Olivea (Kingston) – Order the right things and you won’t be disappointed
Olivea has got a pretty stellar location. In the summer, the patio is right across from Market Square so you can people watch and enjoy a cool drink. In the winter, it is right next to the rink so it feels quite “Christmassy”. The food is somewhat of a gamble. I’ve had some pretty awful things here (the Rigatoni alla Bolognese was horrendous, tasting like boiled ground beef) but if you know what to order, I find it quite enjoyable.
This is the large Olivea Poutine (frites with rich veal cheek ragu and local cheese curd) for $15. The frites are nice with the soggy ones soaking up all the juicy veal goodness. I do find it a touch salty. The cheese curds help cut the saltiness but you don’t really get enough curd. This is a pretty satisfying appy to share between people.
This is the Garganelli (with roasted garlic and rosemary cream sauce with crispy chicken leg) for $20. A touch on the pricy side but the egg noodles are fantastic. They used to make the cream sauce with some lemon zest which I thought was really interesting: zesty and a bit bitter. I am sad they stopped using it. But pasta aside, this chicken is devastating. Crispy skin, savoury, and tender. There is just enough fat to make the meat really slippery and rich on your tongue. I always get this dish when I go to Olivea.
Overwhelmingly, at Olivea, the hits outshine the misses. If you know what to get and stick with it, you’ll never be disappointed. I hate advocating for rigidity in ordering but when you have a dish as amazing as the Garganelli, you really don’t need variety. The atmosphere is clean, modern, and upscale. The service is quite good, especially for large parties where I’ve hosted big gatherings for students. But the location is what brings me back. When you eat here, you just feel like you are a part of Kingston.
Olivea, 39 Brock St., Kingston, ON, K7L1R7, www.olivea.ca