Here in the Cheap Eats department we are pragmatic. We rejoice at a place like Prima Oliva in Hamburg, as it serves many purposes.
Want to eat healthy? Check. Need to stock up on olive oils and balsamic vinegar? Check.
Originally, Prima Oliva sold only gourmet olive oils and balsamic vinegar in its village shop. In February, it moved to expand and add a café. (It took over Juicy Burger Bar's location, which moved around the corner to a bigger space.)
With open wood shelving and white subway tile, the entire space is bright and cheerful, as are the workers.
The kitchen is run by chef Darian Bryan, who hails from Jamaica and worked in Hutch’s Restaurant for almost four years. After completing ECC’s culinary program, he added SUNY Buffalo State’s hospitality program. In short, there is good experience in the kitchen.
We don’t think too many folks know about Prima’s cafe, so we are here to sound the bell. It’s really, really delicious.
The fast-casual setup has a counter for ordering. Signature salad and grain bowls ($9.50 to $10.75) feature all the ingredients we love paired with a suggested vinaigrette.
A grape, avocado and arugula salad ($10) with a sweet basil vinaigrette; a berry and citrus salad of spinach, mandarin oranges, blueberries, cranberries, sunflower seeds, blue cheese with raspberry vinaigrette ($10); and a quinoa bowl with sautéed shrimp ($12), cucumbers, beets, hummus, tomatoes, feta and parsley and lemon tahini dressing are just three examples.
Or, build your own salad or grain bowls ($9), with a base of choice of two from the greens/grains section and up to six toppings from a huge list with everything from beets and peanuts to shaved fennel and toasted coconut. Prima allows guests to mix and match grains and greens so you could get baby kale and a wild rice blend.
Premium toppings like chicken ($2.50) and roasted sweet potatoes ($1) can be added to any salad or grain bowl. There are plenty of delicious vinaigrettes including lemon poppyseed, Tuscan herb and sesame peanut.
On the menu's flip side are intriguing items like acai bowls ($8). Acai berry with banana and strawberries or a “green machine” blend of spinach, pineapple, banana, come with up to four toppings of things like cocoa shavings, gluten-free granola and peanut butter.
A whole roasted rotisserie chicken to share ($10) is eight pieces. An all-day breakfast includes items like a hard-boiled egg ($1), veggie omelet ($8) and chicken sausage quinoa crusted quiche ($6). Items are added for Saturday and Sunday brunch, like banana oat pancakes ($7) and a breakfast trio of eggs, bacon and home fries ($9).
We tried one menu item and a daily special: the BLT cobb ($9.50, plus $2.50 added chicken) with spinach, arugula, grape tomatoes, locally made black pepper bacon, corn, avocado, hard-boiled egg and blue cheese with a fresh tomato vinaigrette, and a summer peach salad with mixed greens, peaches, strawberries, walnuts, bacon, goat cheese and fresh peach vinaigrette ($11), with added grilled salmon ($4).
Large white bowls were delivered filled with fresh ingredients. We loved how items are served in groups rather than mixed throughout. It not only looks chic, but helps with sharing (I snitched some cobb avocado).
The chicken in the cobb was a nice pile of shredded meat, easy to eat. Salmon was outstanding, cooked medium rare as requested. Local peaches were perfectly ripe. Dressings are served on the side for those who are judicious, but they are so good, you’ll want to drink them.
With Prima's motto of “Eat well, be well,” you would be hard pressed (not to be confused with cold pressed as in Prima's juices) to find something unhealthy. Even the cold-brewed unsweetened tea was scrumptious without added sugar.
Prima Oliva serves quality. You might not get the cheap $7 sub, but for a few dollars more, you get an absolutely delicious and healthy meal in a setting that makes you feel like you spent a million bucks.
One Buffalo St., Hamburg (649-2454)
Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Parking: Village parking lot and street.
Dietary: No special gluten-free menu, however there are naturally gluten-free items and some labeled gluten-free items.
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