Simon Lam loves to eat. Although he isn't a trained chef, he sure knows what good food tastes like.
Good Quality Food
Olivea is a family-run Italian restaurant in Kingston, Ontario, that opened in 2008. They have become a popular spot for pasta and gnocchi. Their space is well lit with large windows encasing almost the entire restaurant. Inside, warm colours and wooden pieces create a very welcoming and comfortable atmosphere.
We visited this restaurant in mid-November. My friends ordered the tuna special and pasta. I got the Olivea burger that comes with Wilton cheddar, bacon and tomato chutney. I decided to get the green salad with my burger. I thought the salad was super fresh and very appetizing, although it could have used a bit more dressing. The burger was also very tasty. I wished it came with more vegetables, like fresh tomatoes and lettuce. My friends seemed to enjoy their meals, as well. One of my friends did say the portion was a bit small. To fill her up, she ordered cannolis. She said that they were delightful.
The non-food aspect of the restaurant was quite good, as well. The service was excellent. Our waitress was helpful, accommodating, warm, and efficient. I was very pleased with their washrooms. They were attractive, clean and well stocked. Healthwise, they had one non-critical violation in their last inspection. They failed to sanitize their dishes in the final rinse. I hope they will be more careful in the future.
Overall, I was happy with Olivea. I would recommend it for great Italian cuisine.
A Bit of History
Owners Stev George and Deanna Harrington opened Olivea in 2008, and Stev George is also the head chef. Together with their staff, they have created a popular Italian restaurant on prime real estate across from the Market Square. They are well known for their pastas and gnocchi, which are made in-house.
Olivea has a very warm and welcoming atmosphere. The restaurant is almost completely enveloped in large windows, letting in all the bright and cheerful sunlight. The interior has warm hues of tan and light orange-brown. There is exposed brickwork on the far wall opposite the entrance. Spot lights and decorative pendant lights offer additional lighting. Tasteful photographs and artwork provide interest on the walls. Different artefacts including a buddha decorate the space. The buddha feels kind of out of the place in the Italian establishment.
A full bar with space for diners to sit and eat is situated in the centre of the restaurants. All the tables are found around its perimeter. Brown wooden chairs and tables and booth seating are where diners can relax and enjoy their meals.
We visited Olivea in mid-November for lunch. They have a modest menu offering antipasti (appetizers), salads, sandwiches, pastas, and secondi. One of my friends had the tuna special, while the others had pasta. As usual, I ordered a burger, the Olivea Burger to be exact. It has Enright (name of a local cattle farm) beef, Wilton cheddar, bacon, and tomato chutney. It comes with a side of soup, frites or insalata verde or green salad. I picked the green salad. The burger was $17, which is comparable to other establishments.
While we waited for our food, we were served bread with olive oil and vinegar. The bread was so delightful. It was soft, light and had a touch of salt.
I was really impressed with the presentation of the burger. It looked appealing and tasteful. I was super pleased with the salad. It looked very fresh and appetizing. I've been disappointed before at other restaurants, but Olivea had the best looking salad. It had endives, radicchio, red and green lettuce, and arugula. My only criticism is that not enough of the vinaigrette was used on the salad.
The burger looked mouthwatering. The beef was nice, juicy and full of flavour. I liked the bacon too. The tomato chutney added an interesting tangy taste to the burger. I thought the burger could have been better with actual tomatoes and lettuce. However, I really enjoyed the burger.
Close-up of Burger
Side of Salad
Top View of Burger
My friend said that her pasta was quite delicious, very rich and creamy. Her only complaint was that the portion size was a tad too small.
Because the pasta that my friend had didn't fill her up, she ordered dessert. She got cannoli. They served two of them per plate. She was really happy with the cannoli. She raved that they tasted heavenly.
We were served by one waitress. She was very amicable, warm and bubbly. We didn't have to wait very long for our food. Overall, the service was wonderful, and efficient.
The state of a restaurant's washroom is an indication of the cleanliness and upkeep of the whole establishment. I visited the men's room at Olivea, which was in the basement. The washrooms have a very neutral tone, with black, grey, and brown colours. There was also exposed stonework in there. It looked quite clean, and well stocked. I was pleased with their washrooms.
The local Public Health Unit does regular inspection of food facilities in Kingston and posts their results online. I checked to see how Olivea did in their most recent inspection. They were last inspected on May 29, 2018. They had one non-critical violation that appears to be a repeat. They failed to sanitize dishes in the final rinse. I hope they will be more careful in the future.
Simon Lam (author) on December 12, 2018:
Thank you for your comment. Yes, the food was for the most part pretty good. I agree they have a nice atmosphere, very relaxing. And yes, I would also recommend Olivea too! On Tuesdays they have Jazz music on so come for the food and for the entertainment!
gs on December 12, 2018:
Just finished reading your review of Olivea's Italian restaurant. It was spot on. I ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo which the portion was quite tiny for $16. But it was delicious, the pasta was al dente and sauce was nice and creamy. For dessert I ordered the cannoli which I had for the first time. It was absolutely heavenly. My friend ordered a noodle dish with vegetables and tomato sauce. He said it was okay not great. He also said the portion could have been bigger. My friend's burger did look really appetizing and the salad looked fresh. We have been to many eating establishments and this is the first time I have heard him say the salad is delicious and not wilted. I found the atmosphere of the restaurant really cozy and relaxing. I would recommend Olivea's to anybody that loves Italian food.
Simon Lam (author) on December 08, 2018:
Thank you for your comment. Yes, the cannoli is a bit hit. Kingston is a beautiful city. I hope you can visit one of these days.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 07, 2018:
I'd go there for the cannoli. Maybe, one of these days, I'll visit Kingston again. We used to go there when we were in Ottawa as it is on our way driving to Toronto. It's a beautiful city.