By Pam Windsor
May 2, 2022
ROSEMARY BEACH – It has terrific food, a European vibe, and the opportunity for guests to create their own unique dining experience every time. It’s easy to see why La Crema Tapas & Chocolate has become a Rosemary Beach favorite.
“This place is very unique,” explained General Manager Andrew Preble. “It’s not a traditional way of dining. You order a bunch of different food, it comes out as quickly as we can get it to you in whatever order, and it’s a lot of fun for people.”
So much fun, in fact, people come back again and again.
“We’ll see people come in for the first time, then we’ll see them maybe three times within that same week,” he said.
The restaurant was originally inspired by the dining styles of cities like Madrid or Barcelona, Spain. With tapas meaning “top,” the idea was to put a small plate from the bar on top of your glass and hold your glass while eating your tapas. Now – especially in America – tapas have become more about small plates and sharing.
Initially, La Crema Tapas & Chocolate focused more on Spanish-style tapas but has since broadened the menu to offer something for everyone.
“We have expanded our offerings to some non-traditional tapas,” said Preble. “We have more contemporary flavors that suit the American palate. For example, last year we introduced Blue Crab Rangoons and it’s one of my favorite dishes. It’s something you can snack on or share, and everybody loves them. And we don’t use imitation crab meat, which you might expect somewhere else. We do it with Gulf-caught blue crab.”
Fresh ingredients and locally sourced seafood are a staple here. Another favored dish recently added to La Crema’s evolving menu is Lobster Mac & Cheese.
“I’ve been trying to get that added to the menu for a while. Who doesn’t like Lobster Mac and Cheese?” Preble asked with a laugh, adding, “And I have to say, it’s been responsible for a few extra inches on my waistline.”
Other popular menu items include ceviche, fish tacos, steak tostadas, steak empanadas, scallops, seafood or veggie paella, Brussels sprouts, cheese fondue, and much more. La Crema also offers a variety of beer, wine, and spirits.
“We’ve had beer and wine for a while,” Preble explained, “but we recently added spirits. We now have bourbon, gin, tequila, craft cocktails, and can make just about any cocktail a guest might request.”
He said people now often stop by for a drink, then decide to stay longer.
“We have people coming in just for drinks, or a cocktail and tapas before dinner, and they end up staying for dinner.”
La Crema is also well-known as a great spot for dessert, whether guests are enjoying it after their dinner or popping in for dessert alone. And when it comes to dessert, the chocolate fondue is a must-try.
“It is essential to the La Crema experience,” Preble said. “I’m serious. You have to try it. And then if you’ve had the fondue and want to try something else, check out the OMG cookie.”
La Crema operates on a first-come, first-served basis and does not accept reservations. It’s open seven days a week and during the summer opens every morning at 11 and stops seating every evening at 9 p.m. The restaurant is located at 38 Main Street, Rosemary Beach. For more information call 850-534-3004 or visit www.lacrematapas.com