Eléa, Greek Island cuisine spreads to the Upper West Side
Now Open, on the heels of the successful summer opening of Kyma Flatiron, veteran restaurateur Reno Christou and partners open sister restaurant Eléa (217 W. 85th St.) on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. With an open split-level design punctuated with traditional Grecian pottery and décor, Eléa will transport guests to a romantic island vacation while also evoking an intimate, softly lit aesthetic perfectly suited for the uptown neighborhood. Meaning “olive” in ancient Greek, Eléa offers guests a menu of soulful and modern Greek dishes that encompass flavors across the region’s many islands and terrains.
A monolithic, oval-shaped concrete bar with seating on all sides serves as the focal point upon entering the main floor, inviting casual strollers and neighbors in for a quick bite or drink. Dark wood flooring and decorative tiling give the space a romantic and contemporary atmosphere, accentuated by custom rope basket chandeliers, bottles of bespoke Eléa olive oil, and ancient Greek pottery lacing the ceiling and perimeter.
A staircase descends into the center of Eléa’s main dining room, cultivating a more formal seated dining experience. “Our downstairs is really the beating heart of our restaurant, so we wanted to bring a lot of warm and inviting energy down there,” says owner Reno Christou. “The white-washed walls and ceilings really elongate and open the room, and we added olive branches, reclaimed wood, and teal upholstery to accent the space further. The back-lit walls are reminiscent of the island sunsets in Greece and is a signature element in each of our restaurants.”
Antique Greek artifacts like 200-year old stone olive presses, jugs, and a giant urn are carefully situated to draw the gaze of those seated in the room. A striking, custom glass wine cellar sits adjacent to the semi-private dining area that opens to the convivial atmosphere of the restaurant on the other side of the staircase.
Seafood preparations include daily whole fish selections in addition to specialties like Roasted Local Cod “Kakavia Style” with seasonal vegetables and Mussels Saganaki with tomato, herbs fennel and feta. Guests opting for dishes “from the land” can look to Lamb Paidakia, char-grilled marinated lamb chops served with Greek fries; Youvetsi, red wine braised short rib with baked orzo and kefalograviera; and Pastitsio, baked pasta with seasonal mushrooms and béchamel.
Eléa is open nightly for dinner beginning at 4:30 p.m., with brunch and lunch soon to be announced.