Greeks Jubilantly Invade UWS…

I just unwrapped a tantalizing gift to the upper west side.

Welcome Elea which opened last week on 85th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

Elea’s sibling, Kyma, has already made an impression in the Flatiron district.

Elea, which means olives, is more intimate.

The restaurant was packed Friday night.

Owner Reno Christou, who opened Kyma in June, is adapting his sleeker downtown concept for the uptown locals.

The menu at Elea is less expensive, featuring more meat dishes and less seafood.

Christou worked at the upscale Milos restaurant in Midtown New York for years before going off on his own to open Kyma in Roslyn.

Elea

The 40-seat bar room at Elea is on the ground level, with a more sprawling, 130-seat dining room downstairs.

We order a lovely fruit forward bottle of Joseph Carr Pinot Noir from Paseo Robles which was reasonably priced as is the the entire wine list ($50).

Cocktails were doing a bang up business.

The experienced staff member brought over a delicious homemade bread that was not sliced, purportedly so that we would use our hands to break break with friends and family.

The accompanying Greek olives bathed in the rich Elea’s own olive oil were wonderful.

Our Serbian waiter was charming, fresh off first class service on Emirates Airline (did you know that 1st class provides a shower and spa?!).

Horaitiki (Greek Salad)

When in Greece one must order the Horaitiki or Greek salad which was cold and delectable. The tomatoes and onions were sweet, cucumbers crisp and feta tantalizing, all ingredients again highlighted by the authentic aged olive oil ($15).

We used the bread to sop up the oil and feta.

Grilled Octopus

The next course was a perfectly charred and exceedingly tender Octopus on a bed of cinnamon and chile accented pearl onions and potatoes ($19).

Hounoupidi Tigantes (Cauliflower Fritters)

We took a breath and awaited the Hounoupidi Tiganites, crispy, hot roasted cauliflower fritters with currants, pine nuts and honey on a thin layer of amazing Greek yogurt ($15).

Grilled Shrimp

The simply grilled jumbo Shrimp with lemon and olive oil were sweet and meaty adorned with sautéed fennel ($18).

Greek Yogurt, Honey and Walnuts

We finished the delightful meal with genuine Greek Yogurt with Greek honey and walnuts.

Additionally, the menu features multiple salads, fish and  dips with pita bread, Gigantes which are braised giant beans with tomatoes, herbs and feta, fried calamari and Elea chips with lightly fried zucchini & eggplant served with tzatziki and fried Kefalograviera cheese.

For a 5 day-old restaurant the service and food were impeccable.

The managers and powers that be checked in to make sure all the diners were happy.

I would definitely make a repeat visit and would highly recommend Elea as a destination and not just a satisfying neighborhood destination.

Elea

Elea 217 West 85th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, New York City. Open Sunday through Tuesday 4:30 p.m.-10 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday 4:30-11pm.

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