Ole! Tapas Bar & Spanish Restaurant - Why the Valley Has Me Saying Yeah for Ole!

Entrance to Ol! Tapas Bar & Spanish Restaurant

Finding a quick, healthy meal in the Valley after 9pm on a weeknight can seem almost impossible. As someone who works in film production, there have been far too many nights, while driving home, that I desperately try to decide amongst the bleak options of diners and fast food joints. Even worse, being single and working 60+ hours a week, there's hardly any time to go to the grocery story to grab a few essentials, much less plan meals. If by some miracle I somehow manage to do that, who has the energy to prepare anything after a long day of work? Forget it. All I want to do is pick something up and get home, but that often leaves me asking: do I grab yet another burger or choose, instead, not to eat at all?

Thankfully, there's Ole! Tapas Bar & Spanish Restaurant. Centrally located on Ventura Blvd. between Coldwater Canyon and Woodman Ave., this restaurant/bar is the perfect solution to anyone in a similar predicament. Open to midnight daily and for a little extra money, a healthy meal can be found. Also, the combination of atmosphere, variety of menu options, and layout of the place together make Ole! very friendly for take out (as well as for dining in).

Patrons enjoying their meal

Upon entering through the double wooden doors, I am immediately taken in by the distinctively Ole! atmosphere. Classy in a laid-back Valley kind of way, the place is dark in rich browns, burnt oranges and red hues. It makes me wonder what sitting in the shade on a hot afternoon day in Spain must be like. I keep waiting to feel heat coming off the walls, but instead I sense only the protective comfort of shade. With walls adorned with paintings of bulls and bullfighters, this world is only reiterated, and in the process, creates a European vibe. While at most restaurants, I might not appreciate being so close to other patrons, at Ole!, I find myself actually wanting to mingle with the neighboring tables.

The environment is complimented by a relaxed and friendly staff, always ready to engage in conversation. They are always accommodating, but never pushy. When dining in, I feel comfortable to take my time and even encouraged to take breaks if necessary. When I'm picking up, it's not unusual that the Executive Chef, Richard Crespin, will step out to personally hand me my order. All of these elements make Ole! very inviting.

The full-service bar is conveniently located by entrance for easy pick up

Even the layout of the place makes take out very easy. All too often, I have to either make a long entrance towards the kitchen in the back or wait on a busy hostess to get my order. Not here. Since all the seating, indoor and patio, are off to one side, and the bar, where my food is waiting, is close to the door, I can simply pop in, breeze past the hostess, grab my food and go. It's such a rare and refreshing treat.

Of course, though, what makes this place really shine is the food. Although tapas (small plates) are meant to be shared amongst a group, I can't help but appreciate the fact that they are perfectly sized for the individual. With a wide variety to choose from, from the Ensalada Ole! (salad with grilled chicken, avocado, goat cheese, and roasted pepper) to Filet a la Plancha (grilled rosemary flatiron steak with a dab of anchovy butter on the side), there's sure to be something for everyone. I highly recommend the Patatas Bravas (roasted potatoes mixed with slices of Serrano ham, onion, tomato sauce, and aioli).

The plates cost around $7-10 each, and one-two plates should satisfy any appetite. Entrees are also available and range between $17-23. As well, Ole!'s tapas combination platters make wonderfully unique hors d'oeuvres. Each platter (one hot, one cold) will set you back around $11-14.

Lamb chop with garlic truffle mashed potatoes and red onions

If you choose to dine in, enjoy from a fine selection of wines, mostly Spanish and Californian, as well as Ole! sangrias and a full bar. Also available is Happy Hour on weeknights and a Flamenco / Cabaret show every Tuesday at 8:30pm. More recently, in the hopes to draw in more of a lunch crowd, Ole! has started offering a 'Tapas First' lunch special, where you can choose two tapas and a side for just $9.95.

Overall, Ole! is another great restaurant to choose from within the Valley. It's perfect for going on date, meeting up with friends, or sometimes, simply taking it to go.

Ole! Tapas Bar & Spanish Restaurant
13251 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
Between Coldwater Canyon and Woodman Ave (at the corner of Longridge)
Tel: (818) 986-3190
Fax: (818) 986-3353

Monday Friday 11:30am Midnight (Happy Hour 2-7pm)
Saturday Sunday 6pm - Midnight

To make reservations and explore the menu, go to: http://www.oletapasbar.com/

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