Dining with Natalie: De Olijfboom

As a native of culinary melting pot Malaysia and the daughter of a restaurateur, UG student Natalie Voo knows her food. Every other week, she reviews Groningen’s student-friendly dining scene. This time: De Olijfboom.

Never did I contemplate the wonders of Greek cuisine until I ventured into the south of Greece one summer. Every quaint corner eatery we stumbled upon offered fresh, divine dishes at prices so low, I felt like I was getting away with a culinary heist. It was then that I had my epiphany: Greek food is criminally underrated.

This week our food quest led us to De Olijfboom, a casual Greek eatery that was bustling with patrons even on a mundane weekday. The interior, while cosy, lacked that extra touch of Greek charm that could’ve truly transported you and would have taken the dining experience to new heights.

We kicked things off with dolmades – rice snugly wrapped in vine leaves. They were sticky, well-seasoned and oily, which nicely complemented the tzatziki it came with. In true Greek fashion, this dish embodies the essence of simple yet delicious.

Now onto the mains: moussaka and Greek meatballs with a side of orzo. The moussaka, a fan favourite, earned my nod of approval – though let’s face it, I’ve yet to meet a moussaka I didn’t like. Either moussaka is inherently infallible, or I’m just blessed with an uncanny streak of luck.

As for the meatballs, they were bursting with flavour and so tender I half expected them to dissolve into a meaty puddle – fortunately they held their shape. But alas, the tomato sauce and orzo that came with them proved to be as thrilling as watching paint dry – a dash of salt and seasonings could have worked wonders, you know! Or perhaps they simply ran out of seasoning, unintentionally using it all up on the meatballs.

To cap it off, we indulged in Greek mountain tea. It was comforting, fragrant and the perfect denouement to our meal.

De Olijfboom offers affordable, authentic and delicious Greek food, what more could one possibly desire? Yet my friend and I agreed that elusive je ne sais quoi was conspicuously absent. Was it the timid seasoning in the sauce and orzo, the lack of Greek-style interior or perhaps my taste buds pining for that initial culinary adventure in the motherland itself?

Nevertheless, I implore you to venture forth and sample De Olijfboom’s offerings, dear gastronomic adventurer. Who knows, you might just uncover the missing ingredient!

De Olijfboom, Steentilstraat 28

De Olijfboom is a casual restaurant that offers a wide range of authentic Greek food at affordable prices (main courses ranging from €9.50-17.50). For two people we paid €45.25. Reservations are recommended.


Food: 7.7/10
Presentation: 6.5/10
Service: 8/10
Ambience: 7/10


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