On any given weekend morning, groups of people cluster around the entrance of Café de Olla on Victory Boulevard, waiting for a table. Breakfast time is very popular, and with good reason. The restaurant has a huge breakfast menu and uses a lot of fresh ingredients, for colorful, creative plates.
The interior is super cute and trendy and very small, seating maybe 40 at time. However, turnover is pretty quick and usually people only have to wait about 30 minutes to get a table.
The namesake coffee is lightly brewed and flavored with cinnamon and brown sugar. It is very sweet and worth a try if you like warm, sugary drinks with little caffeine.
However, the restaurant’s food in general can be a bit uneven. There are both good and not-so-good elements in just about every plate we tried.
For example, the Huevos Divorciados, two perfectly-made over medium eggs – one with red salsa, one with green – divided by beans and rice. The salsas were out-of-this-world fantastic – each uniquely flavorful with the specific fire of a roasted red or green chile and nicely complex.
But the beans – and I requested frijoles de la olla – were nothing special and surprisingly bland. Frijoles de la olla should have flavors of onion, cilantro, garlic and maybe even bacon, not simply be boiled pintos from the pot. The rice was very buttery, which seemed a little rich for the plate.
Other breakfast dishes were mostly good. The veggie omelet was tasty, if slightly overcooked. The pancakes were a bit chewy, yet the scrambled eggs were perfect. And the breakfast burrito? Just okay but nothing special.
We tried chicken sopes, beef sopes and carne asada burrito for our second attempt at the restaurant.
The cardinal sin of sopes is serving tough sope tortillas. To add insult to injury, both the shredded beef (no asada options here) and chicken were extremely vinegary. The toppings were creative, with lettuce, pickled red onion, sour cream and cucumber, and could have provided a fresh twist. However, bitter cucumbers, combined with a clear, warm “salsa” and the vinegary meat on a hard sope shell, made this plate a negative experience.
The asada burrito was pretty good. A firey red salsa served on the side perked up the burrito. The asada meat was good quality, not fatty. But the refried beans inside made it mushy and overly large. Wrapped loosely in the tortilla, it was a little unwieldy.
So where does this leave our perception of Café de Olla? Very mixed.
Café de Olla does a lot well. But in the final execution of the menu items we tried, the end result often didn’t bring it all together for a perfect bite.
The breakfast menu deservedly generates the most buzz at the restaurant, with something for everyone on the wide menu of egg dishes, pancakes, french toast and Mexican standards. Their dinner menu has a lot more from which to choose than just burritos and sopes, so we’ll have to give their mole, enchiladas and tacos a try next time.
Restaurant Info: Café de Olla is located at 2315 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank, CA, 91506. 818-588-3684. Café de Olla is open Sunday through Tuesday 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. and Wednesday through Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Café de Olla receives: Could Use A Rewrite
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)