Photo by Emily Combias
On June 26, the former Coogie’s Beach Cafe on Malibu Colony Road, a Malibu staple for over 20 years, reopened under a new name, Ollo. Owned by the same family, Ollo’s completely refurnished interior and new upscale menu, featuring Californian cuisine with a Mediterranean-Italian twist, has proven to attract a nonstop crowd.
Ollo, a name that the owner, Nate Heydari, chose by combining the first two letters of his son’s name and last two letters of his daughter’s name, was sparked into action due to an increase in rent. According to a waiter at Ollo, Heydari desired to transform Coogie’s, mainly a breakfast and lunch eatery, into a restaurant equipped with a full bar and organic food options to lure in greater business. Two and a half months after its initial opening, Ollo has exceeded expectations; the never-ending waitlist proves that business is better than ever.
Walking into the restaurant, customers are greeted by a warm, bubbly hostess who instantly records names if there is a wait. Although patio seating is tempting, Ollo’s indoor seating is just as comfortable. Its most distinctive feature is an olive tree bursting from the center of the room. The tree sits on a raised platform, surrounded by tables and couches of different sizes to accommodate numerous parties. Fans, directional spotlights and French doors line the ceiling and walls, giving the room an airy, contemporary feel. For those desiring a quick bite or after-work drink, a large, rectangular horseshoe-shaped bar decorates the left corner of the room.
Ollo also renovated its menu to match the new, chic decor. Guests now have a wide array of local, farm-fresh and organic foods to choose from, a welcome switch from Coogie’s traditional American grub. Ollo is still finalizing its menu, but there are already local favorites, ranging from Meyer lemon-ricotta pancakes to salmon burgers and pan-seared skirt steak.
To test out the waters ourselves, a friend and I rolled down John Tyler Drive this past Saturday to check out Ollo’s brunch scene. Once seated, we were promptly approached by friendly waitstaff, eager to answer any questions and provide menu recommendations. It was a tough decision, but the Mediterranean omelet was calling my name. The omelet was filled with pork sausage, roasted red peppers, fennel pollen and mozzarella. Accompanying the entree were roasted potatoes, zucchini and tomato gratin and toast. I had no idea what fennel pollen was, but the omelet itself was delicious — a perfect ratio of meat, vegetables and cheese. The bread, however, was a disappointment. It may have been that I am partial to the perfectly crisp tater tots my favorite chef, Francisco, heaps on my plate at the Caf, but the house-made rosemary Foccacia presented with my omelet was dry and tasteless.
My friend was also impressed with Ollo’s ambiance and menu. She had the chicken breast sandwich on a brioche roll, dressed with fresh mozzarella, olive and pepperoncini tapenade, butter lettuce, tomato and garlic aioli.
“The restaurant looks modern inside and has a great atmosphere,” senior Natalie Aguirre said. “Their menu was large and had a lot of delicious options to choose from. My chicken breast sandwich was good, but my fresh juice was even better.”
She said the only thing she would have changed was that the strong flavors of the tapenade were a little overwhelming.
Overall, we would definitely give Ollo another try. The restaurant is still in its initial stages and has a couple of knots to unravel, but we are confident Heydari knows what he is doing, and business will continue to grow and make improvements. Our budget may prevent us from locating at Ollo on a weekly basis — appetizers range from 6 to 16 dollars and entrees from 15 to 25 dollars — but for a celebratory brunch or birthday dinner, Ollo may prove to be the new hot spot for Malibu fine dining.
Address: 23750 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
Phone: (310) 317-1444
Sunday – Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
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