2003 BEST Al Fresco Restaurant, Upscale
The backyard patio of Oleana puts chef Ana Sortun’s superb North African- and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine into context. Visually, the area is stunning. A weave of red brick is the canvas for umbrella-covered tables scattered just far enough apart to balance privacy and sociability. Large, multilevel beds of colorful flowers, herbs, garlic, and a thriving fig tree create the convincing illusion of the far-away Mediterranean. Chef Sortun and her kitchen staff put the garden’s gifts to good use, often cutting fresh lemon verbena for ice cream, infusing the prolific lovage into a rich tomato spread that goes atop grilled flatbread, or adding summer savory to a pickled vegetable mix. On Tuesdays, when local Turkish musicians play their traditional lutes, tefs, and zurnas, you’d swear you were in an exotic café in Bodrum.