The Kitchens, Robina Town Centre Ph: 0478 808 802
Olivia Italian is a little piece of Italy in the heart of Robina.
Owner Sara Artoni’s father, Cesare, always had a dream of coming to Australia. Instead, it would become his daughter’s dream to fulfil after Cesare passed away when Sara was 17 years old. Soon after, Sara left her home in Bologna and made her way to Australia, where she met her husband Gianluca.
The couple’s vision for Olivia Italian Eatery began in March 2020 as a deli stall on the ground floor of Robina Town Centre. Filled with delicious Italian food, the Olivia deli shop is a favourite ‘go to’ takeaway spot that also introduces people to the food served in the upstairs restaurant.
But it’s upstairs that the real magic happens, where the feeling that you are in a welcoming Italian trattoria in a village somewhere in the Italian countryside is best felt. Opening in October 2020, Olivia Italian has weathered the rough times and come through the other side.
Sara is a welcoming host. It’s Gianluca’s version of family recipes that she is showing off – simple well-made food all made from scratch. Fresh pasta is made using a machine they imported from Italy, the pizza and pasta options including gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan.
From antipasto platters (which are great for large groups) to arancini and salads, spaghetti marinara to lasagne, and Nutella pizza to pizza fritti (deep fried pizza dough served with sweet dips), there’s something for everyone, including lunch specials of pizza, pasta or salad for $15 and party packages for $35 per person.
“I’m so proud of the food we make, so much so that if I’m busy I order takeaway from our own restaurant,” Sara says laughing. “Our kids love it.”
Fully licensed, the restaurant brews its own beer, imports prosecco from Italy and is well known for its delicious signature cocktails and affogato, the true conclusion to any Italian meal.
As fabulous as the food is, though, to Sara it is people who are the beating heart of her restaurant.
“I’m also proud to have created a working environment that is safe and protected for our staff,” she says.
Sara is proud of the dream she and Gianluca are making together, tears welling in her eyes as she speaks of her dad and what he taught her.
“He would have been very proud,” she says. “He owned a large trucking business but, despite that, he was a very humble man.
“‘We have to start first with the lines on the ground,’ he would say, referring to the chalk line destinations marked out for each of his trucks. ‘Use your heart. Sit down with people and look them in the eye. Admit it when you are wrong’.”
“These are the lessons I am teaching my kids,” Sara tells me. “That is why he would be proud.”
NOTE: Blank was a guest of Olivia Italian Eatery. Follow @foodgoldcoast for more.