20 Aug 2014
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The Olive Kitchen + Bar: The Strip's New Dining Destination

California cuisine with an Italian twist on Sunset.

The Olive Kitchen + Bar: The Strip's New Dining Destination The Olive Kitchen + Bar: The Strip's New Dining Destination The Olive Kitchen + Bar: The Strip's New Dining Destination The Olive Kitchen + Bar: The Strip's New Dining Destination The Olive Kitchen + Bar: The Strip's New Dining Destination The Olive Kitchen + Bar: The Strip's New Dining Destination The Olive Kitchen + Bar: The Strip's New Dining Destination The Olive Kitchen + Bar: The Strip's New Dining Destination The Olive Kitchen + Bar: The Strip's New Dining Destination The Olive Kitchen + Bar: The Strip's New Dining Destination

Often, dining at a hotel’s restaurant is a risky gamble unless you are a guest at the property and just looking for breakfast or a quick bite between meetings. But has become a popular Weho neighborhood destination since it took over the former Boa Steakhouse location in the boutique Grafton Hotel. Both the hotel and the restaurant got a much-needed facelift and are now amongst the Strip's new dining destinations.

Greg Morris, the restaurateur of a few other Weho eateries, The Spanish Kitchen and Oakfire Pizza, opened the restaurant right after the economy tanked. He promised to offer casual fine-dining at reasonable prices and 10 months after opening, he has kept his promise.

Recently, he expanded further into the hotel and opened The Cutting Room, a late night rock-n-roll themed bar where after dinner guests may want to continue the party.

Since the Olive is in a hotel, it opens in the early hours for breakfast and serves food and drink continuously until midnight.

A friend and I stopped by on a recent cold rainy afternoon and I was happy to see the menu filled with so many comfort food items. The menu is billed as California-Italian cuisine, which uses fresh local ingredients.

The breakfast-lunch menu offers omelettes, pancakes and sandwich options. It also has salads, pizza and specialty items, such as chicken pot pie, pasta and steak frites.

We ordered some of the most popular dishes from the menu as suggested by our server, who was friendly, professional and enthusiastic. He was also knowledgeable about the menu, which is always refreshing to find in this town.

Olive's Panzanella Salad is tossed with an assortment of fresh greens, arugula, shaved onion and herbs of basil and mint. It is also prepared with grape tomatoes, olives and parmesan shavings and tossed in white balsamic vinaigrette.

I expect Panzanella to be made with chunks of day-old crusty Italian bread to absorb all of the wonderful juices and olive oil. Here, the chef uses butter-toasted brioche bread, which really made the delicious salad feel like it was simply garnished with very large croutons.

I suspect the kitchen has a wonderful wood-burning oven, because the Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza had the perfect crispy dough that I love in an Italian kitchen. The dough was covered with a light marinara sauce, slices of the ham, peppery arugula and mozzarella cheese.

We also ordered the Jerk Tacos, small soft tortillas stuffed with Jamaican-style steak. The tacos are topped with spicy Napa cabbage slaw that is balanced with shavings of a small sweet red pepper.

Since the weather was bleak, there was no debate that we should also order what sounded like the ultimate in comfort food: Lobster Macaroni and Cheese.

I was expecting a classic Mac n’ cheese casserole that was baked in the oven, but as a gourmet twist, there would be pieces of lobster hidden underneath. You know the kind of Mac n’ Cheese where the cheese forms a crispy golden crust and the macaroni on the edges are burnt and crispy? Here, it is actually boiled macaroni pasta tossed with crawfish in a melted cheesy creamy sauce.

For dessert, make sure to try a slice of the Layered Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake. It is just the way comfort should be—a wonderful gooey mess served with vanilla ice cream.  

The dinner menu has a few other main course options listed, such as roasted chicken, risotto and Miso salmon. And if you are with a larger party for dinner, make sure to order a few of the tempting side dishes, including roasted garlic mash, sautéed wild mushrooms and cheesy grits.

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Breakfast: Mon - Sun 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Lunch: Mon - Sun 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Dinner: Mon - Sun 4 p.m. - midnight
Bar is open until 2 a.m.
Room Service: Mon - Sun 7:30 a.m. - midnight

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