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Feb 26, 2009 09:39 AM

Olive Bars?

Are there any Olive (Tasting) Bars in/around Boston?

I want to learn about olives and their different tastes and where they come from, how they are seasoned, etc.

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  1. There is a little specialty grocery store on Shawmut Ave. near South End Formaggio. Maybe someone can help out with the name and exact address. They have an interesting selection of olives. It's worth stopping in if you're in the neighborhood. Be sure to call ahead, the hours are sporadic. The Franklin Cafe' is a few doors down if you want to grab an early dinner.

    1 Reply
    1. re: skylark938

      Oh Yes, I know that place - thank you!

      I have only been to the Franklin for martini's which are amazing by the way

    2. Does it have to be a restaurant? If not, I'd suggest heading over to Watertown where the Armenian markets have self-serve olive bars and you can get a really good range of varieties in whatever quantity you desire. In addition to the stores frequently mentioned on this board such as Sevan, Arax and Massis, I'd also recommend checking out the olives at Sofia's Greek Pantry on Belmont Street.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Velda Mae

        No, not a restaurant Velda Mae - I think I am looking for exactly what you suggested.

        Thanks for the suggestions!

        1. re: BostonNooch

          Basically, if you go to any place with an olive bar, they will let you try them. If you're in Little Armenia (Vatertown), you can try a couple of what you like, if you're a good do-bee, and use the ladle to put them in a cup, eat them, and then put the pits in a container (You can usually find one where tasters have been before you). If you have question, just ask. Even if you're at a place like Whole Foods or Roche Bros., where they frown on you helping yourself, you can ask someone in the department, and they will dip up some of each variety for you to try. Hopefully, at both places, they will be able to answer your questions. If you have any doubts, just ASK, and err on the side of hygiene. Remember, the nation is eating from your hands, but polite tasters are rewarded with samples, good service, and, hopefully, good information!
          There is NOWHERE that will not give you a taste if you ask!

        2. re: Velda Mae

          I'm planning to make some olive tapenade this weekend, do those Armenian markets carry anchovy fillets and capers too? I live in Waltham so popping over to Watertown would be easy for me.

          1. re: y2000k

            I'm not sure but I'll bet they have then at Russo's and that is only a mile or so from the markets.

            1. re: y2000k

              The Fourth Muskateer of the Mt. Auburn markets - Eastern Lamejun Bakery - on Belmont Street, a few blocks past Sofra - has anchovy fillets and capers. Finally stopped in there this weekend - nice store - got some pre-made lamejun ("pizza") with chicken - not sure what I expected, sort of interesting flavors, but the pre-made ones need ... something. Maybe a dipping sauce.

              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                El's veggie lamejuns w/pomegranate are my favorite.

          2. Capone's in Union Square, Somerville, has great olives and will let you taste them. I was always prejudiced against olives sold without pits, but their cracked green olives, pitless, are great. There is also a Capone's on Mass Ave in North Cambridge, but last time I went, everything there was already packaged and I'm not sure they can offer tastes at that location.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Madrid

              also jj pace in the north end, as well as harry's cheese in haymarket.

            2. I always wanted to open up a small restaurant that served good cocktails (almost martini bar like), but good micro beers and cigars ... that offered appetizers - one price for a the appetizers. It would consist of olives all kinds, cheeses / crackers, bruscetta and some toppings, and maybe 1 or 2 soups (served in coffee mugs), simple but easy food. We did this at a couple of special nights up at the restaurant and they were a hit. Also did it at a couple of special events.

              Ok getting off track. I was trying to remember the name of the one I went to and then I just saw it listed below. Should of looked first. I remember Shawnut Ave. May be the same place. Can't remember the name either.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kchurchill5

                Syrian Grocery Importing Company , Store hours: Tues.-Sat.: 11:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.; 270 Shawmut Ave.; 617.426.1458.