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joiei

Olivia

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This restaurant was named one of the top 10 best new restaurants in the USA by Bon Appetit. I will be in Austin this fall, should I seek a reservation now? Kent, what do you think?

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I think it's good, but not great. I'm not familiar with the other new restaurants opening up around the country but it does surprise me a bit that Bon Appetit puts it in the top ten.

Their commitment to local ingredients is great but I find many of the dishes boring.

I've been three times and hope to post a more detailed review soon.

I think the Fearless Critic review of Olivia and rating is fairly accurate, which I had some input in writing.

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Olivia is one of my favorite restaurants in Austin and has been for around 6 months. The food is fresh and unpretentious. The chef has always been there when I have gone, and recognizes me with a smile and a handshake, which I also like. I think Olivia is what Austin needs right now: it captures the essence of this town that was lost during the high rolling 90's. I love it.

Edited to add: it is also the "go to" restaurant for a lot of highly respected local chefs.


Edited by foodie52 (log)

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From reading the review of the Fearless Critic I don't see where it might be called just good. The review was pretty intriguing, positive and interesting and made Olivia sound like a definite go to restaurant.

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Based on my minimal experience (exactly one meal), "good" certainly doesn't do Olivia justice, but the idea that this was really one of the top ten new restaurants in the country is an absurdity that can only be explained by a need for geographical diversity. (Feast in Houston, on the other hand, might actually qualify.) That said, there's a lot to like at Olivia. They're good about being local and seasonal. Partly as a result, the menu changes a fair amount. They have a lot of unusual items (like the justly famous lamb tounge) and unusual combinations of more "normal" ingredients (peach gazpacho). They have a good balance between serious and casual. Prices are not crazy. The problem with the food, and this was the case with nearly every one of the 7 dishes we had at that meal, was that the idea was a little better than the execution. It was hard to taste the peach in that gazpacho; one dish was way too sweet, one too salty. Now, certainly the people behind Olivia know how to cook. I wonder if the rotation (of a slightly longish menu) sometimes gets the better of them? Clearly Austin is better off to have this restaurant, and it is probably unfair to penalize them for not being as good as they could be (when that still puts them ahead of most of the competition). Still, I couldn't help be a little disappointed.

Andrew

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From reading the review of the Fearless Critic I don't see where it might be called just good. The review was pretty intriguing, positive and interesting and made Olivia sound like a definite go to restaurant.

The rating is 8.9, which puts it around the #20 restaurant in the Austin-area.

...the idea that this was really one of the top ten new restaurants in the country is an absurdity that can only be explained by a need for geographical diversity. (Feast in Houston, on the other hand, might actually qualify.)

My thoughts exactly.

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