Oceanic Dinners: Full Speed Ahead


It’s a wild sea out there right now — winds are coming up, everything is churning —and we’re in full prep mode for next week’s Oceanic Dinners. We’re smoking, drying, pickling, chilling – the kitchen is working like mad.

It’s a stellar menu. Here are some of the dishes that Chef Jonah is particularly high on:
  • Charcoal-grilled live scallop with scallop roe, dachi, dried scallop, Pioppini mushrooms, and seaweed. We’re getting in some live scallops in their shells. They’ll be scored on the grill, put back in their shell and poached over coals in adachi broth. We’re drying scallops now, which will be shaved over the dish.
  • Panna cotta of Japanese sea urchin (Santa Barbara may not be available) with house-cured vanilla-scented trout roe and olive oil. Per Jonah, “this will be a really sexy dish.”
  • Spot shrimp are coming in. We’ll wrap the tails in potato strings and fry them with the heads on (undesirable brain and cardiac stomach removed).
  • And an osso buco, but with monkfish.
Here’s the whole menu.
Oceanic Dinners, June 23rd-26th
By |June 19th, 2015|Coming up...|0 Comments

14th Annual Oceanic Dinner Preliminary Menu


Antipasti: smaller items, soup, salads


Panna cotta of Santa Barbara sea urchin with house-cured vanilla-scented trout roe and olive oil

Crudo of bonito

Salad of Bibb lettuce with smoked swordfish bagna cauda, Sausalito Springs watercress, Easter Egg radish, fried shallots, and lemon

Frutti di mare of geoduck, Kushi oyster, house-smoked trout, cuttlefish, and mackerel; salsa rosa, sea urchin aïoli, and mignonette

Garden lettuces vinaigrette



Charcoal-grilled live scallop with scallop roe, dachi, dried scallop, Pioppini mushrooms, and seaweed

Charcoal-grilled mackerel (or other bluefish) with fregola, chili, and lemon agrumato

Potato-wrapped spot shrimp

Pan-roasted pain de mie-crusted sand dab

Charcoal-grilled terrina of octopus with pimento aïoli, new potatoes, and wild arugula

Fritto misto of scallop, shrimp, and other seafood (tbd)

Soup: vellutata of lobster and Dungeness crab with vanilla-orange crema



Acquerello Carnaroli risotto of Santa Barbara sea urchin, preserved Meyer lemon, and Espelette peppers

Tajarin with Dungeness crab, tarragon, and crab crema

Ravioli of bacalà with preserved lemon and mint

Spaghetti neri with Georgia white shrimp, tomato, and hot pepper

Fusilli bucata corti with East Coast razor clams

Agnolotti dal plin

Tortelloni of house-made ricotta and Parmesan cheeses with basil pesto



Pan-roasted skate wing with roasted fennel, capers, and brown butter

‘Osso buco’ of monkfish with saffron risotto, tomato brodo, and gremolata

Pan-roasted local king salmon with early summer succotash

Pan-roasted black sea bass

Cioppino of local rock cod, shrimp, mussels, and cuttlefish with saffron aïoli, crostino, and parsley

Farroto AQ



Yakira’s special Floating Island

Semolina shortcake with blackberries, mascarpone mousse, and lime sorbetto

Strawberry semifreddo with pistachio-almond cake, candied pistachios, strawberries, and old aceto balsamico

Cheesecake on crisp rye cake with chamomile caramel, apricot sauce, grilled apricots, and torched apricot meringue


By |June 15th, 2015|Coming up...|0 Comments

Visitors from Sicily


Monday, June 15th

We’re huge fans of Ciro and Stef Biondi. They are smart, generous, and full of life. Their wines are too. While their vineyards have been producing wine for centuries on Mt. Etna, Ciro hit the restart button less than two decades ago, trying to make a great wine, taking full advantage of the extraordinary gifts of Mt. Etna — its young volcanic soil, its altitude high above the sea, and warm days.

We’re pleased to introduce you to them. Ciro and Stef will be in the Oliveto dining room, pouring their wines (some older vintages too) this coming Monday, and Chef Jonah will be offering some appropriate dishes to go with these wines:

  • Fritto of house made ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms
  • Crudo of swordfish with oregano, currants, pine nuts, and lemon
  • Rigatoni alla trapanese
  • Spaghetti with fresh anchovies, saffron, pine nuts, and raisins
  • Charcoal-grilled pork porterhouse with eggplant, artichoke, and salmoriglio

There are also a few places still available in the 6:15 to 7 PM tasting that Ciro will offering in our private dining room.

  • 2014 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Bianco
  • 2013 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
  • 2011 ‘Cisterna Fuori’
  • 2008 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
  • 2007 Biondi ‘Monte Ilice’ Etna Rosso

The tasting is $40. Register here.
After the tasting, stay for dinner.

By |June 11th, 2015|2015, Happened already..., Italy, Sicily, Wine Events|0 Comments

This Just In: Local King Salmon



This year’s local king salmon season has just been getting better and better, and what’s just come in is the best yet – it’s rosy, tender, and incredibly luscious. We think that it’s completely in line with the quality we expect for our Oceanic Dinners come June 23-26.

On the menu now:

  • Pan-roasted local king salmon with Acquerello Carnaroli risotto of sea beans, haricots verts, lobster crema, and squash blossom spumante


By |June 9th, 2015|Coming up..., Events, This Just In|0 Comments

Oceanic Dinners Update: The Shape of Things to Come


It’s always the sheer size of our Oceanic Dinner menu that blows people away – that and the quality of the food. The menu is shaping up under Jonah’s skillful eye; here are some of the highlights:

A twist on the regular showstopper, our vellutata of lobster will include some Dungeness crab.

Charcoal-grilled live scallops with scallop roe, dashi, dried scallop, piopinni mushrooms and seaweed will be served for an extra umami delight.

Our favored cioppino will abound with local rock cod, shrimp, mussels, and cuttlefish.
Charcoal-grilled terrina of octopus with pimento aioli.

Our 14th Annual Oceanic Dinners take place June 23th-26th.
By |June 7th, 2015|Coming up..., Uncategorized|0 Comments

This Just In: Magruder Ranch Lamb


It’s hard to find meat as good as Mac Magruder’s lamb, so we’re pretty excited when we can get it.  We received four yearlings last week. Jonah has let them hang for a few days and is planning to prepare them to you beginning Friday and throughout the weekend.
On the menu: 
Roast leg of Magruder lamb with turmeric yogurt, pickled red onion, yellow Finn potatoes, and watercress. Saturday and Sunday, we’ll be adding lamb cappellacci and very large lamb-stuffed ravioli as well.

Come celebrate the Warriors (with a little lamb juice running down your chin)!
By |June 4th, 2015|Coming up..., Magruder Ranch, This Just In|0 Comments

Oceanic Dinners Update: Two Weeks and Counting



It is two weeks to our Oceanic Dinners, and so we look to the sea to find our menu. A few days ago, we met with Tom Worthington of Monterey Fish Market to find out what we might expect from its capricious, briny depths.

He told us that the Pacific has been warmer than usual, and the winds, which “scrub” the ocean’s surface and cause an upwelling of the plankton that supports our local fisheries, have come late. Alas, no squid, and the sardine fishery has closed for the year. Both of these are usually available by now.

That said, there’s plenty of other beautiful creatures to share. Locally, the sand dabs are excellent right now, as are the Petrale sole, salmon, and white sea bass. Jonah and Tom are now casting their eyes further out, to distant waters.  We’ve got tuna on our minds, bonito, albacore, and blue fin, some of which we may smoke. According to Tom, there are these “weird clams” from the East Coast. From Alaska, halibut. Such riches.

Now we know more, and Jonah’s thinking about what he’d like to serve.

Our 14th Annual Oceanic Dinners take place June 16th-19th. (Note: due to the Warrior’s Championship series we’re moving the Oceanic Dinners back one week, now they will occur Tuesday June 23rd through Friday June 26th.)

Call (510) 547-5356 or reserve online.

Join the Oliveto Water Brigade


Save Water, Eat for Free

Okay. We know that secretly (or not-so-secretly), some of our customers are brushing their teeth with a Dixie cup of water. Or less. And we’re doing our best to cut back too – with our efficient dishwashers and thrifty produce-washing practices. We’ve also been asked not to offer water to customers unless requested. But we want to do more. This is a problem that isn’t going away soon.

We know this isn’t the traditional role of a restaurant, but we’ve been rethinking what a restaurant in this community could be. So, acknowledging our collective water-saving activities, we’re asking our customers to give us the best water conservation tips, big and little. Tell us what you’re doing to save water, and submit your latest EBMUD bill. We’ll put a little team together to pick a winner. Entries will be judged on the effectiveness of the idea, overall water use improvement, cleverness, and charm. Winner gets a dinner for two on us. We’ll also present your idea in our Community Journal, newsletter, and on our social media.

To submit, email cynthia AT oliveto DOT com. You will also need to include the totals on your last water bill, both current and two years ago (your most recent water bill keeps a history of use that goes back two years). Also please tell us how many are in your household and if you’ve been on vacation at all during that time. This should be fun! We’re winging this, so expect further clarification (submission due dates, etc.) later. In the meantime, let the eccentricity begin.


By |May 29th, 2015|Coming up...|0 Comments

Wine Tasting with Ciro Biondi



On the ferry to Sicily from Naples, you can see the city of Catania and its surrounding villages, above which the active volcano, Mt. Etna, looms. Here lives Ciro Biondi, who tends centuries-old vines on his family plot.

His vineyards are a simple, beautiful place on the eastern slope, where cool evenings and warm days make for a wine that far exceeds the standards of the island. Its soil is of young volcanic ash, crumbly and crystalline, and its eastern aspect allows the morning dew to dry from the grapes when the sun rises. His wines are spectacular. Over the last five years, Etna has emerged as one of the most important wine regions, and Ciro is one of its biggest players.

We love Ciro personally as well. He’s warm and passionate, both in winemaking and in life. We’re happy to have him for a tasting of his wines, and we’ll be having Sicilian dishes on the dinner menu that evening in his honor.

The wine tasting will consist of:

2014 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Bianco
2013 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
2011 ‘Cisterna Fuori’ Etna Rosso
2008 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
2007 Biondi ‘Monte Ilice’ Etna Rosso

$40 per person
Monday, June 15, 2015 from 6:15 PM to 7:00 PM
Oliveto Restaurant & Café
Oakland, CA


By |May 22nd, 2015|Commons Past Events, Wine Events|0 Comments

This Just In: Crab-stuffed Soft Shell Crab

Crabcake stuffed softshell crab


Starting tonight and through the weekend, Chef Jonah Rhodehamel will be taking a Dungeness crab cake, stuffing it inside a soft shell crab, and frying it in a sparkling water batter (making it extra crispy!). This will be accompanied by a salad of frisee, avocado, and blood orange.


Is it too much?


Can it be too much?


We wish you an extra crabby weekend.
By |May 21st, 2015|Happened already..., This Just In|0 Comments