When it comes to the olive-oil brands commonly found in major national supermarkets, Goya Extra Virgin Olive Oil (*Est. $9 for 17 oz.) wins top honors in taste tests conducted by several reputable review sites. In addition, three chefs conducting a taste test for the Washington Post choose it as their best value extra-virgin olive oil, while foodie site SeriousEats.com names it the "best bitter, but not crazy bitter, oil." Goya olive oil, which is made from Spanish-grown olives, is inexpensive compared to other top brands and wins praise as a readily-available, supermarket-shelf staple.
We found good reviews for two other supermarket olive oils, but they aren't as widely available as Goya Extra Virgin. If you live near a Whole Foods store, Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Extra Virgin Olive Oil (*Est. $8 for 33.8 oz.) garners an overwhelming number of positive postings on various respected foodie websites, including Chowhound.com and RoadEats.com. While the downside is unavailability -- it can't be ordered online, so you can only get it by going to a Whole Foods store -- the enthusiasm of its user reviews makes it stand out among budget extra-virgin olive oils.
Another budget favorite, Trader Joe's Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil (*Est. $6 for 33.8 oz.), is a hands-down winner in Bon Appetit's "Supermarket Standoff" taste test, with tasters praising it for its "mild and spicy" flavor, adding that you can actually taste the olives. Trader Joe's Spanish olive oil also inspires a number of positive posts on message-board sites such as Chowhound.com, with users praising its robust olive flavor as well as its low price. However, the olive oil is even less widely available than the Whole Foods version since there are fewer Trader Joe's stores. Consumers who want to sample these two highly rated olive oils should start petitioning friends within driving distance of these retailers, because both brands are unavailable online as well.
As with any food product, taste is subjective, and some olive-oil brands get polarized ratings in reviews. A case in point is Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil (*Est. $8.50 for 17 oz.), which ranks No. 2 on one major review site and was a top pick in our last report, but is completely dismissed by another review site for not having a clean olive-oil taste. In addition, SeriousEats.com deems it so-so, and the New York Times judges it merely acceptable. We chose not to include this olive-oil brand in our Best Reviewed section this time around.