Terra Mare Oceanfront Restaurant On Fort Lauderdale Beach Offers Dining By Land And Sea
At first glance, the newest restaurant to open on Fort Lauderdale’s oceanfront A1A takes its name from its neighboring street—Terramar—but in Italian, it takes on whole new meaning.
Terra Mare, which debuted in the newly opened Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach on Sept. 28, unites dishes from land (terra) and sea (mar) with its menu of locally sourced meat and seafood plates, many of which are meant to be shared family style.
Selections include raw bar items like oysters, chilled lobster, crab cocktail and tuna crudo; the grilled octopus appetizer with smoked white bean puree; and large shared plates including the bone-in tenderloin and crispy whole bass.
As executive chef Johan Svensson notes, “terra” doesn’t refer exclusively to meat-based dishes. Guests can find fresh vegetable options like heirloom tomatoes, roasted beet salad and grilled romaine.
“There’s something for everyone. That’s probably my biggest goal,” Svensson said.
Svensson, originally from Sweden, has worked with Marcus Samuelsson (who you might know from Food Network’s “Chopped”) in New York and most recently comes from Waikiki, Hawaii, where he headed BLT Steak and helped open BLT Market.
As a first-time Floridian, Svensson says he’s enjoyed the challenge of learning new cuisines, new crops and new seasonality, as he looks forward to incorporating seasonal ingredients into the menu.
“Since stone crab claw season is coming up, I’m very excited to have it in my hand when it’s fresh and not two weeks old, like in Hawaii,” Svensson said.
In addition to sourcing the best local ingredients from land and sea, key to Terra Mare’s experience is the concept of communal dining, thanks to a new twist on the tapas-style shared plates trend.
At dinnertime, guests can order not only small plates and snacks, but also large plates, like the kan kan pork chop served with buns and a ginger-scallion sauce, or the 18-ounce bone-in tenderloin with roasted root veggies and spiced coffee jus, which encourage full-plate sharing and are carved tableside before being served.
“It’s my sense of sharing,” Svensson said. “I share a lot with my wife when I’m sitting out eating. I eat my wife’s food, and unfortunately she gets very upset with me, but we do like to share. And I see families, they like to share. I’m trying to create dishes where you can share if you feel like it—shareable large plates, as a family of four.”
Whether it’s a sundae cart for dessert, make-your-own-granola at breakfast or sharable whole plates carved tableside, Svenesson calls this style of dining approachable comfort food, but with a wow factor.
“Obviously there’s a lot of great restaurants along the ocean. I think we’re definitely going to put a mark on the competition here. I want to set the bar very high,” Svensson said.
Terra Mare’s beverage program will equally reflect the restaurant’s surroundings, using locally sourced ingredients, much like the food. For instance, cold-pressed juices will not only be offered during breakfast daily, but will also be the highlight of the cocktail menu.
“Being in South Florida, we have the luxury of consistently great produce, so it is necessary to utilize all of it everywhere we can,” General Manager Ryan Zemel said.
For instance, the restaurant serves cold-pressed cocktails like the spicy Jessica Rabbit with tequila, triple sec, carrot, fresh OJ, lime, cilantro and jalapeño, and the Beet It with vodka, beets, pear, apple, egg white and house ginger syrup.
Likewise, perfect for brunch time, expect cold-pressed OJ mimosas and a Green Mary drink with vodka, kale, cucumber, green apple, celery, lemon, ginger and horseradish root, alongside a tiered bottomless champagne program (i.e. the more you pay, the better the bubbly you get).
Perhaps uniting it all, the design and layout of Terra Mare allow this oceanside restaurant to feel like it flows right into its neighboring sea. While its interior decor features raw earth materials, such as driftwood and coral, Terra Mare also offers a coastal bar, an oceanside patio and lounge with fire pits and panoramic views of the Atlantic.
“It’s an amazing place where a lot of people can watch out through the windows. Whether you’re inside or outside, you can enjoy the view,” Svensson said.
Terra Mare is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, starting at 7 a.m., and will serve weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
551 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.414.51600; terramarefl.com
Photos courtesy of Terra Mare