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.
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.
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.