Our search for the best and freshest seafood brings us to one of the 700 islands in the Atlantic Ocean and located north of Cuba and Hispaniola, Haiti and the Dominican Republic — the Bahamas. Chef Todd English continues to spread his rich Mediterranean flavors and dedication to local ingredients around the globe. His Olive’s restaurants are currently located in Las Vegas, Mexico City and Abu Dabe as well as Nassau, Bahamas. We got a taste of it at Todd English’s Olives at Atlantis in Nassau under the leadership of Chef de Cuisine, Eric Mistry. Following is the treasure we discovered as well as a few suggestions for you and your bucket list.
Tucked behind the gaming tables and within earshot of the din of slot machines on the first floor of the Atlantis Resort is Chef English’s Olives Restaurant. The entrance gives way to a handsome and inviting dining room with a large display of fresh seafood and fish packed in a large display on ice. Clear, crystal clear, suspension lamps dot along the dining area like floating clouds or mystical orbs.
I recommend you follow them to the back of the restaurant where geometric windows form a semicircle and colorful ceramic plates climb the walls and give way to stellar views of the local blue waters and pastel shopping village in the distance. Even my dinner guest, who happens to be a professional interior designer for hotels and restaurants, noted the balance of color, textures, inspired chandelier and overall ambiance — timeless and contemporary.
Our server, Juliette, approached us with a sincerity and kindness found in the slow pace and congenial islands. She knew how to read our table perfectly. Before we even looked over the menu, she escorted us to the display of fresh fish and even discussed the front line’s preparation options for various entrees. We knew that our experience was off to a great start with her professionalism and knowledge as well as her sassy spirit to help us settle in and enjoy. Brava!
While families scramble for a free buffet and more fried food than you can shake a grissled and gristled Guy Fiere leg at, we recommend the more healthy and humane approach to dining for lunch and/or dinner. Olive’s menu consists of everything from tasty pastas, vegetarian options and healthy flatbreads to freshly caught whole fish and local seafood. Following are several of our recommendations.
The Greek Salad was nothing to send a postcard home about, but the ingredients are traditional, authentic and fresh: Romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, warm feta cheese and topped with a flaky fillo pastry — this dish also comes with a creamy Greek salad dressing but finding a Kalamata olive was equivalent to discovering a hidden pirates treasure.
The Bowl O’Clams came piping hot to the table, beautifully presented with Spanish chorizo and parsley and a sculpture of fisherman’s bread. Juliette described the plate with eloquence and a little shimmy when she announced the broth had a touch of jalapeño pepper. She is amusing. We all agreed it was spicy and while my guest has a more sensitive pallet, I indulged on the fresh mollusks and appreciated the spicy heat that finished every bite. You may need to request another slice of fisherman’s bread to absorb all of the light and picante broth with shaved garlic. Ole!
The Seafood Tower was delivered to the table with the same fanfare as a Goombay parade. A large, ice-packed serving trough comes brimming with frutti di mare: clams, oysters, jumbo shrimp, lobster tails, tuna tartar and a succulent, spicy conch seviche. While everything was enjoyable, we did note certain items have to be imported but we conclude with our favorites, the shrimp is delectable and cooked/chilled to perfection, the oysters are flavorful with brine and accompanied by both a cocktail or vinaigrette sauce. The clams, while tiny, are also noteworthy. The quality, presentation and experience are all impressive and satiating, however, my guest and I think a tower should be a tower, should be a tower.
I’ve dined on seafood towers in other fine establishments where the presentation involves 3 to 4 tiers and topped with dry ice to create a spectacle throughout the dining room. It often receives a round of applause. Perhaps that is simply not Mr. English’s style. Regardless, the most impressive part of this dish is the local conch ceviche. The preparation is memorable with a perfect blend of succulent conch, citrus, red onion, jalapeño and a touch of tropical fruit.
Hint: You don’t have to leave NYC to experience Chef Todd English’s cuisine. Visit The Plaza Food Hall on Central Park South in the lower level of the landmark hotel.
This is part of a series on travel, cruising and dining. Be sure to read Beauty News NYC Magazine in the coming weeks for more insider tips and ideas.
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