Wilmette Fast Becoming a Destination for Dining

Fear not. The closing of the coffee shop at the corner of Central and 12th streets in downtown Wilmette was not a sign of blight. Instead, it led to the birth of a vibrant new dining opportunity: Olive Oil Restaurant.

Olive Oil is small and sophisticated, yet welcoming, and features Mediterranean dishes prepared with the freshest ingredients.

“Everything on the menu except the tuna fish is prepared fresh by us,” black-and-white clad waiters declare with pride as they list the daily specials.

Each meal starts off with a selection of small salads and pita chips.

The menus start with an explanation of the ancient historical, spiritual and Olympic significance of olive trees, and feature a robust selection of Greek, Middle Eastern and Italian selections.

Mibs has lunched there several times this week alone and enjoyed every course we’ve sampled to date. Olive Oil starts you off with a small dish of pita chips and a sampling of small salads like baba ghanouj, the freshest tahini sauce and sesame slaw. This sets a tasty stage for the courses to follow.

We’ve now tried—and enthusiastically recommend—French onion soup ($7), eggplant and egg sandwich on pita ($7), the chicken shwarma roll ($7.50), beef kabobs ($10), and the tuna and vegetable salad with olive oil and lemon dressing ($9) during lunch. We look forward to dining alfresco one evening to explore their dinner menu and sip wine from the goblets hanging above the sleek bar.

While we have zero complaints about the divine courses that showed up at our tables, we do need to point out that quarters are a bit cramped and service is slow. Waiters had to squeeze by diners waiting for tables, and they weren’t always polite with their excuse mes. Not to mention the fact that on one instance, Mibs managed to snag a table but had to wait more than 10 minutes to get a menu.

We’re ready to chalk this up to Olive Oil being the new kid on the block and hope they’ll find a better flow. Regardless, this won’t stop us from going back for more. Often. The food’s too good.

This new restaurant should seal downtown Wilmette’s reputation as a high-quality, relatively inexpensive dining destination with a welcoming neighborhood feel.