If finally booking that dream trip to the Greek islands was on your docket of New Year’s resolutions (because it was definitely on ours), we’ve got an easy way to cross that one off your list—while saving a boatload on airfare at the same time. Just make a rezzie at Bergen County’s new restaurant Elia for your one-way ticket to some really solid Greek eats.
Just opened in East Rutherford, the family owned eatery has taken over the old Park & Orchard spot and has been transformed it into an authentic Greek estiatório full of Mediterranean charm. The result is a truly stunning dining area, featuring crisp white walls, a Carrara marble bar (specialty cocktails here are a must!), handmade tables and chairs direct from Greece, and one of the most gorgeous open kitchens we’ve seen in quite some time.
We dropped by for dinner last week to say “opa!” to the owners and check out the new digs, and we couldn’t have felt more welcome. After being seated, we dove right into the extensive menu of classic Mediterranean dishes, compliments of executive chef José Luis Falcón, who owner Annamaria Adinolfi says honed his skills working in some of Manhattan’s most celebrated Greek kitchens.
She wasn’t kidding. Every dish we ordered (and we ordered a lot!) was fantastic, starting with the Eggplant & Zucchini Chips ($13), cut paper thin and served with fresh Tzatziki—Crisp. Light. Perfect. We also sampled the sushi-grade Grilled Octopus starter ($23), which arrived lightly seasoned alongside a smattering of smashed potatoes, grape tomatoes, and balsamic onions tossed in Romesco sauce.
Next, it was entrée time. Obviously, fish and seafood is in abundance here, and Elia has managed to get its hands on some of the freshest around, receiving deliveries daily from fish markets near and far. We eagerly told our attentive waiter we had to try the Fagri (market price), a.k.a Mediterranean Pink Snapper, which, like many other seasonal fish entrees here, is prepared whole on a charcoal grill and arrives expertly de-boned with your choice of lemon potatoes or horta.
We skipped on the raw bar on this outing, but it looked equally sublime, with East and West Coast oyster options ($3.50 each), classic Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail ($5 each), Calamari Ceviche ($12), and more, as well as sampler platters that serve up to four ($55 to $95). The majority of the menu is gluten-free (yes!), so it you’d be hard-pressed not to stick to your eternal resolution to eating healthier in the new year.
But that definitely doesn’t mean you should skip dessert! Not sure what to choose, we went with our waiter’s recommendation: Ekmek Kataifi ($10), which featured layer upon layer of shredded phyllo, semolina custard, whipped cream, crushed pistachios, and banana brulee and if that wasn't sinful enough, we gleefully washed down a complimentary glass of port (thanks, Annamaria), but heck we'll start the diet tomorrow.
240 Hackensack Street, East Rutherford (201) 939–9292 Hours Mon – Weds Lunch: 11am – 3pm; Dinner: 5pm - 10:30am
Thurs – Fri Lunch: 11am – 3pm; Dinner: 5pm - 12:30am
Saturday Dinner: 5pm - 12:30am
Sunday Dinner: 5pm - 10:30pm