It was my birthday; excuse me for not saying how old I am. My cake said I was twenty two and who am I to argue with something as truthful as a cream filled dessert??
A group of my best friends were all gathered and waiting for me to celebrate that glorious day. One of them was supposedly out of town and surprised us all (I’m looking at my gym and clubbing buddy :)).
After a short stroll in Gemmayze, we ended up walking in into Olio. Funny enough, we all secretly felt like Italian all along and were too polite to say anything about it.
A pizza is a pizza. Well, we aren’t kids anymore — and we definitely are not in college anymore. We all remember those days, getting the cheapest and biggest pizza possible. As a kid, I always thought, the more toppings a pizza had, the better it was — all the meats, all the veggies. Don’t even get me started on the crust — I didn’t believe in it and I didn’t eat it. Now that I am older and wiser, my take on pizza is a little different. I am all about fine ingredients, and the crust is the main event. Yes, I am talking about Neapolitan pizza, the real stuff.
Neapolitan pizzas are made very simply. The crust is thin, yet tender, as the dough is very fragrant of yeast. Toppings include only the simple ones: garlic, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and olive oil. You will rarely find a Neapolitan pizza with the works. Traditionally, Neapolitan pizzas are eaten with a knife and fork, hence, they are not sliced into slices. Walking to Olio, Gemmayze, Neapolitan style pizza is what I came for, and that is what I got.
Olio has a very urban Italian feel to it. Which made it’s intrior stand out compared to the other restaurants which always seem to aim for a rustic rural traditional feel. I understand the nostalgic notion behind that, yet Olio’s interior was a bit of a fresh breeze of air and a nice change. I loved the fact that I can see the chief working and preparing our pizzas (9/10 for the interior)
It was late at night and almost 2 hours into closing time. Yet, the staff at Olio made us feel very much welcomed. They were energetic and very attentive to our needs and the whole “we are celebrating a birthday” chaos. Our waiter was super patient and very friendly. The service was simply flawless. (10/10 for the service)
As I have already mentioned, pizza was the main attraction. Although Olio serves a lot of pasta and risotto dishes, we were on a mission.. Mission Neopolitan. Those were a couple of our choices for the night:
The pizza “Salmone” had Smoked Salmon, Mozzarella, Ricotta Cream, Dill, and Capers. My ultimate favorite pizza. Very rich and subtle flavors, everything was well balanced to perfectly compliment the flavor of the salmon.
The pizza “Genovese” for my vegetarian friend. It had Pesto Sauce, Eggplant, Mozzarella Gorgonzola, Parmigiano Cheese, and Cherry Tomato. Pesto with anything is heaven, the mixes of cheeses and the pesto just made a match in heaven.
Pizza “Margherita”. It had mozzarella, basil, extra virgin olive oil. At first look, it seems very simple, but this is where the pizza shines. The flavors are perfect and fresh on its own, but together, they make a perfectly flavored pizza. I made sure to have some basil with every bite — the floral essence gave the pizza a nice rounded out flavor and finished it off nicely.
In all our pizza choices the crust was crispy, yet tender with a nice chew. The mozzarella is actual mozzarella, not the fake partial skim milk you find on all other pizzas.
Olio makes amazing pizza. Their ingredients are fresh and authentic. Nothing is left for second best. Every pizza is made with care and the taste shows. They really managed to impress me, with moderately priced wine and beers available, it was an affordable dinner. The pizza was definitely the star — you can come here and not have a pizza. Along with some of the best and authentic Napoletana style pizzas around, you are eating something worth eating.
I didn’t mind the food stealing the attention that night. It was well worth it.
Thank you my friends and Olio for giving me a nice dining experience on my Birthday! (9/10 for the entire dining experience)