Oliveto is an old-favorite of mine. Opened in 1995, it was the second location owned by the restaurant group that started out with Olivo in 1990. In May 2007, they also added a fish restaurant Olivomare along with Olivino, a specialty shop selling wines and Sardinian specialties.
Each time I’m in London, I visit Oliveto for a simple lunch in the informal light-filled dining room. Modern interiors with wooden tables and a large stenciled blond wood wall make the place welcoming and bright. The menu is limited to a few salads/appetizers, pastas and pizzas. It’s a perfect “ladies lunch” spot and fine as well for taking the kids for a quick bite after some shopping.
We arrived before noon, before the restaurant opens, and took a short walk on Elizabeth street to have a look at the wonderful shops on this little strip in Belgravia. At noon on the dot, an hour earlier than our original booking at 1:00 p.m., we were seated in a table near the wide windows overlooking the collection of chic boutiques (milliner Philip Treacy
, accessories from Erickson Beamon
among others), food and wine shops (all sorts of chocolate from The Chocolate Society
, sourdough bread from Poilane
for fine wines and Baker and Spice
for fantastic baked goods) plus gastropub The Thomas Cubitt
We ordered quickly, pasta with homemade sausages in tomato sauce for me, the aubergine-filled raviolis for my husband and a pizza Margherita for our son. We also asked for the green salad with Pecorino cheese dressing to share. The place started to fill up right after we ordered and soon there were no more free tables available and a few diners had to be turned away for not having reserved.
Our food arrived soon enough – the salad was tossed lettuce hearts with slices of Pecorino and a creamy cheesy dressing, my pasta were tiny pasta shells tossed in a tangy tomato sauce with chunks of fennel-flavoured Italian sausages. A
‘s raviolis were filled with a creamy mixture of aubergine, walnuts and ricotta while J
‘s pizza was extra-thin and crispy and came smothered with sweet tomato sauce and fresh Mozzarella. We shared everything amongst us and each had a bit of pizza and pasta plus a few mouthfuls of salad. The portions are not large and are perfect for those who are not too hungry or want to have a light meal. If you’re very hungry, I would suggest to order a starter and a main per person. We cleared our plates and decided to share two desserts – the classic Tiramisu
and a frozen strawberry yogurt with blueberries. A ristretto
(short espresso) ended our delicious lunch and with our energy regained, we headed off to Harvey Nichols and Harrods for some retail therapy.
49 Elizabeth Street (Belgravia)
London SW1W 9PP
Telephone: +44 20 7730 0074
Open daily for lunch and dinner
*** Food – Sardinian-influenced pastas and extra-thin crust pizzas for a simple meal
*** Atmosphere – Bright and modern but more casual cafe than a typical restaurant
*** Service – Friendly but a bit slow at times and they could smile more