My love affair with Greece started many moons ago, and over the years I have visited the beautiful country dozens of times.
From girls holidays in cheesy beach resorts, to city breaks in Athens and now family holidays in some of the more secluded islands, the country has a lot to offer.
And the warm hospitality and delicious food is one reason we keep going back.
Keen to recreate that holiday vibe, my husband and I have visited various Greek restaurants in Glasgow and Edinburgh but more often than not been left disappointed – until we went to Elia.
We’ve been several times since it opened, most recently two weeks ago. After securing a babysitter, we got the train through and from Queen Street Station, it’s just a hop, skip and jump to Elia.
The restaurant is run by a Cretan family and the menu reflects this with some of the island’s local dishes such as Kefalotyi cheeese and Dakos – a ring of bread topped with tomatoes, Feta and oregano - making an appearance.
We had a few mezes to start, sharing tzatziki, hummus and Feta saganaki – goats cheese in a tomato sauce – with pita bread.
They were finished in an embarrassingly short amount of time as we raced to ensure the other didn’t clear the plates first.
Andy had kleftiko for his main, slow cooked lamb served on the bone in a tomato sauce with oven potatoes and veg while I had vegetable mousaka. The layered dish with aubergine, potato and bechamel sauce was delicious and we followed this with a baklava to share all generously washed down with Greek wine and Andy’s favourite tipple – Mythos lager.
The staff in Elia is mostly Greek nationals and five minutes in the place made me wish I’d stuck with that ‘Teach Yourself Greek’ CD. The hospitality is warm, the surroundings relaxed and despite being very busy with the festive rush during our visit, we never felt hurried or that service had slipped.
Its great location in George Square would make this a prime tourist trap spot but Elia is anything but. The prices are very reasonable for the city centre, with our bill, including drinks, coming in at £60. Everything is home cooked to traditional recipes and the staff are knowledgeable and efficient.
While I can’t guarantee the climate will match up to Crete, Elia offers a little taste of Greek taverna hospitality in the heart of Glasgow and satisfies all our cravings until we can manage our next jaunt to the Med.