Olivia: The Must Try Brunch in Penn Quarter

Located on 800 F St NW, Olivia is one of my new favorite places to go in the Penn Quarter/Chinatown area.  Chef Matt Kuhn offers rustic Mediterranean cuisine inspired by countries like Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, Italy and more.  Expect high-quality dishes with locally-sourced ingredients that will undoubtedly impress.

olivia dc

The restaurant itself is absolutely gorgeous.  I like the lounge/bar area the best, but their dining room’s stunning as well, and it seats up to 160 people.  Whether it’s a casual night with friends or date night, Olivia’s got you covered for any and every occasion.

olivia washington dc

Brunch is offered every Sunday from 11-3PM, and they have a slew of specials available on top of their regular lunch menu.  I started my meal off with coffee and a basket of their complimentary muffins.  They were made in house by their fabulous pastry chef, and they were honestly some of the best muffins I’ve ever had.  I’m not sure if they have the same flavor each week, but one thing’s for sure, look forward to indulging when you go.

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muffins olivia

To start, I got two appetizers:  their charred romanesco cauliflower ($10) and their tasting of Mediterranean spreads ($14).  The former came with squash hummus, pickled carrots, pomegranate and harissa aioli, while the latter came with tzatziki labne, eggplant matbucha, kaboucha squash hummus and lavash.

tasting spreads olivia

Although the cauliflower was tasty, the dip trio was the highlight for me.  Each spread was spectacular in its own right, and I couldn’t stop munching on the lavash.  It’s the thin and crispy flatbread pictured below.  I believe they flavored theirs with za’atar, but I’m not 100% sure.  All I know is that it was delicious, and I’d absolutely get it again.  In fact, I’m craving it right now.  The eggplant had this great kick to it that I couldn’t get enough of.  Get it and let me know what your favorite is.

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mediterranean spreads

For my entree, I got their roasted spaghetti squash ($18) along with a pecan sticky bun ($6) and a side of their maakounda batata ($6).  The “noodz” were tossed in a fall vegetable ragu, and they were topped with honey crisp apple and manchego.  I enjoyed this dish, but the side dishes stood out more.

spaghetti squash olivia

The maakounda batata was exquisite.  It’s a Moroccan potato cake that’s topped with a sunny quail egg and raz el hanout (a spice blend that’s typically used in North African cuisine), and it’s served with greek yogurt.  If you go with a group, get a few for the table!

moroccan potato cake

Now onto my favorite part of the meal.  I liked brunch from beginning to end, but this pecan sticky roll was unreal, like it could probably stop wars.  I still find myself dreaming about it from time to time, and I’d happily go back for this alone.  Each bite melts in your mouth, and I’m convinced angels whipped this up before dropping it off at Olivia.  Don’t believe me?  Go and get some.  I guarantee you’ll let out a “MMMmmmMMMm” when you try it.  You’re welcome in advance.

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olivia pecan sticky bun

Alright Nomsters, I hope you all liked reading about my latest nom experience at Olivia.  I really enjoyed eating there so I was surprised that it wasn’t busier.  If you’re looking to try a new brunch spot in the Capitol, definitely make sure to stop by.  There’s a lot to choose from, service is impeccable, and the ambiance is second to none.  Let me know what you think of the food after you go!  And don’t forget to check back soon for more foodporn that will feed your feed, and in the meantime, check out our DC tab to see more from the district.  Happy eating, friends!

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