olives in Calgary opened up in the arriVa Tower on Olympic Way SE almost kitty corner to the new Cowboys (nee Desperados Steakhouse then rechristened Coyotes) on Friday, July 4th. We got to check them out on day 6 and were duly impressed.
When I queried my friend, Kyle Hoeght of Opus on 8th fame, someone who knows my tastes through various foodie adventures, he put me on to his friend and colleague, Jenna Kopperson who currently works as the assistant manager at olives. I jokingly said, not the Olive garden, right?
Definitely not – olives is about Innovative Italian food and they execute very well.
In discussions with the staff, whether it was John the young and enthusiastic waiter who greeted us with fresh-baked pancetta bread, or Ryan the well versed assistant manager who masterfully orchestrated wine pairings for our food on the spot, you could only deduce that they’re not only friendly but that they’re also extremely passionate about great wine and great food – truly refreshing for Calgary which has seen a turbulent decline in the care and attention put into the service industry as a result of the influx of capital from the oil boom.
At the same time, it’s good to see that John Torode’s group, the company which brought Hotel Arts (Raw Bar and Saint Germain in tow), is continuing their tradition of excellence with the opening of Olives.
1129 Olympic Way SE (MAP)
Calgary, AB T2G 0E6
Hours: Friday and Saturday, open until Midnight. Open until 11pm every other night of the week.
The restaurant itself is simple. Three open concept rooms with little more than a shimmer screen marking their separation – a deli area for the afternoon, the main dining room and a lounge for everything thereafter. High ceilings and a very contemporary feel. The best part of the main dining room is that it features an open kitchen and hightop service right at it’s edge where you can choose to ante up and watch rockstar chef Jonathan Canning create his masterpieces.
Click on any of the above thumbnails to view the images full size. More about the food, after the jump.