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Oliva - Houston & Allen St.


anil
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I'm always in search of new tapas places in the city. I'll try any once, some even twice - In trying to recover from a miscued reservation (not at a tapas place :smile: ), we headed south - Way south from our turf , and ventured into Oliva.

For our first taste of the place, I'd say this place holds promise - Try the calamari. There are other fairly nice tapas, but I'll visit again later to see if we were lucky in our tapas :cool:

anil

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Anil, what are some of the other dishes? I frequent that area often.

Not to stray from the subject, but can someone define tapas? I was under the impression that they are appetizers of Spanish origin normally accompanied by a cocktail, i.e., olives, snails, cheese, etc. It seems that more and more places are calling any appetizer a tapas these days.

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anil -- There's a restaurant (non-tapas) called Olica. Members meeting friends at Oliva might want to be careful to make the Olica/Oliva distinction, just like Django/Chango.  

http://www.newyorkmetro.com/content/02/wk31/review.htm

(Review of Olica)

We discussed Oliva back in 2000, I believe bux did not enjoy it at all.

http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@13...4@.f065b05/6082

Olica is completely unrelated (in location, decor and food) but is also worth a visit. I'm not sure it will last as long as Oliva.

M
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I have to second the endorsement for Oliva with a caveat. The food is quite good across the board but its a tapas place so you have to be ready for the "tapas atmosphere". Oliva gets pretty noisy and crowded... people sitting right next to you at little tables.

And if that completely turns you off, go in the late afternoon (but before the dinner rush begins)when it is still quiet, sit at the bar, have a glass of wine and a plate of their calamari. Anil is right, it is absolutely amazing. Rolled in what I think is Panko (but maybe the spaniards have their own version of panko...) it is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. It's served with mayonnaise and that wonderful sriracha red paste... mmm.

Best,

Akiko

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  • 2 years later...

We ate at Oliva tonight, with a visiting cousin of HWOE's.

Except for an almost complete lack of salt, the food was quite good. (Normally "no salt" would be a kiss of death for me, but everything was pretty flavorful even without it.) We shared the Setas a la plancha (grilled sliced mushrooms) and Txangurro (stuffed crab flavored with tarragon, topped with panko. Yes, the Japanese panko). Both portions were more the size I think of as ración -- that is, about twice the size of a tapa. Even so, the prices were quite reasonable.

There is a short list of mains, maybe half a dozen? I had the Roast Chicken, and HWOE and Mort had the Paella a la mariscas (sp?). My chicken was two mostly-boned halves of a poussin-size bird, glazed with cherry (rich but not sweet) and served with excellent olive-oil mashed potatoes. The paella had mussels, clams, calamari, and shrimp. I tasted a piece of calamari, and it was really tender. The guys loved the whole dish. And at $18, it seemed a pretty good deal.

Good bread served with very fruity olive oil for dipping. Very good coffee. A nice tempranillo (El Paseo) for $27.

I noticed they have many varieties of sherry from Lustau, our favorite brand. So between that and wanting to try the gambas a la plancha and the grilled calamari and many of the other classic items, we expect to go back. Provided we can figure out a "quiet time." Because yes, it was noisy: early on, the music was loud; then as it filled up, it got even louder with conversation.

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