I love a great deal, especially when it involves delicious food. This is why I’ve been an avid supporter of Olivea’s Pasta Sundays for a few years now. The concept is brilliant: on a slow night for most restaurants and during the slow season (winter for the downtown restaurant core), why not entice customers both new and recurrent by offering a special? Plus, isn’t it the rule that you aren’t supposed to work on Sunday? I do believe that should extend to cooking!
Olivea is one of my favourite restaurants in downtown Kingston. Their homemade pastas and sauces are to die for and the ambiance is second to none. The view of Market Square is stunning, particularly in the winter, when the view of people skating is picturesque and romantic.
For the last few years during the fall and winter seasons, Olivea has been offering Pasta Sundays (starting at 1:00). The deal includes choice of a section of appetizers, including their delicious tomato and bread soup, salad, or a meat and cheese plate, ANY pasta or risotto, and a dessert choice (one of four) for $22.99. The deal is pretty spectacular considering that the regular price of their pastas range from $16-22!
For a belated Valentine’s Day meal, we decided to head to Olivea. We both decided to do the Pasta Sunday special (the regular menu was still available) because we were fairly hungry. We ordered and within a few minutes our appetizers were ready. I tried the arancini — risotto balls stuffed with mushrooms, fontina and then covered with breadcrumbs and fried. These little pieces of heaven just melt in your mouth and were served with a delicious marinara sauce that was a tad too cold for my liking. Curtis tried the meat and cheese plate and it was a wonderful way to start an Italian meal. Although Olivea’s soup is tasty, it’s hard to beat the great range and balance of salty and savory flavours of an antipasto plate to stimulate your appetite.
Moving on to the pastas, I went with my usual – the gnocchi with beef cheek ragu. Olivea’s gnocchi is my absolute favourite and has set the bar high for any other place I order it (I have yet to find a gnocchi as good). These delicate potato pillows are immersed in a rich gravy-like sauce that contains the tenderest beef imaginable. Top it off with some fresh grated parmesan and you have perfection!
In a seafood linguine, a patron hopes for plenty of seafood and in our experience, we are often disappointed. At Olivea, however, this was not the case. A ring around the dish of mussels joined clams, scallops and two oxymoronically-large shrimp along with olives and capers. The fresh-made linguine has those ridges that help to hold the perfectly-spiced tomato sauce. While the whole menu looked appetizing, it’ll be difficult for Curtis not to get this dish again next time.
We barley had room for dessert, but somehow we managed. Curtis had the vanilla bean crème brulee and while it was good, it was your average brulee. I finished off with the tiramisu, which had just the perfect amount of sweetness.
Will definitely be back soon and may actually try a new dish. The pastabilities are endless with the amount of choice you have! I encourage you to try Pasta Sunday, as it is a great introduction to the restaurant at a fraction of the regular prices. Or why not try one of the other special events Olivea hosts: Jazz Tuesdays or join them when they partner with the Screening room for dinner and a movie!