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June 13, 2024

Oliveti is a seaside mix of steakhouse and pasta bar

Oliveti and an adjoining Spread has opened in Glenelg with a familiar crew bringing modern Italian with a twist to Broadway.

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  • Words and pictures: Claudia Dichiera

This is the fifth time we’ve sat down with Sam-Worrell Thompson in nine months. Since September last year, he and his team have opened up Spread Unley, Don’s Deli and now Oliveti and Spread in Glenelg under EMBR Hospitality, alongside Josh Dehaas. 

Sam also co-owns Bar Lune and Dolly. 


43a Broadway, Glenelg South 5045

Wednesday: 4pm ’til 10pm
Thu—Sun: 12pm ’til 11pm


As always, Sam welcomes us into the space with a heartfelt smile and demands we catch him up on what we, CityMag, have been up to since we last saw him. 

As Sam told us when he announced Oliveti’s arrival, community culture is a big part of their businesses.  

“You can’t really promote that. The only thing that can promote that is your staff and how if they’re stiff, or if they’re casual, and that’s the hardest probably, is to get them on board,” Sam told CityMag in March.

“But I think sometimes you tend to get caught up with the new look of the place and you’re a bit stiff.

“So trying to find the right personalities I think to pass that message on.”

Sam wants to “get the gang involved” in this interview and invites venue manager Alfredo Cavallo and executive chef Scott Schwarz into the chat. 



Since opening this month, Sam says the beginning of Oliveti has “been good stuff” and he’s noticed the people coming through the doors have had “a lot of prams”. 

As Spread — that shares a wall with Oliveti — only opened a few days before the restaurant, Sam has noticed a different crowd from his familiar eastern suburbs hospo locales. 

“I don’t want to say anything negative about the eastern suburbs [but] everyone just is so much more relaxed [here],” he says.

“Not that they’re not appreciative that side of town, but I think we’ve got a lot more options eastside for eating. 

“The locals are so excited to have something probably new down here.”

“Something like that is pretty hard to find down here,” Alfredo adds.

Sam learns from each opening and now has a system in place regarding the first weeks of a new venue.

“I think the more and more we do it, it’s like logistics and flow of a restaurant and how it’s easy to get around,” Sam says. 

I’ve talked about this before, how tough it is, like, how can we run a space with probably as few staff as possible because everything’s so expensive. 

“With [Oliveti], we’ve just gone a real easy open plan, one from a staffing point of view [but] two, for big groups [which] is probably something we miss at Dolly.”

The kingfish crudo


Scott tells us the food at Oliveti is a “traditional take” on Italian, but with a “modern twist”.

“Smaller piccolo bits, smaller bites and you work your way through those into our pastas which we make on-site — we’ve got five selections of those,” Scott says. 

“Then into our mains [we’re] looking at two to three different proteins, chicken, fish, and then a vegetable, and then into our beef cuts as well: scotch, porterhouse, big ribeyes. 

“Then that’ll forever change sporadically as well throughout the seasons, seasonal availability, with seafood, veg, meats, etc.”

“We wanted to try and play between almost that steakhouse and a pasta bar, you know?” Sam adds. 

The pastas range from spaghetti vongole, puttanesca, to conchiglie pasta with zucchini, peas and ricotta. The starters include oysters, kingfish crudo, olive oil braised octopus and more.


With all produce, Scott says they try to “get everything as close of as [they] can”.

“Like our fish at the moment is literally from the Gulf here,” Scott says as sustainability and fresh ingredients play a large part in the food offering. 

Oliveti is more wine-based and curated by Samuel Taylor of Edinburgh Cellars who Sam describes as “an absolute encyclopedia of knowledge”. 

“Wine list we’ve gone 50-50 Italian to Australian,” Sam says. 

“Cocktails, we have a beautiful selection. We’ve got the Limoncello spritz, the lychee daiquiri, the gin tiki and the Oliveti martini,” Alfredo adds. 

Oliveti is open on Wednesday from 4pm until 10pm, then Thursday to Sunday from 12pm until 11pm and is located at 43a Broadway, Glenelg South. 

Connect with the business on Instagram for more.

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