Just a short walk from Union Square, if you don’t walk past it the first time, the Olive Tree is a fun and unique place to go with some of your closest friends. However this is a bitter sweet experience, to say the least.
Although their menu is limited, and the food tasting average at best, the fun and different atmosphere makes it worth trying at least one time.
As you enter through the red velvet curtain, the restaurant opens up to a small, but open, dining room. With the lights down low, you’ll see the images of the great Charlie Chaplin projected on the walls. The whole feel seems close and intimate. With small private lighting at each table giving it an even cozier feel, it is trendy, but homey, all at the same time.
On top of the great atmosphere set by the lighting and silent movies, they provide another fun and different extra, chalkboard tables. With a cup of chalk at each table, you can break the ice during a first date, or just goof off with friends drawing or writing silly things or playing games while waiting for your food to come.
This cute extra you won’t find anywhere else makes it worth it. The only down side was that they don’t give extra napkins, so expect chalky elbows.
Besides the mood and setting they create, the food and service, although quick, wasn’t the greatest. Their mozzarella sticks were served cold with even colder marinara sauce, and the fries were not seasoned well. Having over salted and bland fries in the same dish made it hard to fully enjoy. However, they stay true to their word and serve “absolutely scrumptious” macaroni and cheese.
The food came fast and the order was taken rather quickly, however the whole meal felt rushed and unwelcoming. The servers stood close by and barely waited for you to finish your last bite before snatching away your plate.
If you’re looking for a place for drinks after a meal or just as a night out with friends, this might be a more suitable place. With a wide beer selection and an entire page of the menu dedicated solely to their specialty drinks and cocktails, a night out just looking for drinks and fun might be more enjoyable.
Although it’s located in a trendy area of Manhattan at 117 MacDougal Street, right near New York University, the prices are more like a neighborhood bar than most places you would find in the area. With four dollar beers and cheap finger foods and burgers, it is quite affordable and perfect for broke college students.
Overall, this is a different and interesting experience that is definitely worth a look. If you’re looking for a good gourmet meal, this isn’t the place for you. However, if you’re only looking for a cool, fun place to just have a fun and good time with friends, then it is worth a try. Good for drinks with a group of buddies or coworkers and great for dates or a get together with a couple of close friends, it’s an affordable and fun night out.
Just keep your eyes open because it’s definitely easy to miss.
Photo by Patrick Hickey Jr.