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Oliva crosses the country to open 4th restaurant

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for our weekly newsletters, so our top headlines will appear in your inbox each Monday and Thursday.

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Mérida wasn’t really known for its fettuccini and linguini, until suddenly it was, thanks to one enterprising chef from Rome.

Nearly five years ago, Stefano Marcelletti opened his first Oliva in Mérida, bringing fresh pasta and packed tables to a small corner spot in the Centro. It was an instant hit.

That was Oliva Kitchen & Bar. Few knew that more, larger Olivas were coming.

The next year, a larger and grander Oliva opened a couple of blocks away. That was Oliva Enoteca, which transformed not just its sleepy corner but the entire neighborhood, igniting a restaurant row on Calle 47.

Then came Oliva Patio, a northward move on Avenida Garcia Lavin. Its dining room, as the name suggests, is adjacent to a private patio with wooden pergolas and chaka trees.

Now there’s a fourth sister — and she’s clear across the country on the Baja Peninsula.

With a spectacular view of the Sea of ​​Cortés, Oliva al Mare has opened in La Paz.

Drawing a striking contrast with the Centro locations, the Oliva Group’s new concept feels more open, taking in the sky and sea. Its menu remains chiefly Italian.

The space was designed by architect Genner Loría Salazar in collaboration with the chef/owner. It is attached to an eight-room boutique hotel, Posada de Las Flores, in Baja California Sur.

Ambientes magazine marveled at the dining room’s combination of brick columns, salvaged wood and granite surfaces.

“In a small space, it was important to respect the required service areas such as the industrial-style bar, a common detail among the Oliva restaurants (made of steel, mirrored glass and an illuminated background). It was also important to adapt its design with the spaces of an elegant dining room decorated mainly for its incomparable views of the Sea of ​​Cortez,” writes Ambientes.

Interior decoration, by Stefano’s wife, Melissa Álvarez de Marcelletti, includes handmade linen curtains made in Mérida and products imported from Los Angeles, including Restoration Hardware lamps and chrome-plated decorative nautical-themed objects from Z Gallerie among other stores in Beverly Hills.

The cream fabric chairs and the granite center table in the dining room anchor the space. A palette of beige, cream and ivory softens and lightens the atmosphere, balancing with metal chairs, dark woods and rustic and contrasting touches of brick, Ambientes notes.

The menu is based on local organic products, provisions imported from Stefano’s native Italy and fresh regional seafood.

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