We have been to Virgin Olive Market twice, and both times it was packed with local office workers- so it is either a really great place, or just convenient. Located just north of the hustle and bustle of Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando, Virgin Olive Market is a quaint and cute little cafe- very urban and chic. And creative.
It is a very small place and we went at the start of the lunch hour for downtown Orlando office workers and it was packed. We ordered the food and just took it home instead of trying to fight for one of the only eight crowded tables they have here inside the air conditioning. There are a larger number of tables outside and you can people watch on Orange Avenue- but this is Orlando and there isn’t much people watching to do unless you are in a theme park.
The menu is filled with healthy sandwiches and salads- and most of the items are fun and creative- very different from your average veggie sandwich or a plain boring tuna sammy. We did order the tuna- the Albatross ($6.50). This was tuna salad with raisins, apples, pears, walnuts, honey, mayo and dijon mustard served on multi grain bread with sprouts. It wasn’t terrible but it was more bread and sprouts than the tuna mix- and frankly, to have that much stuffed into the tuna mixture, I wonder if I even got a single piece of apple or pear in it. If I did, I didn’t notice it. Really, the filling was sparse.
We also ordered the Flower Child sandwich ($5.95) was a combination of Swiss cheese, tomato, onion, cucumber slices, sprouts, pumpkin seeds and sprouts also on multi grain bread. It was also dressed with an “apricot” cream cheese which was basically just cream cheese with some apricot jam mixed in. Don’t get me wrong- this was a great sandwich. I liked the sweetness of the apricot with the saltiness of the pumpkin seeds. This was far better than the tuna.
The sandwiches do not come with sides so we also ordered the Caprese Salad ($6.50) to split as a side. It was a good salad with organic greens, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, capers, black olives and torn basil leaves with a side of balsamic vinaigrette. I loved the capers as a nice addition.
All in all, it was a nice place to grab a bite. There is a reason it was busy. However, as close as we live to downtown, parking was still a bit of a hassle. (There is a parking garage just around the corner but it is an odd location to fight the hassle of traffic downtown for anything.) Unless we worked in the immediate area we would probably not make a special trip here. My only other major complaint is that even though the line was out the door (and that is only with about four people in line because it really is that small), we still had to maneuver the line to get to a menu to read while in line. There is no menu posted on the wall to read as you stand in line (only a small one posted on the outside window.) I had also ordered an iced tea with our order which I had to still wait for after we got the food- and gosh, it would have been nice to sip on my iced tea while we waited for the food. The lady who took our order behind the counter was more interested in taking the money and then immediately taking the order of the next person in line- like cattle. It would have been nice to have someone that was just concentrating on pouring beverages as people waited.
Like I said, if I lived within walking distance this place would be great. It just isn’t the kind of place you “experience” if that makes sense. It was more of an order-in-order-out type place. Great place to grab a quick bite on your lunch hour but that’s about it. Not a place to linger and enjoy an iced tea and good conversation with your dining mate as you wait for your food. They do serve a larger dinner menu with appetizers but I just can’t see myself sitting there to enjoy a nice leisurely dinner. Just a quick lunch. However, if you are looking for a quick bite in downtown than you will love this place! If we have to fight parking, we just want a spot that we can relax and hang out at.
3 1/2 out of 5 sprouts. We have other places we would go to find great sandwiches and salads in Orlando without fighting the traffic and convenient parking.