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Apr 5, 2009 06:39 PM

Oakland: Oliveto Cafe - meh ... but not in a bad way

Finally got to one of the Oliveto restaurants after all these years ... a parking place opened in front and I've been wanting to stop by Market Hall ... so ...

Everything was fine. Good quality. The staff was very nice. I wasn't underwhelmed, I wasn't wowed. It was fine.

I had some sort of lamb panini that's not currently on their online menu. Some named ranch lamb. There were a few thin slices, a little frissee (some of which was wilted .. points off for that) and thin cheese, some sort of spread, maybe mayo, on a nice enough roll.

The lamb had a nice tender texture but no flavor. If someone blind-folded me, told me to take a bite, I could probably tell there was some sort of meat and sakad green in there, but not what type. I probably wouldn't guess there was any cheese ... way too thin.

The fried Ceci beans were crispy little shells and seemed a way of eating solidified oil and making it crunchy. I liked them, though it may not sound that way.

The iced tea was good and they were good about refilling.

The restaurant is very noisy and I was next to a rather loud party which didn't help.

It was ok enough. I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there, but if I was in the building and wanted to sit down and eat ... it would be ... fine.

How's the pizza? It didn't look that appealing.

Oliveto Cafe
5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

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  1. My wife and I went to Oliveto with some friends a few weeks back. They had some ancient roman dishes on the menu. It was okay-to-meh. We won't be going back anytime soon.

    We went to A16 on Sunday night for the first time. Now THAT was good!

    It all comes down to "Wow factor". If the food makes us go "Wow!" we'll be back. If not, we move on.

    1. I like ordering the antipasti here, the savory tarts, and the pizza when there are enough people to share it so I just get 1-2 slices. They are very simple with the toppings, but sometimes it is just right, like one I had with marinara, sliced garlic, and smoked mozarella—very tasty.

      I don't think the panini are that exciting either, I've usually found them nice to eat but not great. Try the simple salads of the antipasti section—those are usually great, with a really tasty olive oil.

      1. I haven't been to the Cafe since they renovated it and added the new chef (different from the restaurant upstairs) but the breakfast pizza was supposedly good.