By Dylan Bailey
While cruising along A1A, you might notice a seemingly ordinary Italian spot called Olive Cove. You might even pass by it without giving it a second thought — but Olive Cove is a gem hiding in plain view.
Walking inside feels like stepping into an alternate world. The vibrant, sunny Florida ambiance gives way to a cozy, and modern dining area. The wafting aroma of garlic bread and Italian herbs is beyond welcoming. But what struck me most was the cleanliness. Trust me, cleanliness is not optional in my book. Olive Cove passed my white glove test without a speck of dust.
When it comes to the menu, Olive Cove keeps it simple and concise. The selection is not overwhelming, but rather, it is a carefully curated list of appetizers, salads, and entrées. This laser focus on a few dishes instead of a sprawling, confusing menu is always a green flag for me. It’s a sign that the restaurant knows what it does best and delivers it with confidence.
I started with an appetizer: the cheesy bread. A simple dish, but executed so well that it was a mouthwatering delight. The buttery garlic bread was smothered with a generous layer of mozzarella cheese and sprinkled with chopped basil. It’s a perfect appetizer for sharing — but be warned: you might not want to.
While waiting for the next dish, I decided to order an espresso. It was decent, but not something to write home about. But if you like a steady stream of espresso in your day, you’ll enjoy it.
Next on the list was the Chicken Caprino, the restaurant’s signature entrée. The dish consists of marinated chicken sautéed in white wine, with a lemon, creamy butter, and garlic sauce. It’s topped with fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh goat cheese, and served over linguine. It’s that fresh, tangy cheese that elevates the dish from good to great, making it an absolute must-try.
In my mission to try as many dishes as possible, I also ordered the tri-colored cheese tortellini. This dish came with an option of cream or tomato sauce. On the waitress’s recommendation, I went with the cream sauce. This dish was phenomenal. The tortellini was generously filled, the shrimp were juicy and plentiful, and the cream sauce was flavorful and rich. It was served with a side of wheat bread and garlic-whipped butter. The butter was so good, I would happily return just for that.
To wrap up my meal, I decided to try their tiramisu. It was good, but not groundbreaking.
All in all, Olive Cove is a delightful Italian restaurant that has been around for a while but continues to dish out very good food. It’s not in a place where you’d expect to find such good Italian cuisine, and that’s what makes it even more special
Olive Cove Italian Kitchen
Address: 463646 State Rd 200, Yulee, FL 32097