Friday night date at Oleana in Cambridge

It’s been a week of calorie counting and I feel like a new person. It’s made me more aware of what I’m putting into my body and helped me appreciate the little treats even more. The calorie counting exercise was meant to prevent mindless snacking, not eliminate indulgent dates with my husband. Last night’s dinner at Oleana was just that – an amazing meal with inspired food, enjoyed with my favorite person in the world. 😀

Oleana is a Mediterranean restaurant in Cambridge. During the summer and fall, they use most of their produce from Sienna Farms (which has a stand at my local farmers market). I’ve wanted to come here for so long, and already can’t wait to go back. Anyways, enough talking about it – let’s see some pictures!!

The bar area…

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The open kitchen (kind of hard to see in this pic – see all those checks hanging out so the cooks can see what they need to make next?)

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Moi – with some wine. Typical 😆

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A glass of 2005 Nebbiolo Blend, Le Piane ‘La Maggiorina, Colline Novarese, Piemonte, Italy. It was kind of like Chianti. I had 2 throughout dinner.

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While we were finalizing our menu selections, we decided to order some whipped feta with sweet and hot peppers from Oleana’s “pret a manger” (ready to eat) section. It promptly arrived with a basket of bread. Excellent.

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The whipped feta tasted like well… whipped feta. It was salty but obviously feta is salty. I didn’t really taste much of the pepper flavor although it was clearly not plain whipped feta either.

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My favorite part was the fuccachia bread with zaatar spice on top. I could have eaten the whole basket! In fact, we did polish off the whole first basket, which was quickly refilled by our waiter. Can you say dangerous?

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I convinced Adam to stay away from it until he was sure the rest of what was coming was not enough… and let me tell you, the next thing that arrived at our table was well worth fighting the urge to eat your weight in bread.

Spinach falafel with tahini, yogurt, beets and crinkled cress. How amazingly creative does that sound?

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The server suggested that we cut the lavash and make mini rolls…

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Brilliant!

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I have never had anything like this! While writing this review, I realized that the falafel was spinach-based, instead of the typical chickpea blend. The result was a super tender, juicy ball, accompanied by so many other complex flavors and textures. My description could never do this dish justice. Amazing – definitely the highlight of the dinner. Adam kept saying how unbelievably delicious this was. I was a good wife and let him have 2/3rds of the appetizer. 😀

Next up: my entree – (from the menu) tuna with pomegranate spoon salad & coconut rice wrapped in collard. What I actually received was definitely tuna over cabbage and collards, with a side of couscous. Now that I think about it, I wonder if it’s because I requested no onions on any of my food. I bet that’s it!

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The cabbage and collards were my favorite part, although the tuna steak was perfectly cooked and I also enjoyed the pomegranate seeds for an occasional burst of sweetness. The couscous was completely plain so I left most of it on my plate. The rest was overall delicious. 😀

And now the moment I’ve been waiting for – dessert time! Oleana’s pastry chef is well known and the walls proudly display many “Best of Boston” awards for her (with the most recent one from 2009!). I was SO excited!

The dessert menu was so different, I was completely lost, so I asked our waiter for some suggestions. He mentioned that his favorite dessert was the nougat glace with guince-apricot marmalade and apricot sauce so I decided to get it. (He also mentioned that their baked alaska is what they are famous for, but since Adam doesn’t like coconut I chose the aforementioned nougat glace).

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Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this dessert. :( The apricot sauce had too much honey (which I’m not a fan of) and not enough apricots. I liked the crunch of the hazelnuts in the nougat ice cream, but it was pretty bland otherwise. It was creative but I don’t know… I just didn’t get it I guess. I was quite upset about this dessert bust and even considered ordering a second one but Adam talked me out of it.

On the way home I decided that I couldn’t end a fabulous night on a bad note, so we stopped by Whole Foods and I got myself this chocolate beauty.

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I felt much better! :mrgreen:

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So the dessert did not blow us away but overall the dinner was fantastic. We decided before the dessert arrived that we’d be back to Oleana and I still stand by this. I’m sure the food is even more fresh during the summer and fall months when more local ingredients can be incorporated. I’ll be sure to find out later this year. 😉

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For other restaurant reviews, check out my Restaurant Reviews page.

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