*This dining experience took place in July 2014.
When I want to get away from it all and have a low-key and relaxing meal, I head to Olivia’s at Old Key West. I don’t know if it’s the Jimmy Buffett music or the easy-going back cast members and guests, but there is something calming about visiting the Old Key West Resort. It’s one of my favorite places to stay on property, and I absolutely adore their restaurant, Olivia’s Cafe.
Olivia’s is located near the Hospitality House (i.e. lobby/check-in), and even though it’s amidst all the action, it never feels bustling or crowded. It’s food is very Key West inspired – seasonal, seafood, and full of flavor. I usually head there for breakfast, as I love their breakfast options (especially the sweet potato hash with poached eggs).
On this particular occasion, I stopped by for lunch before heading out to the Mall at Millenia in Orlando for an afternoon of shopping. Though the mall does have a California Pizza Kitchen that I’d like to check out – I’ve heard fabulous things from Gluten Free in Orlando & Eating Out Without – but I had dinner at Boatwright’s that night, and I knew I was going to need a bit of a lighter meal.
I was greeted by my server Jerry, who has assisted me many times and is very attentive. I think my only sort of “complaint” about the service was that the hostess seated me in the middle of the restaurant. As a solo diner, that can be a little odd when you’re right in the middle of the action! Thankfully, I was given some art work to color!
Chef Paula, the location’s culinary intern, came out to chat with me about the options. I was most keen on getting a salad and asked about the Mallory Square Cobb Salad which came with both shrimp and crab meat, along with standard Cobb salad accompaniments (bacon, egg, avocado). The dressing was a key lime vinaigrette which sounded amazing (and was!). She said she needed to double-check to see if the seafood had butter in it, but she thought it was made with extra virgin olive oil (it was).
Once we were cleared with that, I was able to enjoy a generous portion of this Cobb salad. As a Cobb salad fan (and a huge fan of the Brown Derby Cobb Salad), I had high hopes for this. And it did not disappoint. The seafood was perfectly cooked and seasoned. It had a hint of Old Bay in it, which I adore but can be overpowering if used too generously. This was perfection. The bacon, hard boiled egg, and avocado married well with these light but rich proteins. And the key lime vinaigrette was the perfect light dressing to bring it all together. I may or may not have inhaled this salad. It was that good!
Overall, I really enjoyed my lunch at Olivia’s. I still think the Cobb salad at the Brown Derby is my favorite salad on property, as far as a full meal salad, but this is a very close second. I wouldn’t hesitate to order this again, and likely will the next visit!
I give this a solid 9 out of 10! The perfect meal salad for the summer in Florida.
Have you dined at Olivia’s? What do you like to order there?