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Lucca: Ristorante All’Olivo

Piazza S. Quirico 1 , Phone: 583.49.62.64
Closing day: Wednesday (in winter only)

Reviewed by: JDeQ from Canada, review #2964

When: 2008

A very good restaurant, located on Piazza San Quirico, which has been serving happy Lucchese since 1944.

Ristorante All'Olivio, photo by J DeQuetteville

We went to All’Olivo at the recommendation of the B & B owner. He warned us that it wouldn’t be an inexpensive meal but that it would be a good one. Apparently this is supposed to be one of the best restaurants in Lucca in which to order fish – while we weren’t in the mood for fish we decided to give it a shot anyway.

We were early for dinner when we arrived. We were asked if we wanted to sit outside under the beautiful covered loggia surrounded by a boxwood hedge or inside. Guess what we selected? This was the most well decorated ‘patio’ we have ever eaten on! The tables were beautifully set, the service attentive but not rushed. Both of us felt a bit underdressed but we soon got over ourselves and focused on the dining experience.

The wine list was huge – a binder, in fact. We decided upon a full-bodied red wine from the area located to the north of Lucca. The wine service was excellent – something we haven’t often seen in Italian restaurants.

After we had ordered our meals a server brought us each a single zucchini flower that had been stuffed with fresh ricotta. After just one bite of this delicate treat I knew that we were in for a fine food experience.

We decided to split a primi – and ordered Ravioli “Olivo” style. I appreciated that the kitchen split this for us rather than serving it on one plate with an empty plate and leaving it for us to divvy it up. The ricotta stuffed ravioli was freshly made and perfectly cooked. It was served with two sauces – a brown butter sauce and what tasted like a veal reduction – both were swirled on the plate with dramatic effect.

I ordered veal for my main course and received a huge veal chop on the bone that was perfectly cooked. The sauce was studded with juniper berries their flavour offset with pieces of fresh sage; it was served with roasted potatoes and cipolline onions. Paul had ordered the lamb and received a rack contain six medium rare chops. It was served with a red wine reduction that was perfectly flavoured – on the side were sautéed greens and roasted potatoes. With our main course we split a crisp mixed salad.

Because everything had been so delicious to this point we threw caution to the wind and ordered dessert. Paul’s panna cotta was one of the best he had had so far on the trip and my semi-freddo with almond caramel crunch was incredible. I also ordered an espresso which was served with a plate of 9 cookies and candies. Paul enjoyed those!

All in all this was an excellent meal – one of the best that we have had in Italy. It wasn’t inexpensive – 100 euro for the food and wine – but the food was excellent, the service efficient and attentive, and the atmosphere beautiful. It was the perfect spot for our last dinner in Lucca.

Note – when I received the bill there was a 10 euro charge (10 %) for the service (servizio). Luckily I noticed this prior to leaving a tip.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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