Restaurant Review: Oleana (Cambridge)

Restaurant Review: Oleana (Cambridge)

Part of me hates writing this post as it is already difficult to get a table at Oleana and I selfishly don’t want more people to discover just how wonderful the food is. But I just can’t contain my excitement and love for this place.

Disclaimer: all opinions are my own. I was not invited or compensated by Oleana for this review.

I first went to Oleana last year to celebrate my dad’s birthday. All I knew about the place was that it has consistently been named one of the best restaurants in the Boston/Cambridge area and that if you go in the summer it’s worth waiting a few extra minutes to get a spot outside. While I’m not sure if this summer has just been especially busy for Oleana, but when I was looking into making reservations earlier in the summer for my parents visit in June the place was booked straight through August.  So if you plan on going on a weekend night, I highly recommend you book ASAP and be willing to wait a few weeks (or even a couple months). But trust me, it is so worth it.

Opened in 2001, Oleana’s chef Ana Sortune has been turning out consistently inventive and perfectly flavored Turkish and Eastern Mediterranean dishes for 15 years in the small, but beautiful Innman Square location. While the inside of the restaurant is elegantly warm, I highly recommend sitting in their award-winning patio. With water features, herb gardens, and fig trees, the patio feels incredibly intimate, as if you are on vacation and visiting at someone’s house. There are also heat lamps, so I imagine it is pleasant in the Fall and Spring as well.

One of the best tips I can give is to share. The bulk of the menu is Meze (sharing plates) with a few entrees as well. Every item is so intricate with flavors and textures that it is in your best interest to try as many things as possible. For the four of us, we ended up splitting 7 Meze plates and 1 entree, and it was the perfect amount of food. While I haven’t gotten dessert here, Oleana’s pastry chef is well known, with her specialty actually being in infused ice creams. So if you’re hoping to end the night with something sweet, you may want to order one less savory item to make room for dessert.

Okay, so on to the food!

  1. Seared Green Tomatoes with Red Pepper-Walnut Vinaigrette, Shankleesh. A great dish to start with as it was nice and light. The tomatoes just fall apart in your mouth. Green tomatoes
  2. Whipped Feta, Sweet Hot Peppers. Small, but so good spread over a piece of fluffy bread. Also delicious to just eat with a spoon 😉 And don’t worry if you aren’t a spice fan, it is very mild! Whipped feta
  3. Corn Hummus with Pomegranate Molasses (special that night). LOVED the pomegranate molasses. I had never thought about pairing something sweet with hummus, but it worked very well. I also liked having the quinoa chickpea salad on top for added texture. Corn hummus
  4. Grilled Broccoli, Lemon-Tahini Vinaigrette, Dried Cherries, Pistachio, Pinenuts. This is another great light dish. Loved the bites I got with the pinenuts especially. Also very good with the whipped feta spread on top 😉 Grilled broccoli
  5. Octopus, Calamari, Rock Shrimp, Pickled Fennel, Heirloom Tomato, Feta. This was probably my least favorite as I wish there had been more shrimp and the flavor combinations just weren’t as exciting. BUT my dad and Bry both liked the dish and felt the octopus and calamari were cooked perfectly. Calamari

6: Sultan’s Delight – Tamarind Beef, Smokey Eggplant Puree, and Pine nuts. This was Bry’s favorite dish of the night. Imagine the most moist, slow cooked braised short rib, but even more buttery/melt-in-your-mouth. Plus the sauce is just so savory and, well, meaty. I can easily understand why so many people recommend this one! Sultans delight

7: Vermont Quail  kebob, Baharat Spice, Barberries, and Pistachio. Now this one was by far my favorite! I’m a sucker for anything citrus-y and the barberries in this give the perfect acidity to the more salty, savory quail and pistachios. I easy could have just eaten an entree-sized portion of this and been very happy. Quail

8: Scallops, Fairy Tale Eggplant, Corn Cous Cous, Dukkah. While this is techinally an entree, I highly recommend ordering it as a shared plate. Not just so that you can try out more dishes, but also because this was rich! The scallops were perfectly cooked and not at all rubbery inside, the eggplant cooked down so much it just fell apart, and the corn cous cous was so creamy and reminiscent of creamed corn (but much more interesting in flavor). Scallops

Here’s a toast to a neighborhood gem than never disappoints! 

Oleana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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About Kelli McGrane Headshot

I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

About Kelli McGrane Headshot

Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

Hi, I’m Kelli McGrane MS, RD! My mission is to show you that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. I believe getting to know your food is the first step to a healthy relationship with it. Follow along in my journey to learn all I can about ingredients and cooking with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

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