Fresh Mediterranean cuisine in San Francisco: Olea


One of my favorite new restaurants in San Francisco is Olea, opened barely five months ago by my friends, Gabriel Amaya (see photo above) and Glen Bolosan. It has taken them over a year to find a suitable location (California Street at Larkin) so you can imagine how happy I was to hear that they had finally succeeded.

What’s the food like? Mediterranean – California cuisine. They use organic ingredients. The menu is small (which I like) and everything is very fresh. On the night that I went to Olea, I ordered grilled sardines which turned out to be much larger than most sardines that one finds in the Bay Area. The lamb chops were very delicious, just perfectly done (medium rare). And the cheesecake which is not your regular cheesecake (I won’t spoil the surprise) was divine!

Since the opening, Olea has become a neighborhood hangout and it’s not surprising given the quality of the food and the excellent service.

  • Vibe: intimate neighborhood restaurant, good for romantic dinners, tables not packed in so you can have a conversation with your dinner companions, warm cozy interior.
  • Pros: fresh organic Mediterranean food, good wine list, good service; if you did not reserve in advance, you can always sit at the communal table which is a lot of fun; desserts are made by Gabriel himself.
  • Cons: street parking, which in the Nob Hill neighborhood can be a bit challenging.

Gabe and Glen are excellent photographers so you can see their gorgeous Flickr photos here and here.

1494 California Street
San Francisco, CA
+1 415 202 8521

Olea on Urbanspoon

About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.