Bodega Olé Dishes the Best of the Iberian Peninsula

The menu at Naples' resident high-end, fine-dining Spanish restaurant reads like a roll call of Iberian classics

Grilled octopus at Bodega Olé
Grilled octopus at Bodega Olé

When John Colon came to Naples for a family visit in 2015, he fell in love with the city and decided to stay. One thing he noticed was a lack of good Spanish cuisine, so he began a quest to find the right location and partner to launch an authentic restaurant.

Ultimately, he met Dr. Orlando Fernandez, owner of Barbosa Kitchen on Fourth Avenue North. The two men realized they shared the same vision. Colon bought out the retiring chef, Edgar Barbosa, and entered into a partnership with Fernandez. They expanded into the space next door, redesigned, rebranded, and opened as Bodega Olé.

“I always felt Naples needed a high-end, fine-dining Spanish restaurant,” says Colon. “I worked as a restaurant manager at the Four Seasons hotels in Los Angeles and New York, along with Ian Schrager’s boutique hotels in Manhattan, and I wanted to apply
that experience to my combined Spanish and Puerto Rican heritage.”

Rossejat negra at Bodega Olé
Rossejat negra

The menu at Bodega Olé reads like a roll call of Iberian classics. Beginning with appetizers such as grilled octopus, blood sausage, and tortilla española, it moves on to suckling pig and three varieties of paella. The Latin influence is evident in dishes like croquetas and slow-roasted Puerto Rican–style pork shoulder. The extensive wine list is heavy on selections from all over Spain. He recently opened a second restaurant, El Basque Vin & Pintxo Bar, in Bonita Springs.

For Colon, the appeal of Spain’s cuisine goes beyond the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. “It’s hearty comfort fare that is also fun, with lots of small plates for people to share and enjoy,” he says. 

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