Hot potato, the earliest dish designed to be passed, is nearly extinct because of the constant ravages of grade-school appetites. Today’s Groupon revives rotating refreshments: for $25, you get $50 worth of tapas, sangria, and Spanish-style eats at Oliva Restaurant & Bar, located on the Lower East Side on Houston Street.
Selected by Citysearch as their 2008 pick for Best First Date Spot, Oliva is a lively and social eatery. Shake things up with a Crayola-hued libation from their cocktail list, including an Oliva margarita in mango or raspberry among others ($10) or the el marlin, a jalapeno-infused Chinaco blanco tequila with cilantro, fresh grapefruit, and lime ($10). Oliva also features wines and bubbly by the glass or bottle, beer, sangria, and tequila to sip on. An extensive tapas menu presents plenty of small-plated possibilities. Nosh on bacon-cuddled dates ($9), mixed marinated olives ($5), or serrano ham fritters ($9). Cater to heavier cravings with grilled skirt steak ($21) or roasted chicken sided with olive-oil mashed potatoes ($21). Soups, salads, and cheese plates round out the menu. For dessert, fork vanilla-bean flan ($6) or Oliva’s take on the cheesecake ($7). Oliva’s new brunch menu features multiple items for $5 with an option to mix and match (3 for $13).
Live music on select nights coupled with a seductive dining room bathed in soft light helps to attract a buzzy, vibrant crowd. For almost a decade, the centrally located eatery has served as an epicurean passport to an energetic, internationally spiked evening. Tango, Latin pop, and Cuban salsa sounds take the edge off a blind date, and the finger-friendly menu is ideal for large groups or shy stomachs.
New York magazine and Time Out New York praised the food at Oliva. Citysearchers give Oliva an average of four stars, and 110 Yelpers give it a three-star average. > * We might have missed a Jimmy Choo or two under the tiny, painted tables. But it seems that Oliva is full of youngish dressed-for-comfort East Villagers here for the fabulous Basque cooking, not for a teeny martini and a lettuce leaf. – New York > * With a salsa Cubano band playing most nights of the week, this spirited sangria-and-tapas eatery often gets as loud as the corner of Houston and Allen outside. – Time Out New York
161 E Houston St.
New York, New York 10002Get Directions