Elia's - South Bend, IN
I had lunch here last week and wanted to visit a second time before I posted impressions. I had lunch with a couple of colleagues who ate vegetarian for lunch last week and both commented the food was very good. I had ordered Shawarma and found it a little dry but flavorful. The iceberg lettuce was bland as to be expected but the dressing added good flavor. Lettuce and tomatoes is season would definitely be an improvement. The hoummous we shared was excellent.
I returned tonight with my wife. We ordered the Mezzaha an appetizer sampler of Hoummos, Baba Ghannouge, Vegetarian Grape Leave Rolls, and Tabouli. We both enjoyed all of the items sampled and considered them very good. I would say the grape leaf rolls were a little bland and would like to cmpare them with the meat grape leaf rolls. My wife also ordered a piece of spinach pie was good. The Baba Ghannouge was especially good with a nice smoky flavor that set it off. Plenty of pita bread to go with the meal.
For dinner my ordered the Midardara a mix of lenti, rice, and onions, which came with a salad. Large portions and very good.
I ordered the Falafel dinner and was barely able to finish the 6 Falafels that came with dinner.
Overall, our opinion is that Elia's is a very good restaurant and we will return. We considered the appetizers to be excellent and I highly recommend the variety. I noticed a couple of other plates on other tables that looked very good. I was surprised at the traffic in this restaurant. Elia's is in an out of the way place but appears to becoming successful. I ate there about three years ago and they have tripled in size and expanded nicely. Price was reasonable. Our total ticket including tip was $28. We did not have and wine but they do appear to have a small selection that appeared interesting to try.
Elia's Authentic Mediterranean Cuisine
115 Dixie Way North (State Road 933)
South Bend, IN
Approximately 3/4 of a mile north of the I-80/90 Toll Road at the Notre Dame/South Bend exit.
Elia's isn't bad...but it really isn't that good either. There are many neighborhood shawarma/middle eastern places in Chicago (say, in Lincoln Park / Wrigleyville) that are much tastier. Their hoummus doesn't have the right zing, and the food is sadly bland. That said, it could be worse, and the people who work there are DELIGHTFUL.
Funny -- I tried to have lunch there on Wednesday, but got there just after they closed. Am going to try to go tonight for a quick nosh. I also tried to talk the Cambodian Eggroll folks into serving cambodian food (I was walking by one day) but they basically refused. When I twisted their arms, they admitted that they don't even have the spices necessary at the restaurant. In general, they seemed uninterested in cooking cambodian food. If they hadn't annoyed me so much, I would have gone back for what they do serve.
Bruce -- let me know if you want to go to Elia's some time.