October 25, 2023

Buon Autunno from The Wild Olive, John's Island

An Italian food lovers paradise.

Autumn days offer the most wonderful temperatures for enjoying the outdoors. I joined a friend and drove to the Citadel last week to tour the campus and witness the afternoon parade. It was nothing short of awe inspiring and one of the most patriotic ceremonies I had ever witnessed. You don't need a ticket and anyone is free to attend!

The Wild Olive says Buon Autunno!

The surprise of the day took place at the Wild Olive, 2867 Maybank Hwy. - a rustic-chic restaurant with a simple menu of artisanal Italian dishes and a sizable wine list.

Located in the heart of Charleston's farming community, they source as much product locally as possible. House made pasta is the heart and soul of the menu, while the bounty of the waterways is the anchor. I really loved the arancini balls stuffed with sausage, spinach, parmesan and mozzarella. So delicious!

It's worth the drive no matter where you live! Amazing, delightful wait staff and front of the house.

What makes this place special?

After passing the River Road intersection of Maybank Highway, the traffic onto John's Island seems to open up just a bit, but if you hit the acccelerator too hard, you'll zip right by it. Hit the brakes and park behind the building sheltered by live oaks. Enter and the lighting is soft, with twinkling strings of lights draped across the ceiling and a long bar full of patrons. Oh, and I should mention that delightful garlicky smell that permeates the air. You will be smelling all things garlicky and good - sort of like a big pasta hug.

Bottles of wine are plentiful and reasonably priced. Carafes of house red and white wine offer a solid value proposition. Classic main dishes include an incredible lasagna and a classic veal scallopini with marsala. If you should spot mushroom- parmesan bisque on the menu, by all means order it - you will thank me later.

Appetizers

We also ordered the bruschetta which came topped with rapini, purple cape beans, garlic and pecorino sardo. And I must tell you the warmed olives are unusually good.

We tried the local beet and radish insalata with spinach, red frill and spicy mustard greens, radish greens, white beets, roasted heirloom radish, grilled prosciutto, with ricotta garlic dressing. All ingredients came from right there on Johns Island courtesy of Ambrose Farm.

Also from Ambrose Farm is this house-made duck prosciutto with frill mustard greens, balsamic macerated cherries, parmesan and lemon mustard vinaigrette. A true taste of heaven!

Enjoy this with a Wild Olive's Strawberry Basil Mojito. This delicious cocktail is made with Ambrose Family Farm strawberry vodka.

My entree was the "Feast of the Seven Fishes" with lobster, scallops, shrimp, mussels, calamari, anchovy crostini and citrus salad.

Desserts

Keep scrolling to view photos of desserts.........

The dessert special which will be featured for Halloween is a Reese's Pieces Peanut Butter Pie. There's an Oreo crust and Reese's Pieces peanut butter pie filling topped with whipped cream, chocolate peanut butter sauce, and a Reese's Pieces/Oreo crumble.

With so many sumptuous desserts to choose from, it will be hard to decide. I spotted the Chocolate pistachio cake special on the table next to us. It's chocolate cake, pistachio buttercream, chocolate pistachio caramel and a pistachio/chocolate chip crumble.

Every dish is a feast for the eyes and a delight to bite into. You cannot go wrong with whatever you decide to order at The Wild Olive. You can be sure it will be memorable and something you will not soon forget. Conde Nast calls it "exquisite."