El Olivo Spanish Cuisine and Cocktails
21-15 31st Street, Astoria
Start off your meal as they do in Spain with a variety of "tapas" or small dishes. I highly recommend a plate of boquerones, fresh, marinated anchovies that melt in your mouth, and taste neither fishy nor salty. Simply place one or two of these tiny fish on a piece of warm crusty bread with some of the zesty house made salsa that comes with this dish and you'll be in for a unique, delicious treat. A small plate of cured Serrano ham and manchego cheese with olives is a national dish in Spain. Having spent time in Spain, I can say that these are authentic dishes. One of our favorite starters is shrimp "ajillo". Plump, tender shrimp are sizzling in a robust garlic sauce that tastes best when soaked up with bread ($8.50). You can also order this dish as a satisfying main course. Stuffed sweet peppers are filled with crab meat salad and served chilled. Another special tapa is pulpo a la gallega, a warm stew of tender octopus, prepared with delicate spices. Mussels steamed with garlic, clams casino and stuffed mushrooms are also quite popular. You'll also enjoy one of their satisfying soups like sopa de mariscos, a hearty seafood soup brimming with shrimp and clams in a delicious broth.
The most famous dish of Spain, paella, combines chicken, sausage and seafood with lots of saffron-infused rice and peas for a hearty autumn meal. For a couple of dollars more, you can add lobster to this heavenly combination and all entrées can be prepared for two people at a nominal charge. Classic arroz con pollo, or rice and chicken, ($14.25) is cooked in a cast iron cazuela and served piping hot at your tableside from elegant carts. The smoky chorizo sausage cooked into this dish lends even more flavor. Nearly every entrée at El Olivo provides enough to take home for another delicious meal as they are served with a crunchy salad, and choice of rice or fresh vegetables of the day. Their hand sliced French fried potatoes are out of this world.
To satisfy the steady clientele, the talented chef at El Olivo is constantly adding new and exciting specials. Chicken "rum" is made with tender chunks of boneless chicken, mushrooms, potatoes and peas in a saffron sauce that I really enjoyed. Chicken Riojana is prepared with mushrooms, green peppers and onions in a red tomato sauce with red wine. Continental dishes include fork tender chicken Francese that will melt in your mouth, or try tender chicken breast with garlic sauce.
Only the freshest fish and seafood is purchased and prepared in a number of delightful ways. Fillet of sole is prepared with a light, lemony sauce with capers for a light and satisfying meal. Fillet of red snapper is similarly prepared. Classic shrimp and rice or grilled shrimp with sea salt is another one of the house favorites. Fresh lobster is available every day on the menu, and can be prepared any way you'd like
Meat eaters will delight in tender filet mignon, available with or without mushroom sauce, broiled shell steak, or the chef's special rack of lamb ($20.95). Veal Sevillana is sautéed with onions and mushrooms.
In addition to the fine Spanish cuisine, one of the best
things about El Olivo is the expert, friendly service. You'll be treated like a
king as you linger over dessert and coffee. A new selection of ice cream
desserts is on the menu, including Irish coffee ice cream, whisky sponge cake
and ice cream, forest fruit and frozen yogurt and more. Enjoy classic flan,
baked custard with a sweet caramelized sugar glaze. Café con leche is the
Spanish version of cappuccino and is served steaming hot, or you could try some
coffee flavored with various liqueurs like Kahlua, Tia Maria and cream. El Olivo
is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, with lunch specials from $9.50.
Visit El Olivo and make any night a fiesta. Weekend reservations are suggested
and credit cards are accepted. Olé!