Elia - Chicago
Elia means "olive tree" in Greek, and it's also the name of a new modern Mediterranean restaurant in Chicago's Wicker Park.
Elia is the third Chicago restaurant to be opened by Metin Sebrest, who also owns Turquoise, a Turkish restaurant, and Bordeaux Lounge Lounge by Turquoise, both in Roscoe Village. Elia offers a take on modern Mediterranean cuisine and when you peruse the menu, what might jump out at you is the large assortment of "spreads." These are basically hummus spreads: roasted beet hummus is enhanced with marscapone and dry sour cherries; classic hummus has beef bacon and crunchy onion; pesto onions comes with crispy walnuts; spicy hummus is perked up with urfa pepper and arugula.
There are many vegetarian options on the menu, including grape leaves stuffed with rice and pine nuts in a yogurt sauce; dried eggplant and pepper dolmas; and roasted cauliflower with medjool dates and harissa sauce.
If big proteins are what you have in mind for dinner, there are many options from the ocean, including clams and mussels with creamy spinach and Chenin Blanc wine sauce; shrimps with Kalamata olives in a pinot grigio consomme; and grilled Spanish octopus.
Bigger plates are available. Rack of lamb comes with Einkorn risotto and glazed shallots; beef braised in red wine is dressed with wheat berries, Brussels sprouts, and tamarin; grilled beef tenderloin is magnificently paired with grilled vegetables; Ora king salmon looks great on the plate with cauliflower puree; Mediterranean branzino comes with Israeli couscous; the roasted half chicken is set on a bed of chopped vegetables and orzo; and the seafood risotto is loaded with calamari, shrimp and scallops. There is also a "gourmet vegano risotto" with umami-rich portobello, shitake and oyster mushrooms.