Please note, El Olivo has now closed. Time Out Food editors, August 2018.
Paellas bristling with chicken, chorizo and seafood and served in the pan are the real deal here, popular with locals seeking a change of cuisine. A tapas bar in a Turkish stronghold, El Olivo only concedes defeat when it comes to the bread – which is not Spanish but lovely, warm, locally baked and indispensable for scooping up aubergine cooked to melting softness or tender albóndigas with red peppers. No surfeit of oil to mop up, mind. While tapas can be tired and oily, these taste fresh and perky. Black pudding with rice instead of oats was delightfully herby. More typical and tip-top were soft, bouncy calamares and slightly crisp patatas bravas. In contrast, padrón peppers could have done with a little longer on the grill, and the tortilla came topped with unnecessary salad-creamy aïoli. Tarta de santiago with vanilla ice-cream (nothing special) or flan coated with synthetic-tasting strawberry sauce aren’t worth saving space for either. Gypsy-style violin music and a woody interior with wagon-wheel lights won’t win awards for a cutting-edge environment, but pleasant service and well-priced wines, along with the savoury food, easily tip the balance in El Ol’s favour.