9010 Melrose Ave.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Walking into Olivetta, it feels familiar but also very, very different.
The West Hollywood hotspot is the latest venture crafted by Matt and Marissa Hermer, who have owned and operated The Draycott since it opened in September 2018 as the flagship restaurant at Caruso’s Palisades Village.
“When we moved to Los Angeles three years ago, we missed our favorite London haunts where there was a heartbeat to the room, with luxurious interiors, excellent service, incredible food and cocktails—where we would bump into friends and meet new ones,” Marissa explained of Olivetta. “We wanted to create a glamorous, comfortable home for us and our friends to meet for early evening cocktails, dinners, late night secrets and shenanigans.”
The Palisadian couple steered in a different direction than the British fare offered at The Draycott: Olivetta’s menu features coastal European dishes, fine dining and late-night cocktails every day of the week.
Olivetta, which opened in January in the space formerly occupied by Au Fudge, features dishes by Chef Michael Fiorelli, whose recent experience includes Manhattan Beach’s Love & Salt.
One of the noteworthy aspects of the restaurant is how different each of the rooms feel, with separate areas designed as a sun room, bar room and dining room.
“Whenever we create a restaurant, we think of it as a home—and Olivetta is our little Mediterranean bungalow on Melrose Avenue,” Marissa shared of the space. “We invite our guests into our living room, which is the drinks room at the entrance, or our terrace, which is the Sun Room, or to our Bar Room, flanked by a bar and the DJ booth, or our dining room.
“When we feel at home in our restaurant spaces, our guests do too—and many of our guests use Olivetta as an extension of their dining room, which we love.”
Our visit started in the dining room, which features plush seating, funky lamps and countless plants, creating an atmosphere that is somehow both sophisticated and cozy, but not at all pretentious.
The first dish up came from the Raw/Chilled section: Yellowtail Tartare, served with whipped avocado and sweet potato chips. A decadent, light mixture of flavors and textures, the tartare made for a fresh start.
Parmesan & Olives, featuring 24-month aged Cravero reggiano, was described by our waitress as the best cheese she ever tasted—and it lived up to expectations.
From the Vegetable menu, Simply Shaved Fennel served as a palette cleanser between courses, with lemon, parmesan, black pepper and olive oil. Not usually a fan of fennel, this well-dressed but light dish worked.
For the main course, we opted for Grilled Branzino, served with fresh herbs and lemon conserva. Fans of The Draycott may see the similarity between this dish and crowd favorite Pan-Roasted Trout. At Olivetta, the fish dish offers a kick of flavor, while the meat is both super crisp along the top and soft on the inside.
But now, the dish that alone demands a return trip to the restaurant: Bucatini, a house made pasta served with arugula-cashew pesto. The difference between pastas that are freshly made and pastas that are not is night and day—this dish completely nails it. Everything about it tasted fresh, indulgent and delicious.
The bar program, curated by mixologist Melina Meza, is not to be missed. Meza designed the menu to pair familiar favorites with unique ingredients, which results in cocktails like the Dirty Martini, made with bleu cheese-infused dry vermouth, Kalamata olive brine and a garnish of gorgonzola-stuffed Castelvetrano olives.
We opted for the Tequila—Casamigos tequila, elderflower, rainbow carrot, jasmine honey, Italian amaro and lime—which came out Instagram ready, as well as light and refreshing. Next up was the Vodka, with Absolut Elyx, strawberry brandy, prickly pear, Byrrh, Sicilian lemon and bergamot bitters.
We also sipped Reposado, with Cazadores reposado tequila, Cassis, balsamic, salted plum, pineapple, lemon and egg white, and an Espresso Martini, Belvedere vodka, cacao, espresso, Licor 43 and coconut cream.
Each drink was distinctly different, with delicate flavors balanced together well.
We finished our evening with dessert in the drinks room, which, located near the entrance, boasted a lively atmosphere.
Out of five items available, we tried two: Berry Upside-Down Cake, freshly milled almond and hazelnut flour, lightly sweetened whipped cream, and Brown Sugar Budino, crème fraiche, sea salt, cocoa nibs and toasted almond-anise cookies. Both selections were a perfect cap to a memorable meal.
The Hermers exceeded expectations at Olivetta—a feeling that was amplified by a diverse crowd on the Thursday night we stopped in. Guests ranged in age from the young to the young at heart, some coming in for a fine dining experience and others stopping by for an after-work libation.
It is worth the trip to West Hollywood to see and taste the difference between The Draycott and Olivetta, just be sure to book a table in advance on Resy, as many weekend nights are all booked.
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