We all got introduced to Olivo as a cosy Italian pizza place with a boozy side when it first opened in Zamalek a few years back. Soon enough, two more branches popped up; one in Katameya Heights and another in Arkan Mall. There’s no doubt that the Zamalek branch is the original Olivo with its unique allure; nevertheless, we decided to see how the Sheikh Zayed branch is fairing.
The Arkan Mall branch is much more spacious than the one in Zamalek for sure, with a rustic outdoor area decorated with trees and greenery. The indoor space is also quite roomy; a few high tables, some dining tables and a bar area – all of which overlooking the eye-catching wooden pizza oven. The faint lighting and the background music really give the place a comfy vibe; it’s safe to say that this branch has its own charm as well.
We took our seats at a regular dining table and began with the drinks; Olivo is well-known for its sangrias, so we went for one. We got one Pink Sangria (110LE) and one White Sangria (110LE) – both of which are made with Omar Al-Khayyam wine. Sangria is usually pre-made, with spices and fruits that are drenched and soaked for hours, even a whole day before serving. This, however, was not the case; the fruit was freshly cut, and both were similar in the two glasses. What was served to us was more or less, wine with a pinch of juice, extra alcohol, and fresh fruit. Cointreau; the famed orange liqueur, was advertised in one of those glasses, yet its taste was nonexistent.
To accompany those beverages, we decided to order one Caprese Salad (125LE) – tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and pesto sauce. It was a great salad because the quality of the cheese itself was excellent – which is the pillar of the dish. After a while, we wanted to try one of the new pizzas on the menu – Pizza Alo Bottarga (230LE); tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, bottarga chunks, grated bottarga, truffle oil, and lemon zest. We are not trying to be picky honestly, but when we saw the gluten-free dough option – we wanted to try it out.
Being familiar with this dough, it was interesting to see how it would turn out. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite the hit; not only was the dough extremely tough, the tomato sauce was also scarce. Also, the flavours of the truffle and the bottarga didn’t really cater to our liking.
Next, we went for the cocktails; we first ordered one Snap and one Moscow Mule – the yuzu (Japanese fruit liqueur) and the ginger beer were both unavailable – they were the key ingredients in the cocktails. So, we opted for one Russian Roulette (130LE) – vodka, grapefruit juice, rosemary syrup, fresh lemon juice and cucumber. Unfortunately, the drink came without grapefruit juice and so was lacking the bitterness we were expecting. We also ordered one Kill Bill (130LE) – tequila, lemon juice, fresh orange juice, and bell pepper syrup. It seems like there was something off about the drinks; we couldn’t taste the orange juice at all, just the bell peppers and tequila – making both cocktails unmemorable. We ended our meal with one Loaded Cheese Fries (160LE) – melted cheddar cheese, black truffle aioli, crispy fried onion strings, beef bacon and chives. It was a good bite for sure; the aioli really elevated the taste.
We cannot say we were extremely pleased with our visit; the pizza could have been much better – or maybe we should have opted for the regular dough, and the cocktails and sangria need more attention to detail. Other than that, the atmosphere was great, and prices were reasonable – perfect for mid-week drinks for sure.