We ate at Oleana for the first time last night. I don't like to review restaurants based on a single visit, but it was hard enough to get reservations that it may be a while before we get back.
This is clearly one of the top restaurants in Cambridge, and probably the best one serving non-American/non-European food. The cuisine is mostly Turkish, with wonderful spiced dishes and aromas.
The space is nice but tightly packed. I was seated facing toward a wall that was long enough that really there was nothing to see other than the wall without swiveling my head. Other tables were close, but the noise level was low enough that it was possible to talk and be heard, yet loud enough that conversation across the table felt reasonably private.
Our server was great. We asked for recommendations and he was happy to make suggestions, all of which were excellent. We also had a number of questions about the food that he got answers to after checking with the kitchen.
We were given three kinds of bread (pita, a white bread, and some near cubes of bread that I did not recognize but were very good and much softer than they looked), served with olive oil.
For appetizers, we had quail kebab which was very good, and tamarind-glazed beef and eggplant that was wonderful.
For main dishes, we had scallops with a butternut squash crispy pie that was also wonderful, and a striped bass special that was very good except that the fishy taste of the bass didn't work all that well with the spices.
There is a recent comment on TripAdvisor that the food was too salty to eat, and this had me concerned as I've felt like a lot of restaurants are oversalting things lately. However, while there were many spices and tastes mixed together, I did not find things to be overly salty and thought the level of spice was exactly right.
For dessert we had Turkish-style profiteroles that are served with warm salep, a drink made from orchid root (one of our questions for our server was about this). You sip the salep along with the profiteroles. This was different and all very tasty. We also got the tangerine caramel parfait with a chocolate tart and Aleppo honeycomb (the Aleppo chili was another question). This was very good, but not as exciting as it sounded.
Overall it was a really great meal. It was also quite an expensive meal with glasses of wine at $13 each and all the dishes several dollars more than you might see at comparably good restaurants in the area. That said, we will definitely be back.
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