After a successful opening party(click for review) that served some spectacular canapes, I was eager to indulge my curiosity with a full-fledged meal.
On a girl’s dinner date over the weekend, I suggested for the two of us to dine at Gaby Alves‘ new Peruvian restaurant, TERRA as we are both seafood fans and happened to conveniently be in the Sanlitun area.
It was not too busy on a late Saturday night (walked in without a reservation just after 9PM), and in retrospect, I regret having picked possibly the worst table in the entire restaurant. Tucked away in the back corner, we were out of sight to all servers and had to literally wave our hands in the air to remind them that we were still there and to unsuccessfully try to get any kind of service at all, which is unfortunate because the service at SALT is impeccable and the manager here is incredibly friendly and professional. I am sure that if we chose more central seating, service would not have been an issue at all.
Aside from their ceviche selection, I was not familiar with most of the menu so it was perfect that their manager was able to explain everything from their tiraditos, empanadas and main dishes. Based off of her recommendations, we ordered the Tuna Ceviche (RMB 68/118 for small/large portion) and Octopus Tiradito (RMB 88). The tuna ceviche was my top pick. It was so fresh and the taste was divine with thick chunks of raw tuna mixed with red onion, orange, cucumber, tamarind lemon juice, ginger, scallions, guacamole and crispy wonton.
For main courses, we ordered the Lomo Saltado – beef tenderloin stir-fry, tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, served with crispy potatoes and rice (RMB 168) and the Scallops Quiniotto – quinoa, giant scallops, ciboulette/translation: 3 giant scallops on a bed of wild quinoa grains, which was like a healthy cheese risotto (RMB 158). The stir-fry beef was ok, but for RMB 168, it was not very impressive. The Scallops Quiniotto, on the other hand, was perfect. The scallops were perfected cooked and I loved the “healthy” wild rice cheese risotto.
And just to top it all off, the churros with warm chocolate syrup (RMB 48) hit the spot. These South American doughnuts were toasty hot and the chocolate was so thick and rich, it was tempting to just devour that with a spoon and skip the churros altogether.
Review of TERRA: 1 Sanlitun Nanlu (just diagonal from Village Sanlitun), 三里屯南路1号 , Tel: 6591-9148
- Seafood is the strong suit of TERRA, so I recommend all seafood dishes over meat and veggies
- Ceviche was outstanding. If you want a variety, you can choose to order the ceviche tasting (RMB 218)
- Quality dishes with premium ingredients and beautiful presentation
- Many seafood dishes are mixed with exotic flavors like passion fruit and citrus – very innovative flavor combinations
- Desserts were devine – I recommend the churros and chocolate platter
- Very professional, knowledgeable and friendly manager
- While everything was very delicious and satisfying, it also cost a pretty penny. Main course dishes all start at RMB 158 and above, ceviche dishes were RMB 68-78 for small portion, RMB 108-128 for large, salads were RMB 68-108, you get the idea. Not including alcohol, you’re looking at spending about RMB 250-300 per person. For this price range, I’d rather spend it at a restaurant like Capital M.
- Surprising prices are so high considering you can get a 3-course set meal at SALT for around RMB 168. But prices for set lunch is about RMB 58. Maybe that is a better option.
- The manager of Terra was wonderful, but the rest of the staff seemed oblivious and not as capable, but in their defense, this was their first week open.
- Note that they are not open on Mondays.
Rating: (on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being best)
- Food: 8
- Atmosphere: 7
- Service: 7
- Overall Experience: 7