1 Fleur
Average check per person $15-$25
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchLunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerDinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Olive Branch Cafe

Algiers: 5145 Gen de Gaulle Dr. 504-393-1107. Map.
Very Casual.
AE DC DS MC V
Website

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
This locally-owned chain of three pizza-and-pasta cafes has one thing going for it: when it needs bread for anything, it bakes it. Near as I can tell, they use the same dough for everything, but fresh-baked bread is better than any other kind. This enhances all the pasta entrees, because they come with a small, sauceless cheese pizza right out of the oven. It’s everything in the pizza entrees, of course. And they even turn the bread into a few appetizers.

WHAT’S GOOD
The good hot bread and pizza was not quite enough to distract from the fact that the pasta and other entrees I’ve tried were not especially good. The pasta itself seems either of mediocre quality, cooked too long or too little–but the texture and sauce-collecting abilities of the stuff is sub-optimal. Neither the red and the white sauces are enough to keep it all together. Everything is servied in titanic portions at small prices, which shuts a lot of people up.

BACKSTORY
Rusty Autry opened the first Olive Branch on the West Bank in 1997, adding a second location on that side of the river a few years later. After Katrina, he took over the former Sun Ray Grill in the American Can apartment building.

DINING ROOM
The American Can location is very cool, with the big spaces for which old warehouses are celebrated. The West Bank restaurants are more utilitarian, especially the one in Algiers. Service at all of the Olive Branch’s branches is something less than immediately attentive, but the attitude is good once they get around to you.

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Artichoke salad
Caesar salad
Italian salad
»Greek salad
Hummus
Pasta jambalaya
Spaghetti and meatballs
Chicken parmesan or Alfredo
Beef or spinach lasagna
»Muffuletta sub
»Pizzas

FOR BEST RESULTS
One word: pizza.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The salads would be much better if they’d toss them with the dressings. And the pasta would be better if they’d toss them with the sauces. I never thought plopping chicken parmesan atop a pile of pasta was a good idea. It ought to be on the side, but the pasta-fill plates leave no openings.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment +1
  • Consistency +1
  • Service-1
  • Value +1
  • Attitude +1
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness +1
  • Local Color +1

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Good for business meetings
  • 25-75
  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open all afternoon
  • Unusually large servings
  • Quick, good meal
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking

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