Olivia Torget - new Italian restaurant with great views
Olivia Torget is a part of a restaurant chain that has restaurants in Bergen, Trondheim and Oslo – and in May 2018 it was time for Stavanger to get a branch. I have never been to one of their restaurants before, but I know many that have tried them, and it seems like it is a safe bet if you want a good meal. Olivia was able to get a prime location in Stavanger and they are located right on the city square! Olivia seems to focus on Italian inspired food and before I proceed I have to warn you that I have a weak spot for Italy (see e.g the trip reports from Rome, Bologna and Florence) so this review might me influenced by that.
We went there on a Wednesday in May and I tried to book a table online in advance, but I was informed that there were no tables available. We went there anyway and was delighted to hear that they did have a table for us – in fact, they had lots of available tables. The place is brand new, but I was surprised how cozy the place is. This branch has been decorated with inspiration from Portofino apparently and the interior includes big posters with scenes from Italy, fire places, olive trees etc. The place is quite big and there are tables on two floors and many of the tables do have a great view of the harbor of Stavanger.
We were greeted with a smile and got a window table. The menu is in Italian, Norwegian and English and included starters, pizza, pasta and a lot of primi piatti (a lighter meal I guess you can call it). The wine selection is not bad, and they have focused on wines that are easy to like – both for the pallet and the wallet. As they were out of buffalo mozzarella we took it up a notch and ordered burrata (a very soft buffalo mozzarella cheese from Puglia) and polenta chips. As main dishes we chose risotto and a pizza. Our waiter took our orders with a smile and it didn’t take long before we got the polenta chips. We were hungry, but I think they would have taste delicious even if that was not the case. They were served warm and fresh and with a good aioli. We didn’t get the burrata but eventually the waitress came to check if we had gotten both starters. I guess the kitchen made a mistake, but the waitress fixed this and we soon got this (with apologies from the waitress). The burrata is always a treat – it can be eaten just with a light sprinkle of salt, pepper and olive oil. It also came with some bread, a salad that was a but uninspired but with good cherry tomatoes.
The main meals were served shortly thereafter. The pizza was a burrata pizza modified with some spicy Italian sausage. The pizza was great, and it was lovely with the combination of the mild burrata and the spicy sausage. The crust and pizza base were also to my liking. I love my risotto and I had to try to when they had a combination of lemon and asparagus. I’m not a big fan of asparagus but in this dish, it worked together with the lemon. If I was to be picky I can say that I would have wanted it to be a bit more creamy and rich, but it was a tasty risotto indeed. We got the check and it was about 600 kroner - about 63 € (without drinks).
Conclusion: it is hard not to like Olivia. The place has a great location, the menu includes stuff that people know and love (pizza, pasta, lasagna etc). The people working in the restaurant was very polite and had a great service attitude – I would probably say that this is due to good management in the restaurant so well done! I’m not sure that the food is made with the same craftsmanship, love, good ingredients as e.g. Casa Gio but I’m sure that Olivia will be a very popular restaurant in Stavanger in the years to come. We will certainly be back to try out more of their menu.