Food Review: L'Oliva

Words: Julia Head
Thursday 06 July 2023
reading time: min, words

It's beyond silly that it's taken us so long to return to L’Oliva - because this is easily one of Nottingham's best-kept secrets, and we are lucky to have it right here in Beeston...

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The trattoria (that’s an informal ristorante) is almost always fully booked-up (so not a secret to those who are in the know); the venue is intimate, with only a few tables inside, but that adds to its charm. The restaurant is warm and inviting and softly plays Pavarotti, with books and bottles of wine lining the shelves, old Italian newspaper stories on the ceiling, and candles on all the tables - very romantic!

The menu isn’t large, but it changes seasonally, and there is also a changing blackboard menu of specials too. We started with some bruschetta to share with rainbow plum tomatoes and a pistachio paste. For mains, we moved on to a fresh pumpkin gnocchi in a Roman oxtail ragu, and a dish of casarecce (short twisted pasta) with Tuscan sausage, nduja, and broccoli in a tomato and white wine sauce. The gnocchi is heaven in a bowl - it was so light and fluffy, and the sauce was rich and delectable. One of those dishes that you think about long after your visit. They also have tiramisu on the menu so, naturally, we had to end the evening with two of those. Chef’s kiss!

The bill came to £65 for one starter, two mains, two drinks, and two desserts - which we feel is value for money. Prices over the last few years at L'Oliva have generally stayed the same, which is unheard of, but I did notice that the portions were smaller than our last visit. I would have liked a bit more meat in the ragu underneath the gnocchi, if anything to satisfy my decision to eat vegan all day in order to enjoy a rare dish containing beef later that evening (the riveting life of a flexitarian!).

Make no mistake, though, I would return tomorrow and order the exact same thing again. L'Oliva is one of my favourite restaurants in Nottingham and that isn't about to change - in fact, it makes my top five places to get pasta in Notts guide.
62 High Rd, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 2JP

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