2013-03-27 / Restaurant of the Week

EL OLIVO

Come, eat, drink and enjoy life…a la vida! Raise your glass of freshly mixed sangria, or some other wonderful cocktail from the bar as you celebrate life, be it a quiet meal after work, a delicious business lunch or a weekend gathering of friends and family. El Olivo is a place where life is celebrated with great food, drinks and merriment. The secret to El Olivo’s 18 years of success in Astoria lies in Riccardo Aguayo’s commitment to quality ingredients, superior service and fabulous recipes from Spain that are perfectly executed every time.

On a recent night, our own little special celebration was underway with an array of mouthwatering appetizers that included El Olivo’s famous pulpo alla Gallega, from the northwest region of Spain, stewed until tender with smoky pimento ($11.50). Shrimp al ajillo are sautéed with copious amounts of garlic and a heavenly sauce meant to be soaked up with warm, crusty bread ($9.95). You can also order this dish as a satisfying main course. Boquerones are practically synonymous with Spain and these fresh, marinated anchovies melt in your mouth, and taste neither fishy nor salty. Just place one or two of these tiny fish on a piece of bread with some of the hand chopped salsa that comes with this dish and you’ll be in for a unique, delicious treat. Riccardo brought us one of his newest specials: scallops on their pretty shells stuffed with shrimp and crabmeat. These eye-pleasing aperitivos were delicious, as were the tender mushroom caps filled with crabmeat and breadcrumb stuffing. Some choose to sit at the festive bar and enjoy a drink while they nibble on any of these appetizers or “tapas”. Share a plate of cured Serrano ham and manchego cheese with olives or an order of the addictive, house made French fries, sliced thin, and sprinkled with sea salt. Fried calamari and mussels steamed with white wine and garlic are also delicious and great for sharing.

There are so many wonderful main course options to choose among at El Olivo, that several visits are required to get the whole picture. Under the seafood listing you’ll find shrimp Creole style with tomatoes, peppers, and onions, as well as fillet of sole with garlicky green sauce. Red snapper with caper sauce or simply broiled are good choices, as is the whole lobster, served any way. The most famous dish of Spain is paella and their Paella Valenciana combines chicken, sausage and seafood with lots of saffroninfused rice and peas for a savory, comforting meal ($21.95). Paella Marinera is a seafood festival that combines juicy, sweet lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels and scallops all nestled into that delectable rice. There will be plenty leftover for the next day too, no matter how much you’ve already eaten!

El Olivo prepares pasta dishes that rival those in any good Italian restaurant, as well as sautéed chicken dishes such as chicken Catalan, Castellana, and Francese with lemon and butter sauce. Come for Easter Sunday dinner when roasted rack of lamb will be served with delicate herbs. Any night, you can have a juicy shell steak or filet mignon with mushroom sauce. All dishes are prepared to order, so a little patience will be rewarded with fresh, piping hot meals.

Put some Kahlua or Tia Maria in your coffee and order a cool, creamy flan, frozen crème brulee, chocolate mousse cake and other dessert specialties. Come for the weekday lunch specials served from noon until 3:00p.m. for just $15.50 including salad, main course, beverage, dessert, tax and tip. El Olivo is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. There is still time to make your reservations for Good Friday, Saturday or Easter Sunday, so celebrate life with your family, good food, drinks, and excellent service at El Olivo. Felices Pascuas!

21-15 31st Street
Astoria, NY  718.932.4040

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