Olivia, an Italian restaurant by Chris Ponte, coming to downtown St. Pete

Olivia, an Italian restaurant by Chris Ponte, coming to downtown St. Pete

The exterior of the Ascent building

One of the Tampa Bay Area’s most celebrated chefs is finally set to make his mark on St. Pete. Chris Ponte, the chef behind several Tampa favorites, is bringing one of his most popular concepts across the bay, as Olivia will open St. Petersburg outpost in a prime downtown space. The news was first reported by St. Pete Rising.

The modern Italian restaurant will be located at 225 1st Avenue North on the ground floor of Ascent, the newly-opened tower housing 36 floors of residences, the AC Hotel, and several food and beverage concepts. The deal to bring Olivia to St. Pete was brokered by Joe Esposito of KW Commercial, and it puts an exclamation point on the newest development in downtown.

“It’s an exciting restaurant,” Esposito said. “I think the food will be amazing.”

Already beloved in South Tampa, Olivia “delivers all the authentic flavors of a traditional trattoria with the creative flair of a chef inspired menu,” as the restaurant explains it. That menu offers a long list of appetizers, salads, pizza, pasta dishes, and protein-heavy entrees. Olivia also has full vegan and gluten-free menus, as well as excellent cocktail and wine lists.

In addition to nightly dinner service, the Italian restaurant serves a hearty brunch on weekends, including breakfast pizzas, orange blossom pancakes, and a bacon-wrapped steak complete with a duck egg. There is also a “mid-lunch” menu available in between brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday.

The opening of Olivia will nearly complete the transform of the block, which has seen tremendous change in the last six months. In addition to the opening of Ascent, nearby additions such as Welcome to the Farm and soon-to-open Goodnight, John Boy have brought more nightlife options to that side of the Jannus Block. Meanwhile, Cap’s Steamer Bar & Grille has been a quick hit, dishing up street-side seafood, cocktails and coffee.

Stay tuned to I Love the Burg for more info on the opening of Olivia in St. Pete.


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