I am constantly asked for restaurant recommendations. Whether it is for out-of-towners in Chicago or friends who have parents in town, or a birthday dinner, I am constantly sending people lists of restaurants to fit their needs. Ella Elli, a cute mediterranean restaurant off of Southport Ave in Lakeview (Chicago), was actually recommended to me! Firstly, I love mediterranean food- menus usually have such wide ranges of pastas, meats, seafood, and delicious wine. Ella Elli is owned by the well-renowned restaurant group, 4 Star, which also owns Crosby’s Kitchen, Smoke Daddy, Frasca, Dunlays on Clark, and a handful of other really great restaurants. Not only did the reco from a friend bring me here, but I was also having a goodbye dinner for two dear friends who were going off to travel Europe for 5 weeks. This was the perfect place to do it. Here’s a run down of what we enjoyed so very much (and why we want to go back).
We each started out with great cocktails. Their cocktail menu changes seasonally and everything looked so interesting. My boyfriend got a really great old fashioned (that I even liked and I am definitely not an old fashioned gal). We moved onto a great bottle of Spanish wine for dinner which went perfectly with the diverse menu.
The Selection of Cured Meats and Pickles was our first dish. A really well put together charcuterie board that’s perfect for sharing.
Another highlight of the meal was the Crispy Grain Salad with Goat Cheese, Endive, Radish & Sprouts. This light, delicious salad was another winner for sharing between four people. The crispy grains and the creamy goat cheese with the bitter greens is really fantastic.
The Lamb Sausage, Rapini, Olives, & Lemon Oil Pizza was a great cross of spicy and savory flavors. The lamb sausage was juicy and the peppers added a sharp spicy bite. They have lots of little sharable pizzas on their menu that I definitely recommend.
If you like lamb, you have to go with this dish. The Lamb Scottadito with Herbed Yogurt & Harissa was amazing. I love the combo of lamb and any yogurt sauce. The rich, well-seasoned meat is perfectly balanced by the tangy yogurt. The harissa brings forward warm spice flavors that blend well with the yogurt. I really loved this dish.
Overall, this place gets the following awards from Happy Fork:
- Great for (Small) Groups
- Interesting but Delicious Menu
- Great Bar for a Fun Date
- Great Location
I would definitely go back and am looking forward to seeing how their menu changes with the seasons. Have you been to a great restaurant recently? Let me know and maybe it will be featured next time on Happy Fork.