Once you step from the bar out to the terrace, you can easily imagine you’re on the Ligurian coast of Italy. The water is blue. The sky is clear. The thermometer is at a comfortable 78 degrees, but the ocean breeze makes the warm day even more pleasant. The thing is, you’re not a couple of hours drive to Florence, you’re at Terranea, “L.A.’s Oceanfront Resort.” Bring your favorite smoke because Terranea is now cigar friendly.
“It was right after the first of the year we got things in motion,” explained Vincent Brunetti, Terranea’s food and beverage director. “We analyzed the demand from our guests and we wanted to offer a comfortable place for them to enjoy smoking. We expanded our cigar selection and invested in a new display case, and sales took off. It was part innovation and demand, and we enhanced it with Scotches and music.”
Terranea is located in Rancho Palos Verdes, an outcropping of luxury less than 20 miles south of Los Angeles International Airport. Once you have navigated the long entrance and followed the signs to valet parking, you have a short walk into the “Smoke N’ Barrel Lounge” at the Lobby Bar. But don’t stop there. Go out to the Spanish-tiled terrace and find a chair with plump padding near the fire pit, or next to a potted palm at a teak dining table shaded nicely by a patio umbrella. On a clear day, you can see Catalina Island.
The servers will provide a proper cigar ashtray. If you’ve forgotten your own cigars, take a look at the menu or stop by the humidor. Terranea offers a strong cigar selection, listed from mild to full bodied. “Mild” includes an Ashton Cabinet Selection Pyramid ($21), a Macanudo Café Prince of Wales ($22) and an Oliva Connecticut Reserve Churchill ($16). The highlight in the “mediums” is the Avo Improvisation Series 30 Years ($28), but “full” is where you find the real gems. From a La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Churchill ($17), to a My Father Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Box Pressed ($28) and a Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary Robusto ($18), you should be able to find something you like. There are no particular bargains, though, with prices being about what you’d expect at a high-end property like Terranea.
The cocktail menu is crafted to complement cigars. The Remy Crusta ($19) is a slightly sweet blend of Remy Martin 1738, Cointreau, Crème Yvette, Lemon and Aztec Chocolate Bitters. The William Has Thyme is a mixture of St. George Pear Brandy, Bernheim (wheat whiskey), Carpano Antica (vermouth), Lillet, orange bitters and thyme, garnished with a large peel of orange and a Luxardo cherry. Sweet, citrusy and very smooth. If cocktails aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of top-shelf rum, Bourbon and single malts.
If you’re hungry, please don’t get the burger. It’s good, but don’t miss out on the grilled octopus. It’s just outstanding, dressed with a chorizo vinaigrette, sliced fingerling potatoes and some kale. The cured meats and cheese plate is very satisfying on many levels, especially with the whipped ricotta with pistachios and honey to spread on the house-made bread.
If Terranea doesn’t already sound worth a visit, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the last Sunday of every month, there’s a special cigar night. If you just want to drop in, you’ll need to buy a cigar on your way through the bar to the west side of the terrace. If you want to reserve a specific table (seats six), then tickets are available. This requires purchasing a box of cigars (prices vary) per table, and includes one complimentary cigar. You’ll get access to a limited selection of spirits, exclusive cocktails and some canapés.
In the end, Terranea provides the opportunity for cigar aficionados to relax and feel very welcome. Enjoy the view or just let the pink-hued buildings and warm sun lull you into believing you’re far away from the 405 freeway that brought you here.
100 Terranea Way
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
Hours: Monday Through Thursday: 4:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Friday Through Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.