My spouse and I dined at Olon for brunch on a Saturday afternoon in mid-July 2018. The restaurant is open for dinner on Wednesdays through Sundays (closed Mondays and Tuesday) and for lunch/brunch on weekends. (Bar Olon has more extensive hours; check the website for details.) You can make a reservation using the online Open Table system.
Olon is located in the Tropicana Casino and Resort’s South Tower on the casino level. (Note that even though thematically it would be the perfect fit, Olon is not located in the casino’s Old Havana-themed entertainment venue called The Quarter, where many of the Tropicana’s other restaurants are found.) Chef Jose Garces owns both Olon restaurant and the adjacent Bar Olon, through which guests pass to reach the restaurant. Chef Garces also operates neighboring Japanese restaurant Okatshe, as well as two restaurants (Amada and Distrito) at Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort (formerly called the Revel). The Garces Group of restaurants also operate several Philadelphia properties including Amada, Buena Onda, Distrito, JG Domestic, The Olde Bar, Tinto, Village Whiskey, and Volver, as well as Ortzi in NYC.
Olon opened in early 2017 in the space formerly occupied by restaurant Fin. The 130-seat restaurant features a ceviche bar at its entrance, with a long communal table adjacent. The main dining area contains free-standing tables, semi-table/curved and L-shaped booths, and booth nooks located two tile-clad steps up from the main floor in order to provide maximum views and defined by flowy white curtains that remind one of beach/pool cabanas. An overflow rear dining room can be reserved for private events/dining. Seasonal al fresco seating on a deck that overlooks the beach is also available.
Bar Olon is a double-sided bar and lounge that offers beer, wine, and cocktails, a raw bar, and a casual, light fare menu. The lounge area and bar accommodate about 50 guests; it also offers a small stage for live entertainment on weekend nights. On weekends, it offers a create-your-own Bloody Mary bar at brunch time. The hanging ceiling lights in the bar look like upside-down bongo drums, and the back wall made of large box fans, creating an island-y feel.
The coastal cuisine at Olon is inspired by the beach towns of Ecuador that the chef’s family visited when he was growing up, so seafood features prominently. A $29 multi-course prix-fixe brunch menu is offered on weekends in which guests choose items from various categories including an all-you-can eat raw bar, starter, entrée, and coffee/tea. (Although we did not choose the prix-fixe option, we thought it was a little tacky when the restaurant applied wristbands to indicate guests who had or had not chosen it, probably in an effort to prevent unauthorized diners from helping themselves to the small raw bar.) As an appetizer, we shared the mixed fish fry (breaded calamari, mahi mahi, shrimp, and scallops) with a yuzu mayonnaise dipping sauce. As our entrees, we ordered two kinds of anticuchos (marinated skewers): pork belly (with yuzu glaze, sweet potato, ginger, and garlic) and skirt steak (with chimichurri sauce, pearl onions, and radishes). We shared the delicious and beautifully presented coconut parfait with mango pearls topped with pistachio sponge cake.
We enjoyed our brunch at Olon – it would have been even better had it not been raining and we could have better enjoyed the view.
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