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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Finding Time in 2013: Olio

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 I had a couple of restaurant ideas in mind for our May "Finding Time in 2013" challenge, but the fact that Olio had a patio sold me. After an endlessly long winter, we have finally had a few weeks of spring weather and I am determined to take advantage of as much al fresco dining as possible until the heat and humidity sets in and Ryan refuses to step foot outside ;)
Olio's only been open since November, but from the reviews I read on Yelp and what our server told us, the place has done quite well in its six months of existence. An old gas station converted into a restaurant, the space has been restored to its original appearance as much as possible and the interior is very funky. We didn't get that great of a look because I was so eager to sit outside at a rustic picnic table under the lights, but next time I want to cozy up to their bar!
Their menu, like most places these days, changes frequently, primarily featuring a number of small plates (segregated into a few categories: cheese, vegetables/salads, pantry, spreads & dips, salumi & charcuterie, fish & seafood, and sandwiches). Additionally, they feature one rotisserie item each night which is a larger, entree sized dish. They have an extensive wine list (pages and pages!), but Ryan and I stuck to cocktails on our trip there.
Our cocktails were good--creative spins on classic drinks. At $10-12 a drink, they aren't cheap, but we're finding this to be the norm at most places classic cocktails are served. We split three items for our meal: the rotisserie of the night (pork with a panzanella salad), the spicy carrots, made with citrus and harissa, and the charred eggplant dip.
The food was all solid. No complaints about the way anything tasted and all of it was presented well on the plates. None of it blew us away, however. The spicy carrots weren't actually spicy at all, though the charred eggplant dip did taste like it came right off the grill, which I loved. I'd love to go back with a bigger group and try a greater variety of items. They also have a great sounding brunch menu and I would definitely not mind popping in to hang out on the patio after church one Sunday!
Finally, Olio is connected to Elaia, its fine dining sister restaurant which is in a renovated 1890s home next door. We had the chance to walk through the restaurant and peek at the menu and it looks like a fantastic place to celebrate a special occasion. I'm confident both of these restaurants, located two blocks from the Botanical Gardens, will be rousing success stories!
P.S. Check out the pictures of Olio on their website--definitely more beautiful than the ones I snapped with my iphone, and give you a better idea of what the space looks like!

One Year Ago: Banana Cake Balls
Two Years Ago: Summer Spiked Lemonade
Three Years Ago: Cereal Mix-Ins Cookies Olio on Urbanspoon