If you’re looking for a taste of Brooklyn’s thriving culinary culture, Olea Mediterranean Taverna is worth the unpredictable G train ride. This Mediterranean tapas and raw bar is located on a tree-lined street in the thriving brownstone community of Fort Greene. The space is homey and simplistic on the outside, and lush and welcoming within.
Olea’s tapas menu offers several kinds of croquettes, including Serrano ham, goat cheese, and salt cod with potato. There is also an array of dips served with warm pita, as well as unusual options like sausage-stuffed olives, baby octopus, and Turkish “cigars.” All hovering around five dollars per plate, it is easy to make a sensible meal out of a few of these plates and a pitcher of the house sangria.
For heftier fare, Olea features some tasty main courses as well. Every Friday is paella night; the hearty seafood mix is served up in generous portions for one or two. Cod, served with dainty red lentils and fresh scallions, offers a smaller but no less succulent option. Seasonal risottos are also a solid choice. Given the lackluster options on the appetizer menu, it’s best to supplement your entrée with a few plates from the tapas menu or try a sampling from their excellent raw bar.
With its occasional live guitar and belly dancing (see website or call for details), Olea puts its large tavernesque space to good use. On the weekends, Olea’s brunch is a stark departure from the area’s more conventional options. Try the green eggs and lamb, an appetizing mix of cilantro-laden eggs and juicy lamb sausage, or the Turkish breakfast, eggs served with eggplant and Fattoush salad.
How to get there: Take the A or C train to Hoyt – Schermerhorn station and transfer for a Queens-bound G train. Get off at Clinton – Washington Avenues and walk about three blocks west. Olea is on the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Adelphi Street. For directions from anywhere on Manhattan, click the HopStop link below. (171 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 718.643.7003, oleabrooklyn.com)