When we visited Tampa in early September, one of my goals was to seek out some quality ethnic food. There isn’t much of it where we live in East Tennessee.
For our restaurant planning, we’d consulted with Martha and Irv who are members of our wine tasting group and who lived in Tampa for a number of years. Irv is originally from Puerto Rico and he loves Latin American food so we were happy to have a number of suggestions from him as well as from his better half. Both of them gave us a number of restaurants to check out…
As our purpose for the trip was a 2 – 3 day party with long-time friends, we had a limited amount of time for exploring the Tampa area dining scene. We decided that we’d try a Peruvian restaurant on our first night… We chose Terra Sur Café.
This relatively small restaurant is located in a strip shopping center and it was moderately busy for a Thursday night. The interior of Terra Sur Café is colorful and the ambiance was very pleasant… This restaurant has been in business for over 10 years.
OK…Let’s get the BIG negative right out of the way. Our waitress was a total ditz! First of all, she ‘hovered’ while we were studying the menus and she didn’t take the hint that we weren’t ready to order yet! Then she brought our fresh hot bread and butter after our appetizer plates had been taken away so we didn’t have any place to butter or place our bread.
It got worse… Dawn Marie asked a question about an appetizer and the waitress said she’d ask. She took our appetizer orders at the same time and then delivered our food without ever coming back or coming up with an answer for Dawn. We were done with our appetizers before Dawn got anything. Then Dawn got her appetizer, which she’d ordered as a side for her entree when she got her salad. The salad came without any dressing on it…and then we had to flag down someone else to get the dressing. The appetizer was intended to go with the broiled chicken Dawn had ordered for her entrée. When she eventually got her chicken, her side/appetizer was cold.
FYI…Our service issues weren’t a language problem as our waitress spoke English as well as we do. She was pleasant enough but she was totally incompetent! (She wasn't new either...)
Now that I have that out of the way, I can move onto more positive feedback! This was one of the appetizers…Conchitas a la Parmesana, scallops in a half shell topped with parmesan cheese and baked to a golden brown. ($13.00) They were excellent!
Next there was the Mango y Camarones, fresh cooked shrimp and mango marinated in lime juice, Aji Limo, and cilantro then topped with julienne red onions and served with avocado. (Small order - $9.50) It was also very nice…another winner.
This was Dawn Marie’s salad…sans any dressing. ($5.00) It was a nice lettuce mix with some tomatoes but not much else going for it.
This is Dawn Marie’s appetizer/side dish that she wanted to eat with her grilled chicken. Its ‘Papa o Yucca a la Huancaina’, sliced boiled potatoes, (alternatively fried yucca), covered with Huancaína sauce, a creamy mild Aji Amarillo cheese sauce. ($8.00)
Dawn said that it was OK other than the fact that it was cold. In her opinion, she much prefers the version of this dish that she normally orders down in the Miami area.
The rolls looked good…and they were! We’d already eaten a couple of them before we took this photo.
This was my dinner… It is the Anticuchos de Carne, grilled cuts of tender beef skirt steak marinated in aji panca sauce, served with yellow rice and chimichurri sauce. ($20.00) (I added the roll to the plate)
I really enjoyed my dinner…great marinade and the chimichurri sauce kicked it up another notch! The only negative was that the presentation was so uninspired. Take that roll off the plate and it was about 40% empty. Perhaps some greens on the side would be a visual improvement…
Laurie really jumped out there with her selection! Her dinner choice was the Chupe, a Peruvian shrimp and fish chowder with rice, Peruvian corn, peas, lima beans, potatoes and a poached egg. ($17.00) Her gamble paid off! She really enjoyed her dinner. I got a taste or two and I liked it too.
Bottom line…lousy service and Dawn’s food travails aside, we enjoyed some very nice food indeed. A different waiter or waitress would have made a big difference. One other plus was that Dawn had a $10.00 coupon on her "Open Table" App that we were able to use against our bill!
Terra Sur Café is located at 5358 West Village Drive in Tampa Florida. Phone: 813-269-2694. Website: https://www.terrasurcafe.com/home.html.
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave