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Monday, January 22, 2018

New Restaurant Review: Olea in Newport Beach

If you're a fan of Vine in San Clemente or Ironwood in Laguna Hills then you already know you're going to be in for some fabulous dining at the newly opened Olea in Newport Beach! 

Located in a small center right where 17th Street turns into Westcliff Drive and Costa Mesa into Newport Beach. The first thing you'll notice as you enter Olea is the large center bar with seats all around, encouraging a fun lively ambiance similarly to Vine & Ironwood. Also similar to its sister restaurants is a welcoming open kitchen design allowing for diners to view the Chefs hard at work on their yummy creations.

I can already tell you that the cocktails at Olea are for sure going be one of the stars here! House created craft cocktails are made using only fresh ingredients including herbs grown from their sister restaurant, Vine's garden. It's evident that a lot of thought and care went into each cocktail before it was put on the menu. 

The "Rich Girl" - the drink not the girl. ;)

Several of their cocktails were created just for Olea including the "Rich Girl" made with rose wine, vodka, lime, yuzu and basil. Refreshingly light with a slight citrus undertone and how can you resist the oh-so appropriate name? 

Even though they have a great wine list here, I highly recommend you opt for at least one cocktail as you don't want to miss these!  

We started our menu tasting with a lovely artisan cheese & cured meat board. It featured several cheese included a goat cheese and port wine cheese along with a few different kinds of meat.  Came to the table with aged balsamic, a honey tapenade, seasonal garnishes, marinated olives, and grilled rustic bread.  Cheeses and meats will change with the season so if you order one it may differ a bit, but it makes for the perfect starter to share with friends and whet your appetite! 
Artisan Cheese & Cured Meat Board

Blue Crab Baked Oysters Champagne
The blue crab baked oysters champagne were next on our little food tour of Olea. These little gems came to the table served up doused with a decadent melted butter, bacon & creamy watercress sauce. Truthfully, the oysters were very good but I would eat a rock if it was drenched in this butter sauce. #yum!

Jumbo Lump Crab & Sea Salt Roasted Heirloom Beets

The jumbo lump crab and sea salt roasted heirloom beets was almost too pretty to eat, but of course we did. ;) Sliced beets are perfectly paired with slivers of ruby star grapefruit and a crunchy filbert crumble - all topped with a lemon shallot gastrique. Fresh tasting and bright - this dish makes a perfect starter or side dish for a vegetarian or anyone looking to eat a little lighter. 

 Terrine of Duck Liver 

Next up was the yummy bites of savory duck liver pate with a sweet hint of bourbon and bacon on thick crunchy grilled bread. If you're a fellow duck liver fan you don't want to miss this one folks!  #divine 

Mac n Chese
No surprise that the skillet of mac and cheese came to the table with some pretty high expectations - which luckily for us (and YOU!), it easily met. A Chef's blend of cheeses is used to create a creamy sauce that's then baked in a cast iron skillet with panko topping to add the perfect crunch. 

I am admittedly, not a fan of filet mignon - yes, I know I'm in the minority and that it's considered one of the best and most expensive cuts of beef BUT for me, it's always a bit of a fail. I'll take a nice marbled bone-in ribeye any day over a filet mignon.  That said, I have to say that the pacific northwest filet mignon at Olea may yet convert me! A perfectly cooked filet served on a bed of the most delicious truffle & creme fraiche potatoes with a side of fresh farmers market veggies, all doused in a crispy langoustine bearnaise. This dish is just perfection in terms of flavor pairings and plating - a must order for any surf and turf lover, IMHO. 

Pacific Northwest Filet Mignon

Peanut butter cup gelato - have you ever heard of such a thing?! Well, NOW  you have! Olea takes this ridiculously delicious creation and stuffs it in between two Belgian chocolate chunk  and fromage blanc cookies, then to add insult to injury, they top it with this salty Spanish peanut crumble. Holy cow - absolutely delicious and a MUST try! 

Belgian Chocolate Chunk & Fromage Blanc Cookies

Soooo rich and decadent! 

This is just a sampling of what the menu at Olea has to offer. Many of the dishes that made Vine and Ironwood favorites in Orange County are featured on the menu, along with some Olea only items. To see the full menu (with pics of the dishes too!) check out their website:

Olea is located at 2001 Westcliff Drive in Newport Beach at the corner of Irvine Avenue and Westcliff. 
Hours: Sun thru Thurs, 5-10pm; Fri & Sat, 5-11pm
Phone: 949/287-6807

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