Food review: Elia Greek Island Taverna

Feeling a little chilly this winter? Why not escape to the Mediterranean?

If you can’t afford to sail away and go island hopping on one of the stunning yachts moored at Marina Mirage, you can do the next best thing and enjoy a little slice of Greece from drier land (but still with a wonderful water view).

The opening of Elia marks the second Gold Coast dining establishment for owner Marina Panaviaris who has more than 30 years’ experience in the restaurant industry and is also the owner of the French-inspired offering, La Provence Cafe and Eatery. Ms Panaviaris who originates from Greece herself and visits her home country often says Elia will fill the evident gap in the market for a Gold Coast family-friendly restaurant serving authentic Greek food.

“Elia provides a great atmosphere, and quality, traditional Greek food at an affordable price so people can afford to enjoy great Greek food every week,” says Ms Panaviari.

“Our dishes are fresh, cooked to order and our recipes are authentic with plenty of offerings for vegan and vegetarians too.”

On our visit we are warmly greeted by our server and immediately ushered to a cosy table for two, dotted with potted rosemary and looking out at the twinkling nighttime waters of Marina Mirage. We immediately feel like family.

The kitchen pass sits to our left, a hive of activity with delicious smelling dishes popping up and being whisked away with regularity. Our mouths water as we survey the extensive menu, packed to the brim with the fresh and fruity Mediterranean flavours; olives, lemon, and feta abound.

Of course, the seafood selection catches our eye. What’s an island holiday without a fishy indulgence, after all?

We skip the tasty looking dip selection in favour of some Tiri Saganaki ($16), a slice of grilled, haloumi-style squeaky cheese, topped with sweet roasted cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of the ever-present olive oil. The Htapodi Tis Skaras ($22.50) is a serve of tender octopus, marinated in herbs, lemon and garlic, and grilled over charcoal. While perfectly happy with our starters, we definitely made a mental note to return and try the Zucchini fritters ($17), Greek meatballs ($17) and Fried whitebait ($17). Our main issue was we didn’t have enough people at the table to try everything we wanted to!

(NB: With such an extensive menu, we recommend bringing extra folks and trying the ever-popular Mediterranean-inspired dining trend meze, via the flavoursome share platters on the menu).

I fell for the delectably fresh seafood again in mains, with the Grilled swordfish and scallops (Xifias Exotica, $35) proving too tempting to pass up, while the other half tucked into a hearty traditional dish of Slow roasted goat (Katsiki Sto Fourno, $36.50), which is drenched in lemon, garlic, olive oil, and rosemary, and served with the softest slow roasted potatoes we’ve ever tried.

The freshness of the Orange and fennel salad offset the rich flavours of our mains beautifully, and the meal was completed by a generous serve of hot chips, topped with lashings of creamy, salty, feta and a sprinkle of oregano. Opa!

We really didn’t have much in the way of room for dessert, but we figured a small(ish) almond biscuit and soft, honey-drenched custard pastry wouldn’t hurt, and they certainly didn’t.

Elia Greek Island Taverna is Gold Coast newest authentic Greek dining experience, replete with white and blue décor, charming watercolours and friendly, efficient service. Its authentic home style flavours, fabulous service, massive menu and fresh seafood are certain to delight discerning Gold Coast diners keen to experience a piece of the Mediterranean on their doorsteps.

NOTE: Blank GC dined as guests at Elia Greek Island Taverna

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