Rosemary Beach is an adorable little beach located between Destin and Panama City Beach in the panhandle of Florida. It is a quaint little beach town, perfect for a weekend getaway. After living in San Diego and falling in love with California beaches, I thought it would be hard for Florida to win my heart over. However, if any Florida beach was going to do it, it was this one. Florida is known for their world-class white sand beaches, but it was more than just the soft sand that stole my heart. Rosemary Beach has its own little community of charm, and I found one particular hidden gem that left me dying to go back.
La Crema Tapas & Chocolate is a restaurant right on main street that is exploding with character and charm. This Barcelona inspired establishment has a menu that is sure to please anyone looking to enjoy many different dishes and sample it all. Tapas style dishes are meant to be shared. I describe them as hearty appetizers that definitely leave you feeling full. On the menu, you will find a variety of Spanish style foods from stuffed piquillo peppers to an assortment of Paella. Oh, and did I mention HALF of the menu is desert? How can you go wrong with a restaurant like that?!
Before I move on to how amazing the food and wine was, I have to talk about the atmosphere that the staff and regular customers cultivate. You can really tell that the servers and chefs are passionate about food and delivering an authentic Spanish style dish by the way they dress their plates and inquire about their guests satisfaction. When I was there, I noticed that there were quite a few regulars bringing their out-of-town friends and raving about each dish that they were ordering. I also happened to go on lunch during a weekday, and saw a group of school girls from the Rosemary Beach Ohana Institute eating tapas on their lunch break. If you can please school girls and adults looking to get their wine and chocolate fix, you know you are doing something right.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with the menu prices. Dishes range from $6.00 – $20.00 depending on the portion size. I started out with the Serrano Wrapped Figs, Brussel Sprouts, and Honey Goat Cheese Stuffed Piquillos. Honestly, if you go, you cannot leave without trying all three. The figs are bite sized and bursting with flavor while the brussel sprouts are soaked in a sesame honey drizzle while still maintaining the perfect roasted crunch.
After sampling a few of the starter tapas, I tried the Seafood Paella. They are known for their Paella, so I had to have one. If you love seafood, definitely go for the seafood one. It came with lobster tail, shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams, and even chorizo. With just a squeeze of lemon, it was perfect atop a bed of rice seasoned to perfection. For desert (although it was hard to decide), I went with the OMG Chocolate Espresso Cookie and Salted Caramel Ice Cream. The espresso cream was so delectable that I honestly could have eaten it by itself. It almost tasted a tad bit of cream cheese, which is my favorite in a frosting.
Now more about the wine… my favorite part. They have a wine menu full of Spanish wines (which are recently a new favorite of mine). Spanish wines are known for being more full bodied and having lots of tannins (again, why they are a recent new favorite). I had the Tempranillo and loved it. It had tones of black current and cherry with peppery aftertones. This paired perfectly with the figs and stuffed peppers. Other than Tempranillo, they had a good selection of red, white, and rosé to choose from.
All in all, I would definitely recommend a visit to Rosemary Beach, even just if it is to visit one restaurant! La Crema, I will definitely be back!
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