The unassuming Two Olives surpasses expectations


Expectations can sneak up on you and smack you on the back of the head like an experienced mugger or they can, like a seductive lover, kiss you on the lips and leave your heart aflutter. Expectations are, in short, not to be trifled with and are very hard to manage.

With this in mind, I always try to be responsible when writing an article about a restaurant because, dear reader, if I set your expectations too high, I can ruin your meal, and if I set them too low, you will not place the said restaurant on your dining-out shortlist.

So let me describe the Two Olives, one of my all-time favourite restaurants, as follows; the chairs are uncomfortable, the décor minimal and you have to climb a flight of stairs to reach your objective. 

The waiters, in their ignorance, are intent on setting your expectations so high that the next time you visit, well, the mugger is bound to strike. This restaurant when full, which is often, is also very loud.  You get the picture?

Not yet? Well the menu is unusual, the balcony is squashed and you can never get a seat, as uncomfortable as they are, on a weekend night (unless you make a booking).

The penny has dropped? Good, because this unique and popular restaurant has come second in 2014 and 2015 on the Home, Food and Travel/Business Link Top 10 Restaurants in the Eastern Cape list.

But please, don’t let this affect your expectations – rather think about the dark stairwell, the fact that, unlike the Spur, they don’t serve ridiculously cheap breakfasts and that the waiters, unbelievably, don’t wear tank tops and hot pants!

Two Olives offer some of the best tapas you will ever eat. Their attention to detail, delicious mix of tastes and great presentation is what makes this restaurant special. On the down side, their staff won’t sing happy birthday to you and you won’t get a free toy when your kids order a meal.  How thoughtless and inconsiderate…

Owner and chef, Jonathan Gunston, may be creative, talented and a brilliant host but he doesn’t seem to care about your comfort. I complain to him about the shortage of promotional gimmicks whenever I visit and you would think, that after complaining every single week and sometimes twice a week, that he would listen.

Hell, I think I need to go and complain again tonight!  See you there.

Opening Times: Tues to Sat: 11:30-22:30; Sun: 11:30-15:30; Monday: 17:30-22:30. Visit them at 1 Stanley Street in Richmond Hill, Port Elizabeth or call: 041 585 0371.