When one of our foodie friends and her chef fiancé recommended Olympic Provisions, we quickly bumped it up to the top spot on our “go to” list. We’d obviously read about the restaurant in Food and Wine magazine and more recently in Oprah’s O Magazine, but had yet to try it ourselves.
Olympic Provisions has two locations – SE and NE Portland – that operate as “European-style” restaurants, neighborhood delis, and onsite meat-curing facilities. Although neither Sam nor I consider ourselves lovers of charcuterie, we ventured out to the NW location for brunch a few Saturdays ago. And I think it’s safe to say that we fell in love within 3 minutes.
Without further ado, here’s our list of the 10 reasons to love Olympic Provisions:
1. The branding. Sam and I each have backgrounds in marketing, and we just couldn’t get enough of the restaurant’s logo, packaging and signage. It was part hipster, part sophisticate. It was everywhere, and it was super cute.
2. The ambiance. You’ll want to sit in this sweet little cafe all day. All the little details feel intentional and thoughtful. And it works.
3. The crowd (or, lack thereof). I can’t remember the last time we didn’t have to wait in line for brunch on a Saturday morning. We were thankful to be seated immediately. [Note: from what I’ve heard, the SE location is typically more bustling for brunch.]
4. The service. Our server was really helpful and obviously knowledgeable about the menu and charcuterie. Sam and I both ordered vegetarian breakfast dishes, but after inquiring, she suggested side dishes that complimented our meal.
5. The meat! Olympic Provisions is known for its extensive charcuterie counter, and it didn’t disappoint. From chorizo to bacon to Italian salami, the selection is enough to tempt even the most hardcore vegetarian.
6. The bar. Although Sam and I stuck to coffee (our general rule before 10am), the restaurant had a interesting selection of cocktails. We’re looking forward to going back for happy hour soon.
7. The wall ‘o wine. No explanation needed.
8. The gift baskets. Between our families and friends, it feels like we are always shopping for birthday/Christmas/shower gifts, and I was really excited to learn that Olympic Provision sells gift baskets. Given what we know, I’m sure they are tasty and beautiful. So, family – if you’re reading this, I apologize in advance for the spoiler alert.
9. The open kitchen. I simply love restaurants with open kitchens. I like being able to see that the kitchen is clean. I like the intimacy of watching the chefs. And I like feeling a part of the hustle and bustle.
10. Last but not least, I can’t forget about the whole reason we went: brunch. Sam ordered the egg frittata with leeks, potatoes and chevre. I ordered the brioche french toast (which is soaked in orange blossom water for a very unusual and delightful taste). Both dishes were delicious, hearty, flavorful, and unique.