“If I think about my region, large expanses of olive trees come to mind, and this restaurant is like an image of my beloved Apulia for me”. With these words, Angelo, Olio’s owner, told us about how he got the idea to open this restaurant, which we discovered thanks to the posts we saw on our friends’ social networks, depicting mouthwatering-looking food.
Olio opened its doors only a month ago in piazza Lavater, a square in the Porta Venezia area, and its menu is a triumph of genuine fare — all made in Apulia. Each dish is prepared with selected, ultra fresh ingredients that get shipped straight from southern Italy every week, offering diners a truly authentic food experience.
So, what did we eat then? Well, considering the name of the place, we imagined olive oil would be central to many of the restaurant’s dishes, and we were not disappointed: this nectar of the gods is pretty much revered here, and customers are even given the chance to have an oil tasting, accompanied by copious amounts of bread! Some oils will have stronger notes of lemon, others of chili, while yet others will have fruitier notes. The latter is the type of oil that all visitors will receive as a gift, in a small bottle that will be placed on their table during dinner, and that they will have the chance to take home with them when they leave. Olive oil was just the first step in our discovery of the taste of Apulia.
Their antipasti are diverse and come in large portions: they go from parmigiana povera, a parmigiana whose eggplants do not get fried at any point, and which includes smoked burrata in addition to eggplant; mashed potatoes with chicory; octopus with potato and olive mayonnaise, and a wonderful shrimp tartare with an unexpected magic touch: seawater! As for first courses, we had no say here: the chef said we absolutely needed to taste his orecchiette with broccoli rabe, handmade by the women of Bari… And we are very, very glad we listened! 😉
By the time we were ready for a second dish, we felt super full, but we still got tempted by meat: roasted hanger steak with soft caciocavallo flakes; pork belly and veal cheek with chicory.
And that is not all, because as per usual, we made sure we didn’t leave the table before dessert, of course: a small, delicious lemon tart that helped us get over the distinct feeling of sadness we experienced at the idea of going home.
What else did we like, other than the food? Staff and management were very attentive, and they took care of every detail, they were always there for us and very helpful, whenever we were missing bread, or perhaps when we needed tips on what (local) wine we could pair our food with, inbetween courses.
Olive oil, seawater and wine are the three essential elements that this restaurant is based on. Any true lovers of authentic Italian fare will love it… Wherever they come from!