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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Olio Pizzeria & Cafe: Good Neighborhood Pizza Joint

It's always nice to find a cute little neighborhood joint that serves decent pizza with fresh-made fruit juices. Olio Pizzeria & Cafe is that kind of place, almost invisible in the corner of Third and Crescent Heights. The place is pretty tiny, although seemingly child-friendly with a few bar seats and about five tables. We went there for a late lunch (or early dinner) around 5pm and found it fairly empty.

It makes fresh sodas and both the tangelo one and lemonade were very good -- refreshing and not too sweet.

We got a half Margherita and half pizza that had prosciutto, Swiss chard, cherry tomatoes and Parmesan cheese (it's usually served with Italian sausage but they had run out, which was better for me since I don't like Italian sausage much).

The Margherita was pretty good. The crust was crispy, charred well and chewy and substantial at the same time. I usually leave the crust out when eating pizza, but I readily ate all the crusts because they were tasty, like eating bread.

The other half was a bit too busy for my taste. Too much going on with the prosciutto cubes, greens and a ton of cherry tomatoes. I liked the combo of salty prosciutto with slightly bitter greens with sweetness of tomatoes, but just too many toppings was overwhelming. Think they should use toppings in moderation.

We started with a greens salad that had a very interesting mix of roasted apples and walnuts with a light dressing. The greens were good, but the roasted apple was my favorite part. A nice and different touch you don't see much in other salads. I'd seen raw apples in goat cheese, beet-like salads but rarely roasted. It helps because I've found myself developing an allergy to raw apples, which makes me really sad but just have to cope with it, I guess. Sigh.

Service was good. Parking is street parking. Think this is the kind of place that's going to get crowded during peak hours very soon. It also has a Santa Barbara location.

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