Regina margherita pizza via dallasfoodnerd.com

I work in the West End, and to be honest, there just aren’t many food choices around. You’ve got Chipotle, Corner Bakery, a handful of overpriced steakhouses…and, of course, Hooters and Dick’s. At first glance it looks pretty bleak.

But toward the AAC and around the corner you’ll find Olivella’s Neo Pizza Napoletana, which is arguably the best food in the West End, and pretty great atmosphere. My co-workers and I eat here almost once a week, and we’re big fans of the lunch special — $10 personal pizza!

I know Olivella’s is a pizza place, but my favorite thing about Olivella’s is the salads. I’m going to take a leap here and say they might just be my favorite salads in Dallas. Fantastic greens, tangy vinaigrettes, sun-dried tomatoes and crumbled feta…simply excellent.

Recently, Olivella’s hosted a bunch of food writers to show off some new menu items — chicken alfredo pizza, fettuccine alfredo pasta, and a house pasta with tomato-cream sauce and pancetta (!!).

Olivella’s owner Charlie Green telling us about the new dishes via dallasfoodnerd.com
Olivella’s owner Charlie Green telling us about the new dishes

Lucky for us, they took advantage of the opportunity to give us a sampling of nearly the entire menu. Which meant, of course, salads, and other delicious things like focaccia.

The focaccia at Olivella’s was extremely flavorful. We tried the goat cheese, pesto & sun-dried tomato and the prosciutto & fontina. I’m a pushover for nearly all of those ingredients. The bread was also awesome, so I’d definitely recommend those as an app (or a side to your salad!).

Pro tip: there’s a bottle of infused olive oil at each table. It’s spicy and herby, and it went great with the pesto focaccia.

My plate loaded up with salads, focaccia and a roasted veggie with mozzarella sub via dallasfoodnerd.com

I’m a big fan of the Primavera salad — citrusy vinaigrette, crunchy green apples and delightful dried cranberries. It’s not a hearty salad, but it is yummy. I got seconds.

Pizzas and pastas via dallasfoodnerd.com
Round 2: Pizzas and pastas

If you’re in the mood for some comfort food, I recommend the house pasta. The tomato sauce was so light and creamy that I didn’t mind the tiniest two red specks I got on my white shirt (what was I thinking, white clothes at an Italian restaurant?). And the crunchy pancetta was a flavorful little prize, like the kind you get in cereal boxes but much more grown-up and delicious. A+, would consume again.

And, of course, the pizzas.

Regina margherita pizza via dallasfoodnerd.com
Regina Margherita Pizza

 

Chicken Alfredo Pizza via dallasfoodnerd.com
Chicken Alfredo Pizza

I love that the alfredo pizza is covered in spinach. It’s definitely a pie that would please both my veggie-loving self and my cheese-loving boyfriend.

The desserts, however, stole the show. All three selections are Nutella-based, and we sampled the dessert pizza and the Nutella mousse.

Marshmallows and strawberries dessert via dallasfoodnerd.com
Marshmallows and strawberries!

The mousse was light and decadent, and the slightly gooey caramel was an excellent touch. The pizza was amazing, with a light crust, toasted marshmallows and pears. I, however, made a complete mess of the marshmallow and had to go to the bathroom to wash off my sticky hands. If you’re a klutz with food like me, you might not want to order that on a first date. But I could see it working on a second.

For the record, Olivella’s is definitely a good date place. The tables feel private, and the atmosphere is dark and romantic in a hipster-modern sort of way. Their Lakewood location is also awesome, which has a beautiful patio covered in vines and roses — perfect for the mild weather we’ve had lately.

Overall, the new dishes were great, but nothing could shake my love for those salads. Do yourself a favor and order the Primavera salad on the Lakewood patio or the downtown location with a nice glass of wine. You won’t regret it!

(Disclaimer: My meal was complimentary, and all thoughts are my own.)