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where to buy good olives?

What's the best place to buy good olives for the right price? Is Bay Cities my best bet?

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  1. Depends on were you are located. I like Papa Cristos (C&K Importing) on Pico at Normandie. Sorrentos has some good stuff, Jefferson & Slauson. Whole Paycheck has a great selection at even GREATER prices.

    1. I think it just depends on the batch.

      I had mind-blowing picholines at WF one time... maybe because it was so mind-blowing, nothing else could compare, but I feel like I've been chasing those revelatory olives for a long time.

      Bay Cities has pretty good prices.

      1. Just came back from Joan's on 3rd, and they had what looked like a good selection, though I'll be honest that I didn't investigate thoroughly.

        1. Bay Cities in Santa Monica is pretty sweet.

          Bay Cities Italian Deli
          1517 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

            1. re: Local

              Guidi Marcello has a great selection and is reasonably priced. Bay Cities is a little more expensive but it has different mixed olives, if that's what you're looking for.

            2. There is a deli near the airport called Olive It! They used to sell at the Pasadena HS farmer's market but are not there any longer - this makes me very sad. They have great pickled garlic, too. So good. I really miss them.

              2 Replies
              1. re: WildSwede

                Are they the ones that did the really good feta with some herbs and olive oil?

                1. re: Burger Boy

                  YES! Damn, I have not thought of that cheese in a long time!! I need to get me some. They also had the delicous olive spreads/

              2. Try a farmers' market, especially the Santa Monica 3rd Street one.
                We have purchased very good olives there. Also, this past weekend I purchased two bottles of olive oil which are really good and more flavorful than the supermarket oils.

                I will be glad to offer more specifics (the specific oils) if anyone inquires.

                4 Replies
                1. re: liu

                  Where do you get your olives at the farmer's market? I got some at the stand right by the entrance to the market that were OK but not great. The brine had an odd fishy taste.

                  1. re: a_and_w

                    Hi, a_and_w!

                    We frequent the Santa Monica Farmers' Market on Saturdays. There is an olive stand at the far end; we approach from the Ocean Avenue side. I assume you are coming from the opposite side since you stated that the stand is at your entrance side. I am sorry to hear that you did not like your olives.

                    It was months ago that we purchased the olives and as I remember, they were quite good. This past weekend we bought two bottles of oil from the same stand. The first, Ava's Acre, smells and tastes exactly like green olives; this one is good for dipping as it is very fruity. The seller said that it was named after the owner's daughter. The second bottle we purchased is Adams' Ranch EV first cold press olive oil. This one is nice for salads and we were told that it was a major award winner for them.

                    Each bottle was only 8.45 fl. oz.., so there was not a huge commitment involved in trying them. While I might not chase back for the olives -- although they were very good -- I will definitely be back for the Ava's Acre olive oil.

                    Perhaps you want to give this stand another try and insist on tasting before you buy. There are so many variables involved. Discuss your findings with the stall attendant and maybe he/she can steer you to something you will like better.

                    1. re: liu

                      Yes, I'm coming from the 3rd street side, so I think we're talking about the same place -- I'll give them another shot with your advice in mind.

                      1. re: a_and_w

                        a_and_w -- Please post your next experience. I am hoping that it will be better!

                2. Whole Foods has a really good Olive bar.

                  1. The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills. Also, try Dominick's Sundried Tomatoes - marinated in this amazing herbed olive oil, so delicious I have eaten an entire pint in one afternoon!

                    1. If you don't mind going a bit out of L.A.- to Ontario (about 45 minutes east)- go to Graber Olives. Just incredible. It's worth visiting, but they do ship their product.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: jotoll

                        Thank you, jotoll. "Just incredible" is right.

                        1. re: jotoll

                          Graber Olives are available at several grocery stores in the area -- Wolfes Market and Stater Bros. in Claremont carry them.

                          1. re: Claremonter

                            Not available at those other stores, however, is the feeling you get driving into the Graber compound in the middle of a leafy residential neighborhood, just a few blocks down from the traffic screaming along the 10 freeway. Inside, the sweet Graber ladies are more than helpful and always seem to be on the verge of offering you cookies and milk.

                            I've never taken the tour or visited the museum. They might appeal to olive devotees, but the retail shop probably won't -- most of it is ruled by knick-knacks and high-quality jams, jellies, nuts, candies, etc., all widely available in other cute little shops (or, even, Bristol Farms). But the setting, those salesladies, and many of their customers will make you think you took a Twilight Zone turn into a land far, far away. Rural Minnesota, for example.

                            1. re: sbritchky

                              Hilarious, and accurate-- which is why I mentioned that they do ship their product... But it is pretty cool to get the olives right there from the source.

                        2. I assume you're talking retail here, that is: a few ounces at the time.
                          Please keep in mind all retailers mentioned so far purchase whole cans (5.5 lbs) from distributors that will also sell to anybody else for that matter.
                          Just google "olives wholesale" to get an idea.

                            1. You might try the first recipe in the Union Square Cookbook. It describes marinating their olives in fennel seed, hot peppers, garlic and orange peel and of course olive oil. Marinating olives is simple and the resultant flavor is so good it can turn an ordinary olive into a wonderful appetizer. If that turns you on, there are countless ways to continue the journey through marinadeland. Best olives I had were in Barcelona, by the way, at a dinner at their yacht club; they were stuffed with anchovies and were fantastic. Never seen them prepared that way since.