Our regular MotC visitors will know that, in general, restaurant reviews are certainly not the purview of this site. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the last one I ever write. However, when an eatery comes along that has something particular to offer budget-conscious families, I think it deserves sharing.
If anyone from the Olly Fresco’s company reads this piece, they might be surprised at being called “family-friendly”. The place is not a sit-down restaurant. They don’t have fun stuff hanging from the walls or ceiling, and they don’t have a games room or ball-pit in the back.
This is what Olly Fresco’s does have.
Olly Fresco’s is a “food market”, combining prepared and packaged foods, a small pay-by-weight buffet, and some made-to-order counters. They serve a large (but not overwhelming) variety of simple familiar foods, the kind many of us would make for lunch at home. Think soups, sandwiches, pasta, meat and vegetable dishes, salads, etc. I didn’t want to take pictures inside the place, so apologies for not being illustrative, (hey Olly’s if you want to send some pics for us to use…). Think bright, hip, modern and well-laid out.
What struck me as particularly family-friendly was the following:
- Wide, bright aisles – easily navigable with strollers.
- Very reasonable pricing, from $4 soups to $6 sandwiches to $8 pastas.
- The pay-by-weight counter will particularly appeal to those with small appetites. At $1.70 / 100 grams, a big portion kilo of food costs no more than a regular restaurant dish, but when your kids (or grandpa) only peck at a few hundred grams you’ll save your money and not waste food.
- The selection of food means that all the various picky eaters in your entourage will find something appealing.
- No sitting down means you can get in, choose your meals, and then find a food-court table without the hassles of waiting on waiters and checking on cooks to finally get something in front of the “I’m soooo hungry” train.
- Finally, a surprising selection of vegetarian dishes.
Next time you’re downtown near the Cathedral Mall, I encourage you to check them out. I don’t think Olly’s will blow anyone’s socks off, but their convenience, freshness and quality is a welcome alternative in the downtown food-fair scene.