Terra American Bistro
Terra American Bistro

Terra American Bistro

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.terrasd.com/
  • Phone: 6192937088x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Champagne Brunch: Sunday 9:00am - 2:00pm
    Lunch: Monday - Friday 11:30am-2:00pm
    Dinner: Tuesday - Sunday from 4:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Carte Blanche,Diners Club,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Comfort Food, Contemporary American, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Executive Chef: Jeff Rossman
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Chef's Table, Delivery, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Whatever the occasion, our goal is to make your event a complete success. With overflowing creativity and a gracious and dynamic staff, let Terra be your hospitality partner. We promise to exceed your expectations with an uncompromising commitment to perfection. Whether you are planning a simple luncheon or an elaborate six-course dinner, Chef/Owner Jeff Rossman will work with you from the start. He would be delighted to create a custom menu for you and your guests.
  • Private Party Facilities: small parties up to 12 can order off the menu and larger parties need to contact our banquet department for special menu with pricing. Private parties can buy out the restaurant or possibly host an event on Saturday afternoons or Monday evenings.
  • Private Party Contact: Lisa or Jeff 6192937088x

Getting there

  • Cross Street: El Cajon and 71st St
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Street parking available and on weekends & evenings parking in business lots around restaurant.
A word from Terra American Bistro
Terra American Bistro began in Hillcrest May 1998 and has since moved to the East College District of Rolando. Chef/Owner and Cookbook Author Jeff Rossman supports local food purveyors and sources all ingredients carefully, with a commitment to buy all products that are cultivated sustainably and humanely. Terra specialties include Steamed Carlsbad Black Mussels, Chipotle Marinated Skirt Steak, Pumpkin Raviolis and Lobster Macaroni ‘n Cheese. This neighborhood Bistro serves up farm to table fare and offers the perfect combination of sophistication and casual elegance. The team’s ambition at Terra is to create a relaxed and casual atmosphere to enjoy great food, local craft beer & wine.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerContemporary American
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeighborhood Gem
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Terra American Bistro reviews from OpenTable diners
81 reviews since May 4, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.5
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance3.9
    Noise LevelModerate
97% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (62)fit for foodies (52)special occasion (28)great for lunch (23)great for brunch (17)good for groups (16)notable wine list (13)kid-friendly (11)romantic (9)hot spot (8)vibrant bar scene (7)late-night find (1)Show More
  • Small Plates
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    We were a group of 4 seniors. Each of us ordered a small plate and we shared. Each with its own flavor and personality, we had the flatbread with mushrooms, the wedge salad, the stuffed peppers and truffle French fries. Believe me, these were not your typical flatbreads, fries and salads. The restaurant buys locally and the chef is imaginative. Service was most attentive. Thank you Nick.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Always a treat!
    Martha
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    Another excellent dining experience. Wait staff attentive and friendly, food outstanding as usual. Tried the short rib tacos finally and was not disappointed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • diamond in the ruff
    luv2eatVIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Great restaurant off the beaten path. Creative cocktails. Terrific food - don't miss the burger or the pot roast - both are standouts! Salads are so fresh and delicious. The "wedge" is an inventive take on the standard - love the tomato marmalade. For dessert, don't miss the banana bread pudding. This is outstanding and I don't even like bread pudding. From the moment we got there, we were made to feel welcome. Our server, Tori, was wonderful - friendly, knowledgeable and not afraid to give an opinion when asked which I appreciate.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Another great meal!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    We shared Terra with our daughter and son-in-law and we all had a great time. The food as always was fresh and exceptional. Thank you to the whole Terra team from Chef Jeff to the entire wait staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Favorite new place
    CakSue
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    After my third visit visit to Terra, I could not be more impressed. The food is delicious and changes often. It has a nice ambience, warm, inviting but not so loud you can't have a conversation. The service is friendly and the food has decent portions. I will definitely go again for a special occasion.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Follow thru a problem
    Coast2coast
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    I love Terra but . . . I took my daughter there for her birthday with friends on Friday. I called in advance to see if I could special order a cake and they said no but could make a notation on our reservation so her dessert comes out with a candle. But it didn't. Terra did not recognize her birthday at all despite hints I tried to drop the server. Apparently calling in advance was less than useless and the staff's promises worthless. I was really dissappointed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • So tasty!
    Bevgo
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Crab cake sliders were wonderful and perfect amount of food for lunch. All dishes so beautifully presented. Our waiter so friendly and prompt.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excites Palate and Convesation
    HopefullyHelpful
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    Been here twice, once to celebrate our son's college gradation and this time to celebrate our daughter-in-law's birthday. Next? Bringing my wife for a romantic rendezvous. Many would just drive by this inadvertent spot (unless you notice the tractor in the garden on the corner). And in some ways it seems a secret hideaway. The food and caring service are both excellent!!! Our server, Micheal (this trip), was unobtrusive and his suggestions intuitive. A few couples were at the bar enjoying adult beverages paired with a bit of delectable food and conversation. What flows from the kitchen excites the palate and the conversation; all one needs to make a memorable mark with (a) loved one(s)...including our 3 yr. old grandson.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A rare find for East County Foodies
    EastCountyFoodie
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    There are not that many places in East County that I can go to satisfy my foodie cravings. Plenty of down and dirty places to be sure, and I frequent them. Terra is a rare opportunity to enjoy some refinement, and a real culinary experience with subtlety. My wife and I both had a great time, and will return. I went to the previous Hillcrest location before it moved. I have to say that I enjoyed the ambience of the new La Mesa location much better, and the place was very well attended. Everything was great - highly recommend the Sangria!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tantan50
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    This is one of our favorite neighborhood spots. The food and service are always excellent.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Steak Sammie
    Connie
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    I was challenged to decide on a specific lunch item, with everything sounding so wonderful. I'm so glad I went with the steak sammie and greens. Perfect! And hard to believe I ate the whole thing. Complemented by their unique Lemongrass mule, which is the best I've ever had. Love the fresh lemongrass in it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Last day of summer
    3Yips
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    Awesome time & awesome food! We ate more than we intended - but it was well worth it!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sunday night at Terra
    BBJ913
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    Went to Terra at 5:30 pm for Sunday dinner. Food was outstanding, but they do not offer bread anymore when you sit down at the table. Terra was understaffed due to a concert at SDSU, therefore the service was a bit off. The server was trying his best, but he looked stressed due to the full restaurant. The wife and I will go to Terra again, but we will check for concerts beforehand.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We'll be back.
    Kaynjay
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    We spent an enjoyable evening with friends at Terra. The local fish dish was outstanding. We're looking forward to a return visit soon.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A gem of a restaurant
    Jenco
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    The food is excellent the service is superb and the wine list delivers a good range of reds. It's a great place to unwind, relax and have some good food.. We will definitely be going back soon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Unexpected Neighborhood Gem
    Aussie
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Who would have thought...? In a neighborhood yet to be called transitional (the eastern reaches of El Cajon Blvd.) there is a restaurant already staking claim to a bright future amidst the blight: Terra American Bistro. This restaurant might be just another find in North Park or South Park. But here it's a revelation, a commitment by its owners to making good food for the masses—wherever they happen to live or work. The semi-industrial, well appointed interior design is merely a prelude to a creative, farm-to-table menu. Those seeking gluten-free options are well served at Terra. And "served" is the word. The service is eager, informed, and genuine. For now, Terra is a destination restaurant. One day it might be your neighborhood hangout.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    I have been to this restaurant for lunch and dinner. The food is always great! It is organic, fresh and locally grown. There is always plenty but not too much. Desserts are fabulous! A wonderful place for a celebration of a special occasion. The only downside is that it is a little noisy. Do not miss this gem of a restaurant!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Amazing!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    What a fantastic experience. My wife and I cannot wait to go back.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Consistently Outstanding
    OMan
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    I have dined at Terra over a dozen times and the food and service have always been excellent. I took a group of 8 for lunch this time and everyone loved their meals.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great place for brunch
    Happytoeat
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    I went to Terra a while back when they were in Hillcrest. This spot in La Mesa is just as good if not better. The farm to table brunch offerings were all very tasty. A nice touch is that their brunch items include up to three mimosas. That make it a very good ideal. I didn't see anyone counting so you could get more if you wanted to.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Convenient
    8fresh
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    Terra was a convenient spot to meet at in the College area neighborhood. Our group (4 of us) enjoyed a fair meal and service. I would not consider our meal or service at Terra as memorable. The menu choice also plays a role as one of us had the hamburger and was a lot happier than the dinner who chose the mole dish. In time to come we will give Terra a second chance.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Funky place
    Ruth
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    This was my second visit for Sunday Brunch. Convenient to church and my condo, so extra benefit.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    This is a wonderful neighborhood restaurant. La Mesa needed Terra! We enjoy their consistently great food!
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice neighborhood gem
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    It was a pleasant meal. The alcoholic drinks were fantastic! The atmosphere was quiet, the server was a super friendly San Diegan, which was nice.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food!
    Bookworm
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    Great service and fabulous food! They often change the menu and give me an opportunity to try new items. It's always good! I love their brunch with the bottomless mimosas!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Love the food
    fooddude
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    We have been a few times and tried different things. Loved the shellfish and the flatbread with smoked tomatoes!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Happy Eater
    HappyEater
    Dined on 6/22/2014
    Always interesting place to dine and indulge in their house infused vodkas. Breakfast wasn't anything to write home about, but good, satisfying and had a couple of interesting specialties. The service is always friendly and even the house made catsup is great. Love having lunch and their house made sangria. The chef usually strolls around and chats with people which is fun.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always on point
    Dcycle
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    This was a regular stop for my wife and I but situations pulled us away. Jeff is a wonderful chef and his staff is top notch. My wife who is a lobster fan had the Lobster roll and except for the cilantro in the slaw absolutely loved it. I had two appetizers the Steamed Mussels and walnut/spinach Ravioli's. This is the first place I ever had Mussels and still think they are the best and the Ravioli even with it's different filling was very good. Don't know why we didn't come back sooner but will put this back on the short list of Saturday night on the town.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent…as always
    Luna
    Dined on 6/12/2014
    Another great lunch at Terra! I enjoy introducing my friends to this restaurant as everyone always comes away satisfied and vowing to return. I enjoy the gluten free/vegan options and know that I will always have creative, interesting and fresh options to choose from.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great lunch spot
    chandiegoVIP
    Dined on 6/11/2014
    I've been here for lunch a few times, and the food is consistently delicious and reasonably priced. There are always good specials, so be sure to check those out! My favorite thing to get (every time) is the hummus as a starter. It's $3, a generous portion, and comes with several slices of bread (ask to have toasted...yummy!). The bourbon bread pudding is awesome for dessert. My friends and I have enjoyed a little of everything (salad, pasta, sandwiches, bowls) and everything has been excellent. Seriously. Ambience is kind of urban modern, and the service is very good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Enjoyed it!
    Luna
    Dined on 5/29/2014
    I love dining at Terra. The menu is fresh, creative and innovative. Prices are reasonable and service is fantastic!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fantastic!
    amrivera28
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    My husband I LOVE this place! The service is always great and the food is beyond compare. The rosemary chicken was the best chicken have ever had, anywhere, hands down. We will definitely be coming back again, and again. This place has the only bread pudding I will ever eat. It's just so good and the prefect consistency, not too mushy, like a lot of places. The food is inventive, fresh and delicious.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great first time visit
    GrtFoodisHVN
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    Terra was recommended and I'm So glad we went. The service and food were truly outstanding. We has two salads -- the roasted beet and the arugula. The dressings were flavorful; the salad components perfect. We split the pappardelle with short ribs, mushrooms, etc. I have never had that combination. The flavors blended so nicely; the beef was tender, the veggies nicely done, just a wonderful meal. I had the ginger lemongrass mojito -- luscious!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Mother's Day
    NewMom
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    We were thankful to be able to get in on Mother's Day. Our food was very good. We enjoyed our french fries w/truffle oil & pot stickers before our entrees arrived, however we felt invisible when it came to our server. Such a shame that she put a damper on our experience.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • overpriced and cheap
    luvfood
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    When we arrived there was a board that read 3 glasses of champagne or mimosa with brunch bit then when I asked for my second glass they said it would be $5 because that did not apply for the $35 prix fix mothers day brunch. The food was tasty but the apppetizer was berries and cream ams the dessert was the same but in a maetini glass with a wafer. Also tjey charges # 3 for coffee when I was paying $35 for brunch. Super stingy
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • bobv
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    My first time. Food and service were excellent. It was very busy and noisy Saturday night at 7pm. Small plate offerings are great idea.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • "Best Fish the Whole Trip"
    McNultyR
    Dined on 5/8/2014
    My friend was visiting from Wyoming and we had dinner at Terra American Bistro. She had been traveling from Newark NJ, to Marina Del Rey and last stop San Diego. We ordered the Yellowtail entrée. We agreed the flavor of the wasabi aioli and the tenderness of the fish, was nothing less than divine! As my friend said, "This was the best fish my whole trip". My husband and I cant wait to go back for Mother's Day Brunch. Farmer's omelet here I come.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • I expected more
    adeline
    Dined on 5/8/2014
    Terra was recommended by a couple of friends so we were anxious to try it out with friends. We decided on small plates rather than a large meal. Everything was just OK, nothing spectacular. I would like to give it another try because of others' who had given it a great recommendation. The restaurant has good options for gluten free and vegan which was helpful to our friends.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 43 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 4, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.4
    • Food4.5
    • Ambiance3.8
    • Service4.5
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 780 reviews are from the Terra American Bistro reviews archive.
  • Not the best food.....or service
    MomOfFive
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    Six of us had dinner the other night. I had often passed by and wondered how it was. So six of us went for my bday dinner. The hostess was fantastic. Our waiter was unprofessional. Two of us got the chicken and it was inedible. It was so full of salt, you couldn't recognize it was chicken at all. We didn't eat it, or any of the sides and sent it back. When we told the waiter, he seemed "put out"! He did come back and say that they had brined it too long and that's why it was awful. When we got the bill, the two meals were still on there. He seemed surprised that I'd want the meals removed. With spending so much on wine, appetizers and the other meals, you'd think they'd be more accommodating. The atmosphere and wine list was a plus!
    Special Features:
    Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food
    Lovetoeat
    Dined on 4/23/2014
    Great recommendation from another restaurant owner! Food and service was great. Menu choices were very good. Definitely be back
    Special Features:
    Kid-Friendly, Fit For Foodies, Good for Groups, special occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.