Restaurant Review: Elia

A new Mediterranean restaurant in East Rutherford is owned by a mom/daughter duo—and the love shows.



Step inside the East Rutherford restaurant Elia and you just might forget you’re in New Jersey. The whitewashed brick and stucco walls, giant market umbrellas and ficus plants suggest seaside towns on the Mediterranean. There’s a long Carrera marble bar, an open kitchen with a farmer’s market-style front, showcasing fresh fish, fruits and veggies, and white tables with banquette- and chair-style seating. Tables are white with black cloth place mats and a small yet stylish bouquet of greens with wispy flowers.

Occupying the space that housed Park & Orchard for 40-odd years, Elia, named for the Greek word for “olive,” unmistakenly exudes a very different vibe. It’s the brainchild of Rutherford native Annamaria Adinolfi and her mom Anna Rosati, and this pair effortlessly reigns over the chic yet unpretentious operation, featuring Greek-Mediterrean fare. Silent owners they are not.

It happens that my dining companion’s name was that of a lovely town on the Amalfi coast. When we made our reservation, Annamaria mentioned that it’s her favorite place in the world. When we arrived, she took up the conversation, chatting as if we were old friends. Both mother and daughter were affable, taking pains to ensure that diners enjoyed their experience. Annamaria made the rounds several times during our visit to check on patrons.

A busboy quickly filled glasses with water and brought a basket of hot, triangular-cut pitas and a creamy, tangy hummus. Our friendly server, Nikolas, answered our questions about various dishes. (It was only later that I realized he hadn’t told us the specials. Fortunately, we had a fine meal anyway.) Executive chef Jose Luis Falcon has been serving up Greek dishes in New York City, so it’s no surprise that he’s partial to fish. In fact, about three-quarters of the offerings hail from the sea. We chose accordingly. For starters, we opted for the baby shrimp and calamari, flash-fried and served with two dipping sauces: a spicy tomato number and basil aioli. Both the crustaceans and the mollusks were crisp yet tender with no trace of the greasiness that sometimes mars this dish. While that was delicious, it was the grilled octopus that stole the course. Sushi-grade fish—and plenty of it—was grilled to perfection and served with potatoes, grape tomatoes and balsamic onions in a Romesco sauce, an almond and red pepper-based concoction, which had just the right hint of sweetness but was in no way cloying.

After eating the pitas and appetizers, I worried that I’d be too full for the entrée. My dinner partner chose the seafood pasta, a heaping mound of house-made fettuccine with shrimp, calamari, scallops and mussels. We counted a dozen mussels in the dish (and plenty of the other fish), which featured a smooth tomato sauce and perfectly cooked pasta. While I was tempted to try one of the lesser-known whole fishes—such as lavrai, a flaky white European sea bass; tsipoura, a firm, mild Mediterranean dorado; or fagri, a pink snapper—I couldn’t resist the Halibut a la Plancha. Served atop trahana, a pebble-shaped grain, with baby peas, grapes, currants, tomatoes and chestnut puree, the fish was perfectly grilled, moist and flavorful. (I did end up taking more than half home to enjoy the next day.)

Even though we were sated, we couldn’t resist dessert. We shared the Ekmek Kataifi, a baked custard atop shredded phyllo with a thick layer of whipped cream, crushed pistachios and banana brulee. It was tasty but did not outshine the tried-and-true walnut baklava, served with vanilla ice cream, which proved that a great classic never gets old.

Back in our car, I was reminded that we were indeed in East Rutherford. Good! That makes it easy to pay a return visit. —Rita Guarna

Elia, 240 Hackensack St., East Rutherford, 201.939.9292; elianj.com

Edit Module

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Find Events

February 2019

The exhibit highlights canvases of landscapes and intimate details of nature. The facts of nature are visible in the brilliance of light, the burst of wetland grasses, and the roil of wind...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Riverside Gallery
, Suite 201, The Shops at Riverside
390 Hackensack Ave.,
Hackensack, NJ  07601
View map »


Sponsor: The Riverside Gallery
Telephone: 201.488.3005
Contact Name: Ms. Yoon
Website »

More information

Elvis is in the building! The King of Rock and Roll- the ever lasting Elvis. Bob James’ extensive career in the casino circuit in Vegas brings Elvis to you as one of the country’s top...

Cost: free

Where:
Mahwah Public Library
100 Ridge Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Mahwah Public Library
Telephone: 201-529-7323
Contact Name: Mahwah Public Library
Website »

More information

Over the course of 6 sessions, mindfulness-based stress reduction will teach participants powerful and effective healing therapies—meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, breath work, and...

Cost: $375 for the 6-week series

Where:
Graf Center for Integrative Medicine
350 Engle Street
Englewood, NJ  07631
View map »


Sponsor: Englewood Health
Telephone: 201-608-2377
Website »

More information

During this eight-week program, participants will learn how to establish a personal meditation practice, balancing mind and body. The class is developed for all levels — beginners welcome....

Cost: $65 for eight-week series if you register by January 5 or $12 at the door.

Where:
Graf Center for Integrative Medicine
350 Engle Street
Englewood, NJ  07631
View map »


Sponsor: Englewood Health
Telephone: 201-608-2377

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The exhibit highlights canvases of landscapes and intimate details of nature. The facts of nature are visible in the brilliance of light, the burst of wetland grasses, and the roil of wind...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Riverside Gallery
, Suite 201, The Shops at Riverside
390 Hackensack Ave.,
Hackensack, NJ  07601
View map »


Sponsor: The Riverside Gallery
Telephone: 201.488.3005
Contact Name: Ms. Yoon
Website »

More information

Over the course of 6 sessions, mindfulness-based stress reduction will teach participants powerful and effective healing therapies—meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, breath work, and...

Cost: $375 for the 6-week series

Where:
Graf Center for Integrative Medicine
350 Engle Street
Englewood, NJ  07631
View map »


Sponsor: Englewood Health
Telephone: 201-608-2377
Website »

More information

During this eight-week program, participants will learn how to establish a personal meditation practice, balancing mind and body. The class is developed for all levels — beginners welcome....

Cost: $65 for eight-week series if you register by January 5 or $12 at the door.

Where:
Graf Center for Integrative Medicine
350 Engle Street
Englewood, NJ  07631
View map »


Sponsor: Englewood Health
Telephone: 201-608-2377

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The exhibit highlights canvases of landscapes and intimate details of nature. The facts of nature are visible in the brilliance of light, the burst of wetland grasses, and the roil of wind...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Riverside Gallery
, Suite 201, The Shops at Riverside
390 Hackensack Ave.,
Hackensack, NJ  07601
View map »


Sponsor: The Riverside Gallery
Telephone: 201.488.3005
Contact Name: Ms. Yoon
Website »

More information

During this eight-week program, participants will learn how to establish a personal meditation practice, balancing mind and body. The class is developed for all levels — beginners welcome....

Cost: $65 for eight-week series if you register by January 5 or $12 at the door.

Where:
Graf Center for Integrative Medicine
350 Engle Street
Englewood, NJ  07631
View map »


Sponsor: Englewood Health
Telephone: 201-608-2377

More information

Over the course of 6 sessions, mindfulness-based stress reduction will teach participants powerful and effective healing therapies—meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, breath work, and...

Cost: $375 for the 6-week series

Where:
Graf Center for Integrative Medicine
350 Engle Street
Englewood, NJ  07631
View map »


Sponsor: Englewood Health
Telephone: 201-608-2377
Website »

More information

Kim from KS Knits is back at Creative Den in Glen Rock! This time we will learn how to make a cozy hat to keep us warm in this cooler weather. Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten some of...

Cost: 65.00

Where:
Creative Den
216 Rock Road
Glen Rock, NJ  07452
View map »


Sponsor: Creative Den
Telephone: 201-882-1422
Contact Name: Julie Salvatoriello
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The exhibit highlights canvases of landscapes and intimate details of nature. The facts of nature are visible in the brilliance of light, the burst of wetland grasses, and the roil of wind...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Riverside Gallery
, Suite 201, The Shops at Riverside
390 Hackensack Ave.,
Hackensack, NJ  07601
View map »


Sponsor: The Riverside Gallery
Telephone: 201.488.3005
Contact Name: Ms. Yoon
Website »

More information

During this eight-week program, participants will learn how to establish a personal meditation practice, balancing mind and body. The class is developed for all levels — beginners welcome....

Cost: $65 for eight-week series if you register by January 5 or $12 at the door.

Where:
Graf Center for Integrative Medicine
350 Engle Street
Englewood, NJ  07631
View map »


Sponsor: Englewood Health
Telephone: 201-608-2377

More information

Over the course of 6 sessions, mindfulness-based stress reduction will teach participants powerful and effective healing therapies—meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, breath work, and...

Cost: $375 for the 6-week series

Where:
Graf Center for Integrative Medicine
350 Engle Street
Englewood, NJ  07631
View map »


Sponsor: Englewood Health
Telephone: 201-608-2377
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The exhibit highlights canvases of landscapes and intimate details of nature. The facts of nature are visible in the brilliance of light, the burst of wetland grasses, and the roil of wind...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Riverside Gallery
, Suite 201, The Shops at Riverside
390 Hackensack Ave.,
Hackensack, NJ  07601
View map »


Sponsor: The Riverside Gallery
Telephone: 201.488.3005
Contact Name: Ms. Yoon
Website »

More information

Over the course of 6 sessions, mindfulness-based stress reduction will teach participants powerful and effective healing therapies—meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, breath work, and...

Cost: $375 for the 6-week series

Where:
Graf Center for Integrative Medicine
350 Engle Street
Englewood, NJ  07631
View map »


Sponsor: Englewood Health
Telephone: 201-608-2377
Website »

More information

During this eight-week program, participants will learn how to establish a personal meditation practice, balancing mind and body. The class is developed for all levels — beginners welcome....

Cost: $65 for eight-week series if you register by January 5 or $12 at the door.

Where:
Graf Center for Integrative Medicine
350 Engle Street
Englewood, NJ  07631
View map »


Sponsor: Englewood Health
Telephone: 201-608-2377

More information

All In For Our Heroes is a unique and exciting charity casino night and poker tournament in honor of our Type 1 Diabetes Heroes. This annual event offers a night of exciting casino play, poker...

Cost: 175

Where:
Seasons
644 Pascack Road
Township of Washington, NJ  07676
View map »


Sponsor: JDRF
Telephone: 732-219-6654
Contact Name: Casey Snyder
Website »

More information

Have you ever thought about trying your hand at a new craft like making your own paper? Join us at Creative Den as featured artist, Heather Corey, will be here to share her experience as a...

Cost: 65.00

Where:
Creative Den
216 Rock Road
Glen Rock, NJ  07452
View map »


Sponsor: Creative Den
Telephone: 201-882-1422
Contact Name: Julie Salvatoriello
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The exhibit highlights canvases of landscapes and intimate details of nature. The facts of nature are visible in the brilliance of light, the burst of wetland grasses, and the roil of wind...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Riverside Gallery
, Suite 201, The Shops at Riverside
390 Hackensack Ave.,
Hackensack, NJ  07601
View map »


Sponsor: The Riverside Gallery
Telephone: 201.488.3005
Contact Name: Ms. Yoon
Website »

More information

Over the course of 6 sessions, mindfulness-based stress reduction will teach participants powerful and effective healing therapies—meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, breath work, and...

Cost: $375 for the 6-week series

Where:
Graf Center for Integrative Medicine
350 Engle Street
Englewood, NJ  07631
View map »


Sponsor: Englewood Health
Telephone: 201-608-2377
Website »

More information

During this eight-week program, participants will learn how to establish a personal meditation practice, balancing mind and body. The class is developed for all levels — beginners welcome....

Cost: $65 for eight-week series if you register by January 5 or $12 at the door.

Where:
Graf Center for Integrative Medicine
350 Engle Street
Englewood, NJ  07631
View map »


Sponsor: Englewood Health
Telephone: 201-608-2377

More information

What better way to spend a Friday night than with a crisp glass of prosecco and a decadent dessert made from scratch? Join us at Creative Den in Glen Rock with Hope Lichtman, local mom and...

Cost: 60.00

Where:
Creative Den
216 Rock Road
Glen Rock, NJ  07452
View map »


Sponsor: Creative Den
Telephone: 201-882-1422
Contact Name: Julie Salvatorieillo
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The exhibit highlights canvases of landscapes and intimate details of nature. The facts of nature are visible in the brilliance of light, the burst of wetland grasses, and the roil of wind...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Riverside Gallery
, Suite 201, The Shops at Riverside
390 Hackensack Ave.,
Hackensack, NJ  07601
View map »


Sponsor: The Riverside Gallery
Telephone: 201.488.3005
Contact Name: Ms. Yoon
Website »

More information

Stop dreaming and start planning your getaway at the 6th Annual Vacation Expo! hosted by Excel Travel, NJ 101.5 and Dearborn Market. Vacation Expo brings you a wide range of trusted travel...

Cost: Free

Where:
Dearborn Market
2170 Rt. 35 South
Holmdel, NJ  07733
View map »


Sponsor: Excel Travel
Telephone: 732-571-1960
Contact Name: Ted Friedli

More information

During this eight-week program, participants will learn how to establish a personal meditation practice, balancing mind and body. The class is developed for all levels — beginners welcome....

Cost: $65 for eight-week series if you register by January 5 or $12 at the door.

Where:
Graf Center for Integrative Medicine
350 Engle Street
Englewood, NJ  07631
View map »


Sponsor: Englewood Health
Telephone: 201-608-2377

More information

Over the course of 6 sessions, mindfulness-based stress reduction will teach participants powerful and effective healing therapies—meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, breath work, and...

Cost: $375 for the 6-week series

Where:
Graf Center for Integrative Medicine
350 Engle Street
Englewood, NJ  07631
View map »


Sponsor: Englewood Health
Telephone: 201-608-2377
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit Module