Just days before the Calle 47 Gastronomic Corridor’s inauguration, Oliva has opened a new pizzeria within view of the restaurant that started it all.
Pizzeria Oliva’s wide facade faces Calle 54 with huge windows that reveal, from the street, a pristine creamy-white dining room and bar. The look is clean and pared down compared with its big brother on the corner, Oliva Enoteca. The overall vibe is sophisticated but relaxed.
To start, there are charcuterie plates and steak tartar designed to share, but all the hot food comes from the domed pizza oven in one corner of the front room. Not just pizza but also paninis and roasted whole cauliflower, says chef-owner Stefano Marcelletti.
But to be sure, it’s all about the pizzas, which start with artisan dough made with “00” flour imported from Italy and fermented en casa for 48 hours.
Marcelletti was raised in Rome, and that’s the style reflected in his pizzas. The menu has 11 pizza choices, ranging from a New York-inspired cheese pizza to a new item called the Picante, with tomato, mozzarella, soppressata, and drizzled with honey and chile calabrese.
Preferring what appeared to be the most savory option, we tried the Melanzane, the other of Oliva’s new pizzas. The flavors balanced tomato, thinly sliced eggplant, anchovies and gremolata, a pesto-like green sauce with chopped parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. An umami powerhouse.
Elevating the already high-tier dishes is a wine list where bottles range from MX$600 to MX$1,850. We enjoyed a soft, luscious organic La Cappuccina merlot from Veneto (MX$850), which paired beautifully with our food.
It can be argued that the entire Restaurant Row concept owes its existence to Oliva Enoteca, which 10 years ago brought a high-end Italian restaurant to what was then a nondescript street linking the Remate of the Paseo Montejo to the abandoned railroad yard dubbed at La Plancha.
On Friday, the Gastronomic Corridor — featuring scores of restaurants along a beautified streetscape — will get its long-awaited ribbon cutting. Several construction projects up and down the street suggest the imminent arrival of yet more eateries.
The new pizzeria rounds out Mérida’s most impressive concentration of restaurants, which already includes some of Mérida’s best-barbecued meats (Ánima), aged steaks (130 Grados), seafood and shellfish (Micaela Mar y Leña) and brunch (La Libertad). Sushi lovers have two places to go (Homu and Yakuza).
At the same time, more traditional Mexican textures and flavors (Catrín and Rosa Mexicano) and specifically Oaxacan (Sandunga) are represented up and down the street.
The inauguration on Friday night will resemble an elaborate block party featuring a series of cultural events organized by the city, including live music, folkloric dancers, and comedians.