Pizzería Olivia in Envigado, unlike the previous Evigado pizzería I sampled, offers a rather upscale dining experience.
The ambiance is nicely tailored to suit the tastes of upper-class Paisas; the bamboo-lined ceiling and modern string lighting lend it a luxurious feel, and the prices certainly match.
I came to Pizzería Olivia, located on Calle 30 Sur, a few short blocks from Casa Museo Otraparte, for lunch one afternoon to see how it stacked up against the other pizzerías I’d tried thus far—namely Café Zorba in El Poblado and Pizzería Antica Italia in Envigado.
While I was immediately impressed with the restaurant itself, the wait staff seemed confused more often than not.
I arrived and stated I was waiting for another friend, yet they insisted on trying to seat me immediately even when I politely explained I would prefer to wait on the bench outside.
Eventually, to avoid further confusion, I took a seat at one of their two curbside tables to wait.
In the fifteen minutes or so I awaited my friend’s arrival, I was not offered a menu or even a glass of water. Slightly miffed, I eventually waved someone down and asked for both.
Once my friend had arrived and we decided on what to order, things seemed to go more smoothly.
Pizzería Olivia offers an extensive selection of appetizers, salads, pizzas, desserts, and drinks—we wanted to try as much as possible, though the prices proved to be somewhat limiting.
The appetizers ranged in price from 5,000 pesos ($2.50) to 29,000 pesos ($14.50). We settled on one that was somewhere in the middle of that price range, a dip of spinach, ricotta, mozzarella and pesto accompanied by bread for 12,500 pesos ($6.25).
We also couldn’t say no to sangría; being a rather hot afternoon, we chose the jar of white wine sangría for 48,000 pesos ($24), admittedly the most I’ve ever paid for sangría in Medellin.
With a wide variety of pizzas to choose from, settling on just one wasn’t easy; after a bit of sangría, we eventually chose the Greek pizza topped with mozzarella, feta, pesto, artichoke hearts and black olives.
The food itself did not disappoint. The spinach dip appetizer was delicious and just the right amount of food; the sangría was light and refreshing and loaded with strawberries, apple, watermelon and grapes; the pizza had a thin crust and wasn’t overloaded with toppings.
Having ordered an appetizer and then sharing a pizza, we couldn’t quite finish our meal (though I can’t say the same would be true for two men). You might think that fact alone would have stopped us from ordering dessert, but as I said, we wanted to try it all.
With just five dessert items to choose from, our final decision was less difficult. We ordered “Chocolate,” the first item on the list, which was actually a sweet calzone filled with chocolate and pecans and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
If we thought we didn’t have room for dessert, we certainly made room for it when our chocolate calzone arrived still warm and sliced perfectly in half for us to share.
Even though the service at Pizzería Olivia was below average, the quality of the food more than made up for it.
The prices are high compared to other pizza places—around 18,000 to 30,000 pesos ($9 to $15) for a pizza—but could be worthwhile for a one-off splurge.
Salads are quite expensive as well; the cheapest one will cost you 19,000 pesos ($9.50), but I assume the salads are meant to be a meal in themselves and not an appetizer to be shared.
In addition to pizzas and salads, Pizzería Olivia offers a small selection of seafood dishes and lasagnas.
As for beverages, in addition to their white, red, rosé and green sangría options (am I the only one who’s never heard of green sangría?) they have an extensive selection of bottled wines and champagne, a signature Gin and Tonic, and shots or bottles of a handful of local and imported liquors.
My only complaint about the Envigado location (the slow service has since been forgiven) is that, when seated on the sidewalk, street vendors wander by, constantly bothering you to buy their goods.
I was approached more often when seated alone waiting for my friend, but even after her arrival, the offers didn’t stop.
Strawberries, DVDs, cookies, and other goods were all peddled throughout our meal—and though a security guard was patrolling the block the whole time, his presence didn’t seem to do much to keep the obnoxious offers at bay.
For a more relaxed dining experience, I might suggest taking a table inside the restaurant instead of along the sidewalk.
I visited the Pizzería Olivia located in Envigado, though they do have additional locations in Barrio Manila (Carrera 43EN #11A-31), Mall Comercial Zona 2 (Carrera 32 #2Sur-47), and Laureles (Circular 74B #39-46).
For an upscale pizzería experience, Pizzería Olivia is definitely worth a visit—don’t expect much in terms of service, but the food is excellent.
Envigado is a nice area with lots of shops and restaurants. I was not a big fan of the food there, it was just ok. Maybe that is why we have so much obesity here in the states; too much good tasting food : ). imho, Colombia continues to be an oppressive system of the few rich, using the many poor to make them even richer. Hopefully things will change for the better over time. Again, these are just my opinions.
When you say you weren’t a “big fan of the food there” are you referring to the food in Colombia as a whole, Envigado, or Olivia specifically?
You have to remember that Colombia, and the Medellín valley specifically, were closed off to foreign influences for decades (aside from Bogotá and Cartagena). Medellín’s restaurant scene has progressed greatly in the last five years since I’ve begun spending time here.
Good food was something I use to miss about the USA, but now I can’t even keep up with the number of restaurants that are opening and are being recommended to me. The more expats who settle here, the more we’ll see external influences reflected in the types of restaurants being opened.
In the last month or two alone, I know of an Indian-owned restaurant (Curry) that opened in Poblado, a Korean-owned restaurant (Korea House) in Laureles and most recently, a Vietnamese restaurant in Envigado.
I meant the Medellin area in general. There were a few places that I did like. And it isnt necessarily a bad thing that I dont find their food that tasty. Too many foods here in the US have too much sugar or fat.
I have eaten at the Envigado location three times and Manila once and the service was always fine so I think your experience was a bit of an anomaly. Their red and white sangrias, while expensive, are way above average and they do not skimp on the wine.
I’ve only eaten at Olivia once that I can recall, the Manila location, and I thought the service was fine (though to be fair, it was late afternoon and not that busy).
I had a similar experience with the waitstaff: not really bad, certainly friendly, but they did seem ever so slightly unorganized. As for the pizza, it was good enough if you happen to accept a cracker-style dough as legitimate—which I do not. But, I will also admit to being a pizza snob and a classicist when it comes to my favorite food! I liked the atmosphere, and sitting outside was beautiful.
Pizza follow-up: There IS a great pizza restaurant in Bogota on Calle 85. The name is Julia near Carrera 14 on the south side of the street. Highly recommended, it reminds me of Naples and the best pizza available in New York City.
Went there for lunch maybe 5 months ago and left before ordering. They didn’t have any local beers – only imports in bottles. With Apostol and 3 Cordilleras available in kegs to restaurants for the last couple of years, having draft beer with pizza is a necessity. We ended up at the Mexican places 2 doors down which indeed have draft beer. The service, food (and beer) were excellent there.