Friday, January 6, 2012

Oliva Italian Eatery, Italian, Ft. Worth-TX



I think I just heard someone yell "Well it's about time!". I know, I know - we're way late in writing about Oliva. Strange that we haven't discussed it before, only in that we've been a few times since they opened. But it was right at the time I stopped writing for the RJG. But we're back, and it's time to give Oliva their proper due.

Also please note the restaurant is technically in Ft. Worth. As you can see in the comments, someone felt very passionate about that - so I figured I should mention it.

Last visit: January 2012

You've heard the RJG grouse about the fact that almost all the Italian restaurants in NE Tarrant are the same. The antidote? Oliva. The menu is a mix of old school red sauce Italian and newer, more trendy options. Though the balance is definitely tilted towards the traditional. Oliva does the basics right like cooking the pasta al dente, while providing a good (not great) tomato based sauce. They also have a fantastic meatball, that Mrs. RJG really has a taste for. I had the chicken parm on my last visit, and the chicken was a little bit tough - the first real complaint I've had in multiple visits. So they're human - it happens. We're working our way through the menu, though we haven't attempted anything adventurous here yet. The house salad is of the "backyard" variety with a tasty vinaigrette and plenty of field greens, olives, tomatoes, etc... I need to try their Caesar. And the warm seasoned soft bread is most welcome. Despite the nice surroundings, and overall popularity of the restaurant, the prices here are very reasonable.

The owner of the restaurant has a long history in the business, and is also an accomplished sommelier. As such, she offers a variety of high quality wines at very good prices. I admire her willingness to not take an enormous profit on alcohol, as so many places tend to do. As well, they have a nice beer selection including at least two Texas micros on tap.

Is Oliva the best Italian food we've ever had? Oh no - not even close. Is it the best in NE Tarrant county? Probably. A little better than Italianni's for our money, which would be in second place I guess. Now while I said most of the restaurants are similar in the area, I will also add most are very good. We've written about many of them here: Cafe Sicilia, Oggi Italia, Niki's, Italian Bistro and a few others. It's not hard to find good Italian food in NE Tarrant. However, it has proven to be difficult to find great Italian food as I find in other parts of the country. But there's always Pietro's or Prego's in Dallas if I'm determined to have the best.

Oliva is justifiably very popular (#26 on Urbanspoon), so be aware of that on weekend nights. Given its setting in an all residential area, Oliva is nearly empty for lunch, so if you have any flexibility on your schedule, definitely try to go then.

Website

Oliva Italian Eatery on Urbanspoon

7 comments:

Francis Shivone said...

I need to try this restaurant.

I tell visitors who we are taking out to dinner that Fort Worth does not have a really good Italian restaurant. That sounds harsh and it may not be exactly true, but what I mean is that I can't get a good homemade plate of pasta and meatballs anywhere in the area.

I know that pasta is just one small part of Italian cuisine but that is what I grew up with and what I look for and what I can not find.

One of the reasons that it hard to find is that good sauce takes time.

Anyway, I don't try new Italian restaurants but I will try this one.

Thanks.

RJG said...

Hi Francis,

I do think it's worth trying for certain. I'm not sure Oliva has the best sauce either - but their meatballs are very good. It's a good place that deserves the recognition its received.

Were you able to get over to Pietro's in Dallas? That may be more in line with what you're looking for. I totally know what you mean about growing up with this stuff. And it seems harder and harder to find a restaurant willing to put time into the basics, like the old-schoolers used to.

crimestopper101 said...

Please remember that Oliva IS NOT IN KELLER TX. IT IS LOCATED INSIDE THE CITY LIMITS OF FORT WORTH. How about getting the facts correct.

RJG said...

Crimestopper,

I published your entry, despite the extremely rude presentation. There's really no call for that kind of snippyness.

1) I know it's in Ft. Worth.
2) Oliva borders Keller.
3) Urbanspoon has it listed as Keller. Take it up with them.
4) It's not that big a deal.

Why don't you try diplomacy instead? Supposedly you're in the consulting industry. If I saw that from one of my consultants, I would have disciplined and/or fired them on the spot.

So please, take your emotionally stunted disposition elsewhere. I have no intention of publishing any more of your comments if you cannot engage in civil dialog.

Thank you,

- RJG

Anonymous said...

Oliva pays taxes to the city of Fort Worth, however, it is in a Keller ISD and has a Keller Post Office and is much close to downtown Keller (3.5 miles) than to Downtown Fort Worth(20 miles)

Anonymous said...

Most call the area Keller. Yes it is FW but what isn't? The post office and school district is Keller. Some call the area Alliance as well.

As for Olivia. I don't know how to rate it as I sit here at the table. Food is decent (had the standard pasta trio). Definitely VERY expensive at $13 a plate for a small portion of pasta which at others would be $8.

I do find their Urbanspoon profile ridiculous. I expect it to be fraudulent as they have over 600+ ratings.

Likely the owners are voting for themselves. The few folks in here are much older and you don't see them on a computer much less Urbanspoon.

Othe places such as Chef Point which is world rejoined and been on several TV shows has way less ratings than this place.

Something smells fishy here! I suspect rotten pasta too!!

RJG said...

Hi Anon,

Good points on Ft. Worth!

Well, to be fair, Chef Point has considerably more votes than Oliva on Urbanspoon. I really don't think there's much padding here. I do know it's a very popular place and does usually draw big crowds.

I find their lunch prices reasonable, dinner not so much.

Thanks for the comment!