I work in the West End, and to be honest, there just arenâ€™t many food choices around. Youâ€™ve got Chipotle, Corner Bakery, a handful of overpriced steakhousesâ€¦and, of course, Hooters and Dickâ€™s. At first glance it looks pretty bleak.
But toward the AAC and around the corner youâ€™ll findÂ Olivellaâ€™s Neo Pizza Napoletana,Â 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 weâ€™re big fans of the lunch special â€” $10 personal pizza!
I know Olivellaâ€™s is a pizza place, but my favorite thing about Olivellaâ€™s is the salads. Iâ€™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 fetaâ€¦simply excellent.
Recently, Olivellaâ€™s hosted a bunch of food writers to show off some new menu items â€” chicken alfredo pizza, fettuccine alfredo pasta, and a house pasta with tomato-cream sauce and pancetta (!!).
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 Olivellaâ€™s was extremely flavorful. We tried the goat cheese, pesto & sun-dried tomato and the prosciutto & fontina. Iâ€™m a pushover for nearly all of those ingredients. The bread was also awesome, so Iâ€™d definitely recommend those as an app (or a side to your salad!).
Pro tip: thereâ€™s a bottle of infused olive oil at each table. Itâ€™s spicy and herby, and it went great with the pesto focaccia.
Iâ€™m a big fan of the Primavera salad â€” citrusy vinaigrette, crunchy green apples and delightful dried cranberries. Itâ€™s not a hearty salad, but it is yummy. I got seconds.
If youâ€™re in the mood for some comfort food, I recommend the house pasta. The tomato sauce was so light and creamy that I didnâ€™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.
I love that the alfredo pizza is covered in spinach. Itâ€™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 selectionsÂ are Nutella-based, and we sampled the dessert pizza and the Nutella mousse.
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 youâ€™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 â€” perfect for the mild weather weâ€™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 wonâ€™t regret it!
(Disclaimer: My meal was complimentary, and all thoughts are my own.)