Olivia's: Paradise By the Sea


One thing you cannot help noticing when living on the Coast - or even merely holidaying - is that there are some venues that just have to be visited during the summer months. Olivia's is one such place that is excellent all year round but really comes into its own at this time of year.

During one particularly warm day recently we considered all our favourite places to visit on such a beautifully sunny day and thoughts of Olivia's terrace sprang to mind. So off we went to La Cala to experience one of the finest examples of beach dining on the Costa del Sol.

Famously the brain child of TOWIE star Elliott Wright and named after his daughter, this seaside venue could quite easily have opened its doors and waited for fans of the reality show to arrive but, since its 2015 launch, Elliott has shown that he is very serious about running an establishment that is as famous for its food and service as it is for its proprietor.

On the day that we visited the place was already buzzing by the time we arrived at two o'clock, but we managed to find a table on the terrace with a fantastic view of the Mediterranean. We agreed that, living on the Coast, we don't spend enough time enjoying all of its benefits and this is a great excuse to kick back and enjoy the sun and sea breeze.

Olivia's prides itself on its superior customer service and this was evident from the moment we arrived. Staff members have perfected the art of being attentive without overwhelming you with unwanted attention and are very patient – as they need to be when waiting for customers to choose from such an extensive menu. Elliott and his kitchen team have cleverly succeeded in assembling a tempting array of dishes that represent the best of Spanish cuisine (we were very tempted by the Conejo en Salsa de Tomate con Ajo in the Flavour of Málaga section) along with some favourites from around the world, from Italy's Pappardelle Bolognese to Australian Kingfish Carpaccio. We have some excellent restaurants on this Coast, but you would be hard pressed to find one with a more proudly international menu.

Not wanting to ruin our appetite for our main courses we ordered some starters to share: the Smokey Baba Ghanoush with Za'tar Flatbread was delicious, as were the Spicy Endame Beans. We also decided to add a local touch with the Boquerones en Vinagre, a true taste of summer.

Elliott has helpfully indicated his favourite dishes on the menu, so we decided to try the Crispy Thai Beef Salad with Wild Mesclun Leaves, Soya Beans, Coriander and Fried Vermicelli and had to agree. Authentic flavours coupled with the finest beef made this a salad worth remembering. The other members of the party decided to stay in the Far East and opted for a Mixed Sushi Platter For Three, which we were all delighted to 'help' her eat. As expected, the fish was fresh and all of the components were absolutely delicious. If you're a keen carnivore then you must sample the Wagyu Mini Burgers: served with melted Cheddar Cheese, Pickled Gherkin, Tomato, Lettuce, Tamarind Relish, Homemade Chips and Onion Rings, this was the tastiest burger we have ever been served. Although purists might think it sacrilegious to mince Wagyu beef, we are so pleased that the Olivia's team did!

Asked whether we wanted to see the dessert menu we only intended to look, but in the end were tempted by what was on offer and ordered a Mon Chèri, which was described as White Chocolate Mousse, Cherry Gelee, Coconut Dacqouise with Maraschino and Chilli Sorbet and was one of the most striking desserts we have ever encountered. We also ordered a Belle Hélène, a French classic that consisted of Pâte à Choux, Pear and Marzipan Mousse, Rum Infused Pear and Dark Chocolate Ice Cream and also couldn't resist trying the Banoffee Delight, a combination of Peanut-Feuilletine, Flamed Banana Cream, Salty Caramel-Coated Peanuts and Butterscotch Sauce. We were especially impressed by the care and attention paid to producing a range of desserts that really are something out of the ordinary; even the Pear Belle Hélène, which is a famously old school dish, had been given a contemporary twist.

All in all it's not difficult to define Oiivia's appeal. It's reasonable to assume that some punters will be lured in by the possibility of catching a glimpse of Elliott Wright but, once there, will find plenty to enjoy with a fabulous location and the attention of a team that places customer service at the top of its agenda. Most importantly, the sheer range of the menu and the excellence of the food will ensure that most visitors to Olivia's become repeat customers.  

This is one experience that you must do your best to enjoy this summer.

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