Holly Hill, FL 32117
When Jacksonville top food blogger, told me I had to absolutely go to this restaurant I believed him. I was spending a few days in St. Augustine, so driving down to Holly Hill close to Daytona was not a problem. I left in time to take in a late leisurely lunch. It was a little strange once I arrived, my misconception of what I was looking for took over and I shot right past, circled around and finally spotted it. The property looked like an abandoned strip mall, but there on the corned was Chucherias Hounurenas. Once parked and walking inside this is what I encountered;
It was a total oasis, unexpected and appealing. I entered and found the interior of the building to be as inviting as the garden. Reminiscent of old European places I have been, it was most comfortable high ceilings bright light shining, furnished with elegant dark wood tables and chairs. A massive fireplace covered one wall.
There were a few guests some in the garden and two parties in the main area. We chose to sit in and enjoy that ambiance.
This restaurant labels itself as a fusion restaurant of Central American, Caribbean and Spanish food. All the ingredients and entrées are prepared fresh daily. Even the cheese and sour cream are imported from Honduras to give the entrées the fresh and authentic flavors that one would expect. The menu choices supports that statement. Many menu items I was not familiar with and the owner was more than happy to address my questions about the food and ingredients.
We kicked off with the Spanish Octopus, we both ordered this dish simply because we were not willing to share. That proved to be a very good choice for us. This was hands down the best prepared and presented octopus dish I have ever experienced. Soft cooked,pieces of Octopus, in a sweet fragrant olive oil, resting on bed of sliced potatoes mixed with fresh diced tomatoes and red onions.
Next up we did share a bowl of the Conch Chowder. Rich thick creamy spicy broth, and ample portion of fresh tender conch.
Moving on our main dishes one Shrimp Machuca and Pork with Black Beans and Rice.
The Shrimp dish was just stunning on arrival. Large shrimp nesting in a circle of a yucca like vegetable mixed with fresh garlic and other spices in a semi sweet light tomato broth. The vegetable combined with the broth brought interesting flavors to the tongue. Shrimp was cooked perfectly, I finished the entire portion and found my self wanting more.
My companions Pork with Black Beans was equally as tasty, meat well spiced, beans nestled in a fresh made shell, and the rice salty perfect grains. I did taste to Pork and must say there were hints of spice, I was unfamiliar with, which was a pleasant find. Again the presentation was spot on.
We decided to share a dessert, a Creme Brule type custard made with and orange custard and orange flavored sugar top. The crisp melted orange flavored sugar was quite refreshing, We quickly dispatched this dish.
I must admit, I can not recall a time or restaurant that presented a more perfect meal, for the cost, each dish resonated with the love and care of the chef. Perfect in every way. I can’t wait to return.
It is well worth the drive, from Jacksonville, or St. Augustine. There are certainly dishes available that are not seen on many menus in this area. A true foodies paradise.
Categories: Latin American