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Olivar Restaurant.

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Has anyone tried Olivar in Capitol Hill?

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  1. My partner and I rushed out to try it and see if someone could break the curse of that space. (We similarly rushed out to try Fork there when it opened, loved the food, and were sad to see it fail so quickly.)

    My impressions of Olivar were uneven. If you want great Spanish, Harvest Vine's still the place to go.

    Their albondigas (meatballs) were very tasty and moist. Gazpacho was, well gazpacho. I was confused by a saffron rice & seafood dish that was ever so close to being a paella, but not called that, and somehow much less satisfying than if they just went ahead and made a seafood paella. Didn't have the same intense flavoring.

    We'll see. I don't know what will work in that space, but the space remains as unique and striking as ever with the murals unaltered.

    1. We ate several dishes on their opening night. The service was still being ironed out, but all the staff were friendly and helpful. I had the fabada (white beans, chorizo, blood sausage), one of our party had the scallops w/ pepper coulis, and another had the arugula beet salad. All were very good. I would go again if I was in the neighborhood.

      1. thanks guys for the info. I have heard great things about the place.
        I would like to check it out.

        1. We went last night and I can't say enough good things about this place. In terms of pure delicious-ness, this was the best meal I've had in recent memory. Chef Phillippe is from the Loire Valley but his grandmother was Catalan and he loves all things Spanish. We had four (generously sized) small plates and two large and I wanted to lick almost every plate. The (fried) gnocchi with fava beans and the seared scallops with very thin, crispy slices of sausage were absolute knockouts. The rabbit with papardelle and the beet/goat cheese/arugula salad were fantastic and the gazpacho was very good; the seafood/rice dish was good though didn't quite wow me like the other dishes. They had kir royales on their specials board and is there anything nicer than a kir royale with a lemon twist on a hot day? The wine list if very reasonably priced and heavy on the Spanish wines as you might imagine. The two of us had 4 "small" plates, 2 large, 2 kir royales and 2 glasses or wine for $110, which we thought was a very good value. It was actually too much food--we couldn''t quite finish our large plates.

          The staff was knowledgable and the service great, though we would have prefered more time inbetween our 3 courses (they probably think most Americans don't). Chef Phillippe came out and talked to diners and was such a warm, friendly person. It's in a beautiful old building across from the Harvard Exit theater. I cannot wait to go back.

          1. I tried it last weekend, and mostly liked it. Menu was different from what is online now. We had the salad with pickled trumpet mushrooms and a sort of goat cheese (fried?) en croute; the combination of flavors was great, and the cheese itself was luxurious. The only drawback was that the pastry on the cheese was dense as opposed to flaky; we don't know if that preparation is deliberate or not. The patatas bravas with blood sausage was very rustic and hearty, nearly too oily but not quite. Conejo tres maneras was impressive, the work that went into the three preparations, and the serrano wrapped loin was perfectly cooked. Strangely, each component of the dish was a tad bit too salty, making it reminiscent of Cafe Juanita's signature dish, but not so much. Thoughtfully curated wine list, nothing very expensive nor exceedingly pedestrian; i liked the '06 casa del illana from ribera del jurancon, a DOC I hadn't seen before. The best thing about Olivar IMO is its value. Not a item was over $20, the "small" portions are generous, and the well-known building it inhabits has a built-in retro charm. The total bill for two was about $50 for 2 small plates, 1 large, and 2 glasses of wine. An important precedent to set in Seattle, which I think would frankly benefit from more competition at several price points.

            3 Replies
            1. re: equinoise

              "The best thing about Olivar IMO is its value. Not a item was over $20, the "small" portions are generous, and the well-known building it inhabits has a built-in retro charm. The total bill for two was about $50 for 2 small plates, 1 large, and 2 glasses of wine. An important precedent to set in Seattle, which I think would frankly benefit from more competition at several price points."

              Well stated, equinoise.

              1. re: frygirl

                No kidding Frygirl! The only stuff that's reasonably priced anymore is ethnic stuff at hole in the wall places!!

                1. re: allisonw

                  And if you sign up for their mailing list, you get cards for a free appetizer on your birthday and anniversary. :)