Like Mike Tyson, wine is usually robust, is often boxed, and should never influence tattooing decisions. Imbibe the spirit of a champion with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of upscale cuisine and beverages at The Tasting Room in St. Augustine.
The Tasting Room, located in St. Augustine's historic district, has been drenched in praise and awards from Wine Spectator, the city's Best Of list, and Florida Trend's 2009 Golden Spoon judges for its wine list, its live music, and its toothsome tapas and entrees. Inside, on an outdoor patio or in an inflatable underground lair, sip a Spanish white wine in the form of a dry muscat, like a 2008 Botani ($11 for 6 oz.), or order a half-sized taste of a red, such as the Altos de Luzon ($6 for 3 oz.). Tapas tasters chomp into the menu's chorizo al vino, a plate of Spanish sausage that's braised in red wine ($10), or the croquetas de bacalao, in which salt-cod fritters ford a stream of garlic-saffron aioli ($9). Tongues becoming acquainted with the mejillones con frittas shake hands with a plate of steamed mussels in white wine, arranged next to a stack of spicy aioli-slathered truffle fries ($12). Yucca fries accompany an entree of grilled pork loin glazed with a guava marinade ($20), and a supper of pan-roasted snapper swims in a school of sherry-onion mashed potatoes and tomato salsa ($24).
The Tasting Room's team of chefs and sentient spoons is led by executive chef and Marseilles native Matthieu Landillon, who brings his worldly expertise and Le Cordon Bleu education to the table. Award-winning live music serenades diners between buttery yellow walls and tiny bites.
The Tasting Room
As they pass under the hanging gilded sign that's wrapped in climbing vines, visitors to The Tasting Room begin their journey into Florida's Spanish history. Upon entering, the sounds of live Spanish guitar fill the dining room, from its wrought-iron chandeliers and crimson walls to the heavy wooden tables and Spanish murals in vivid colors. Behind these rooms, wine racks displaying more than 1,000 international wines stretch from floor to ceiling, and Marseilles-born chef Matthieu Landillon runs his kitchen.
Under his direction, the culinary team draws inspiration from the surrounding sea, Spain's varied regions, and dreams where Pablo Picasso demands that they cook him a vibrant menu of small and large dishes. The team plates tapas to serve inside or on the patio—such as Florida Gulf red snapper in escabeche, basque chorizo, and goat-cheese terrine—and fashions larger entrees such as local seafood stew, churrasco-style flat-iron steak, and roasted butternut-squash risotto. The efforts of the chef, musicians, and sommeliers have earned The Tasting Room awards for Best Music, Best Wine List, and Best Upscale Dining in the Best of St. Augustine 2010 contest, as well as a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2012.
25 Cuna St.
St. Augustine, Florida 32084