Can’t make it to Greece this summer? There are plenty of options in town to experience authentic Mediterranean cuisine. The newly opened Elia (4226 S. Durango Dr., elialv.com) is a standout, offering bright flavors that’ll make you feel like you’re dining on a seaside spot overlooking the Aegean Sea rather than the southwest desert.
The restaurant is small and unassuming, and the olive tree (“Elia” is olive in Greek) outside is a nice touch. One side of the menu is dominated by appetizers that all look tempting—but one you shouldn’t miss is the kolokythakia, th
in slices of pan-fried zucchini served with a cool and tangy tzatziki. The spanakopita, perhaps the most recognizable dish in Greek cuisine, is a hearty portion here—tender layers of phyllo dough ensconce baby spinach, fresh onions, dill and feta cheese, each bite giving way to a satisfying crunch.
Seafood preparation is second nature in Greek cuisine, and the grilled octopus at Elia delivers. Tender cubes of the mollusk are prepared simply with extra virgin olive oil, red onion and red wine vinegar. You can practically taste the ocean with each bite. And there’s no better complement to this briny flavor than a refreshing salad. The horiatiki—composed of tomato, cucumber, kalamata olives, green peppers, wild oregano and hunks of creamy feta cheese—is a meal by itself. The tomatoes are juicy, almost like eating a watermelon, with the feta giving the dish a tangy kick.
Elia’s entrées are a good mix of land and sea, with dishes such as Mediterranean sea bass, grilled salmon, souvlaki made with pork and chicken, gyros and a rib eye steak, for pescatarians and landlubbers alike. Sure, you can’t smell the ocean from here, but it’ll do until you book your tickets to Santorini next summer.