative of the same food that was coming out of the former restaurant’s kitchen. The food here was good, but nothing was as stellar as what was served in the old place.

Terramia Wine Bar and Restaurant is at 1150 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. Here is a link to the website, where you’ll find a menu written mostly in Italian with little descriptive explanations. But at least you’ll be able to see that most of the items are reasonably priced, with secondi (main dishes) in the mid teens and pizzas in the low teens. The phone number is 407-774-8466.

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0 #4 former friend of FA 2013-06-23 17:46
Francesco must have learned how to operate from his former employers, neither pay their employees overtime :( and have a give a sh@# attitude.
+1 #3 R 2013-06-14 23:19
Scott Joseph,

I need to tell you a story you may not be aware of. Rosario, and his partner Massimo, have been planning the re-opening of their Altamonte Springs location ever since the success of their Lake Mary location with the open kitchen concept. The construction of the new complex where they wanted to put their new Altamonte Springs location took longer than expected. In the time of Rosario and his partner working to restyle their Altamonte restaurant, their own employee from Lake Mary (Francesco Aiello) left his position as head chef unannounced, and opened his own restaurant in Maitland. Half of his menu is based from him working at Terra Mia. I think the decor of Francesco's Ristorante should remind you of Terra Mia, it just happened to come at a convenient time for Francesco.
0 #2 Andrew Serano 2013-05-30 21:59
I've been there twice since it opened and it's even better than the original restaurant. I have to disagree about the review of the meatballs. They are the best in town.
0 #1 rm 2013-05-30 14:40
I have eaten 3/4 of the menu and working on the rest. Its hard to try the new when everything was so good already.I am working on it!
Thursday, 24th July 2014

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