Update: As of May 9, 2018, we are sad to report that Posto 9 has closed.
My wife and I celebrated a special occasion recently, so we needed a special restaurant. We chose Posto 9, a Brazilian gastropub in Lakeland. We made reservations in advance – they weren’t really necessary at the time we arrived, but we still recommend reservations to be safe. The interior of the restaurant is lovely with mood lighting that makes photography difficult but creates a delightful atmosphere. So it’s worth mentioning that the photos don’t really do the place or the food justice. I think our only minor complaint about the experience was the music (a recurring theme here if you follow this blog) – pop music that seemed inappropriate to the world class setting. On the other hand, the volume was mercifully low. We would have preferred some Brazilian jazz or classical music along the lines of Baden Powell.
We received a friendly greeting and were seated promptly. Windows allowing us to see into the kitchen are a nice touch and gave us a sense of a restaurant that’s confident in the food it serves. We never had to wait long for anything and received welcoming attention from our server all evening. We immediately had glasses of water and soon received our beverages, a bottle of San Pellegrino for me and a glass of Malbec wine for my wife. We also enjoyed a complimentary brioche roll (made on site) with garlic butter and a pesto variation for topping choices. The bread was wonderful and we especially liked the garlic butter.
We started off our actual meal with a shared appetizer of calamari, described on the menu as “fried buttermilk soaked” and “Bahia spiced” (Bahia is a Brazilian state). It came with tartar sauce and some lime pieces. This was an outstanding dish, the breading on the calamari was not too heavy, the tartar sauce was excellent, and the limes were a nice touch to add a little additional flavor.
For our main courses, my wife ordered mushroom stroganoff – beef tenderloin tips in a stroganoff sauce, baby potatoes, carrots and asparagus with Jasmine rice on the side. She described it as “the best stroganoff” she’s ever had. The seasoning in the stroganoff sauce was lighter and more flavorful than more conventional stroganoff, the beef was very tender, the asparagus was perfectly cooked, and the combination of the vegetables made it a much more interesting dish than stroganoff she has had in other restaurants.
For my main course, I ordered passion fruit salmon – salmon seasoned with passion fruit on a bed of purple jasmine rice with straw potatoes. The salmon was perfectly cooked for me, not dry and overcooked but not too pink inside either. The straw potatoes added a nice touch of crispiness, and the passion fruit flavor was very mild. I had never eaten purple rice before, and it complimented the salmon just right.
Finally, we shared a dessert of a chocolate bonbon – a chocolate brownie with a dark chocolate mousse, sweet farofa (a cassava flour mixture), and a cashew butter cream. What a delicious, decadent way to end our meal. Very rich and a wonderful combination of flavors.
Of course, Posto 9 is not an inexpensive restaurant, so our total price with tip came to over $137. But the food was extraordinary, beautifully prepared and presented, in an upscale location with outstanding service. For a special occasion, we felt it was well worth the price. We spent about two hours there and never felt rushed, a delightful way to share an evening. We encourage you to visit for your own special evening. Posto 9 is on East Main Street in downtown Lakeland, across the street from Munn Park, a nice place to enjoy a stroll before or after your meal. Enjoy!
If we have inspired you to visit Posto 9, or if you have already been and want to share your experience, please do so via the comments section below. And if you have Polk County restaurant tips, we would love to hear from you via our Contact Us page. Thanks for stopping by and happy eating!