Photos By Adriana Grant
This intimate little spot in the gorgeously historic 1930's Loveless Building has housed many restaurants over the years, from the original Russian Samovar, to the most recent, Coco La Ti Da.
The new Spanish-inspired restaurant Olivar (which translates from the Spanish as olive grove,) opened this past Tuesday, with a menu focused on small plates.
The murals, which date to the early 1930's are shown off to great effect in this newly open, sunlit space. Olivar possess a small dining room (and a small kitchen) but with the chef's resume, we can expect tasty things to emerge.
Born and raised in France, and classically trained there, chef Philippe Thomelin grew up with a Catalan grandmother, spent many years in Spain, and possesses a love of Italian food as well. He's worked his way around some of the most respected restaurants in town, including Il Terrazzo Carmine, Cascadia, Rover's, and The Harvest Vine; Thomelin ran a tapas bar in Spain, and this restaurant evolved out of his company, Olive Tree Catering. The menu at Olivar is slanted Spanish, with a clear French influence, and touches of Italy as well.
I stopped by yesterday afternoon for a preview, and tasted succulent lamb meatballs, a richly layered potato omelet topped with caramelized onion (as promised here), and a warm, custardy cherry clafouti. The menu will focus on locally-sourced, organic, seasonal foods, including chorizo with white beans, rabbit with garlicky pasta, and salmon dressed in Bernaise sauce.
At some point, Olivar hopes to offer outdoor seating, but that may be something to look forward to next summer.
Olivar, 806 E. Roy St., Capitol Hill
Open for dinner, Tuesday-Sunday