Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Olivella's: A Taste of Napoli in Dallas

Tucked on a little side street across from SMU is a lovely little pizzeria named Olivella's. The first time Robert and I attempted to dine here was on a Saturday night shortly after the college students had returned from Christmas break and the place was packed with a line of people waiting out the door for a table. That night we decided to eat elsewhere, but the quant little spot remained on my mind.

This week I had the privilege of participating in campus interviews at SMU for my employer, Sendero Business Services. During one of our lunch breaks between interviews my coworkers, Susanne and Trey, and I decided to try Olivella's. We were pleased to find the restaurant was quiet and the decor quite lovely for the tiny space.

I decided to try their Ham & Cheese sandwich served with a small side salad and a balsamic pesto dipping sauce on the side. The sandwich was more like a panini with bread that was light and fluffy like pizza crust and filled with prosciutto, tomatoes, and house made mozzarella. It was delicious and flavorful and the dipping sauce was divine. I never would have thought to add balsamic vinegar to pesto, but I'm now convinced it's a great idea. I may even try making my own here pretty soon.

Trey ordered their Mezzaluna, a pizza that's half calzone and half margherita pizza. It looked delicious, and perfectly browned on the calzone side. Susanne ordered their pear and gorgonzola salad with walnuts and she too was pleased with her choice. We all agreed that Olivella's was a place worth remembering for future outings.
When I got home and told Robert of our lunch, he was ready to try their menu himself. Needing some distance between meals, I was able to hold him off until tonight when we ordered a Caesar salad and their Pulcino e Porco (aka The Dream) pizza for take out. The dressing on the salad left much to be desired as it was overly thick and tasted like anchovy spiked mayonnaise. Fortunately we ordered the dressing on the side and I was able to taste it before pouring it on our salads. I replaced it with a simple balsamic vinaigrette for a quick save.

Finally, there was the pizza. Oh my goodness. I dare say this was the best pizza I have tasted in quite some time. The pizza includes chicken, thinly shaved pancetta, house made mozzarella, gorgonzola, and sliced jalapenos with tomato sauce. The peppers were just spicy enough to enhance the flavor and not so spicy as to overwhelm the palate. The balance of flavors between the bacon, cheeses and peppers was delightful, so much so that Robert and I each ate our full half which is considerably more than we normally would have eaten.

One last comment, Olivella's claims to be a Napolitana style pizzeria and they remain true to their name. When I studied abroad in Italy, I spent a day in Naples and had pizza while there. The thing that makes Napolitana pizza distinct from other Italian regions is it's thin crust and drizzle of olive oil on top. The pizzas I had in Naples were a little too heavy handed on the oil for my taste, but Olivella's is able to utilize the concept without drowning the pizza in oil. The finished product is delicious and unlike any other pizza offered in Dallas. Next time you're craving authentic Italian pizza, give this spot a try but you might want to avoid weekend nights as it's small dining room can fill up fast.

No comments:

Post a Comment