OlivÃ©a, the Mediterranean spot from the Duo crew (Stephanie Bonin, Keith Arnold, chef John Broening, and pastry chef Yasmin Lozada-Hissom), opens tonight. But over the weekend the restaurant ran practice dinners, one of which I attended.
The space–once home to tiny Aix–feels bigger with a reconfigured bar, thunderous gray walls, and clean-lined tables and chairs. Favorite detail: The curvy water carafes on each table (though we imagine these breakable delights are short lived). The vibe is New York bistro with tight tables and a high decibel–and it’s a lovely foil for Broening’s Mediterranean cuisine.
The seasonal menu pulls from Spain, Italy, and Southern France but like all brand-new restaurants there are tweaks to be made. That said, must-tries include the rustic patatas bravas, light bay scallop crudo with slightly sweet black-pepper crisps, and the heavenly mascarpone semifreddo (which comes with the lemon crousillant dessert). Best of all, the prices are reasonable with starters averaging $8, sides going for $4, and most entrÃ©es hovering around $18.
719 E. 17th Ave., 303-861-5050