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“Loved our dinner!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Emilitsa

Emilitsa
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Ranked #4 of 607 Restaurants in Portland
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $0 - $33
Cuisines: Mediterranean, Greek
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Business meetings, Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer
boston
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Loved our dinner!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 7, 2013 via mobile

We chose this restaurant based on the trip advisor reviews and we were not disappointed. We shared the octopus appetizer based on the recommendation of a diner at a neighboring table (the seats are close together) and it was perfectly cooked - grilled, moist, lemony. I had the moussaka (so flavorful) and my husband had grilled lamb chops with spinach and mashed potatoes and he found it mouth watering. The service was excellent and the atmosphere was warm and welcoming. We came from Boston for the weekend and wish we had this restaurant closer to home. We will definitely come back!

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank mellxk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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618 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    504
    78
    26
    5
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
68 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Overated!!!!!!!!!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 30, 2013

We wanted Greek food and this is rated the best Greek restaurant in Portland. The restaurant has a nice atmosphere, possible a little too cozy (we were seated down the long hallway portion of the restaurant and felt it was quite tight), and the service was average. I have no idea where all the high ratings are based on. The restaurant is very expensive for the overall experience. I would easily give Emilitsa 3.5 stars if there were fewer tables and it didn't feel quite so tight. Request a table in the front of the restaurant.

We share the “saganaki” an appetizer of cheese flambeed with seven star metaxa. It seemed that it was done in the oven instead of frying which made it very soft for $16.00? We skip the salads.

The wines on offer were the average Greek wines very familiar to us, and did not offer any high end good Greek wines. We chose “Amethystos” by Nikos Lazaridis that cost $56. Based on my experience, I would say that the wines are more expensive than Boston restaurants.

The food while have a Greek twist lacked a certain something that makes their high rating a bit over the top. For entrees I had the lamb chops and at the end I was wondering why all that was on my plate were two over salted chops. I love Lamb chops and I can never recall ever being served 2, always 3 or 4. I mean I really could taste the rock salt on my teeth. The dish was overpriced at $32.00. My wife’s souvlaki had enough garlic to kill a “Dracula”, even though Emilitsa’s features free-range chicken. No oven roasted potatoes that are a basic on every Greek restaurant, but mashed potatoes. The menu is small and they had no specials, so I don't think we would return there.

The waiter never came to pour a second glass of wine!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Thermotech
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anchorage, Alaska
Level Contributor
52 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Mediterranean soul food”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 23, 2013 via mobile

The food at this restaurant is exquisite! My heritage is Lebanese, and grew up with the flavors of the region. Emilitsa is absolutely fabulous...pairing spices and sauces in an unexpected, yet familiar way. Do not miss this!

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank Tisha H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glastonbury, Connecticut
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Great Greek food with a modern twist”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2013

On our first visit to Portland, we were lucky to have chosen Emilitsa for dinner one night. Our friends chose the restaurant as a nod to my Greek heritage and we were all happy they did. The service was very good--the descriptions of the menu items was perfect and our waitress suggested an excellent Greek wine (a far cry from Retsina). The food and basic preparations were authentic (although I do not recall ever seeing duck on a Greek menu before) with a contemporary flair. We were served a delicious yellow lentil dip shortly after we were seated, a nice start to our experience. I had the chicken souvlaki and it was served with spanakorizo (spinach and rice) unlike any my Yiayias would have made. Instead of the traditional chopped spinach mixed with the rice, there was lemony sauteed baby spinach--it was delicious. Our friends ordered the dorado and it was expertly filleted at the table. Along with some really good coffee, we shared the baklava and would have liked to have tried the chocolate cheesecake, but they ran out--a reason to return.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank pandyandjohnw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Conway, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
96 reviews
66 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Authentic if pricey Greek fare”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 12, 2013

Emilitsa's tries to bring Greek food, a delicious but rustic cuisine, into a fine dining realm. Greek food at its best is simple and unpretentious, it's peasant origins drenched in incredible olive oils delivering herbaceous Mediterranean flavors. The trick, I suppose, is to deliver this food authentically and not to overdo it in an effort to justify the fine dining prices. On the whole, the restaurant is successful in delivering this fine food without losing it's humble origins but one is then forced to consider whether the experience is worth the price.

I can find no fault with my octopus salad appetizer and grilled sea bass special. They were delicious, perfectly cooked and adequately portioned. The sea bass was stuffed with lemons and herbs and drenched in fine oil. In an effort to get every last bit of goodness, I found myself picking up little flecks of charred fish with my fingers and then licking my fingers. That's a sign of really good food. The fried cheese was also tasty. Picture the crusty top of a baked mac and cheese without the mac. The spanikopita appetizer was small, in my opinion. Two filo triangles on some greens. The taste was authentic (so says I who uses a recipe at home given to me by a Greek coworker many years ago) but I think a square from a baking pan would better showcase this dish than the little filo triangles one can get at a warehouse club (I refer to presentation and portion size here and not taste). The bitter chocolate yogurt cheesecake was as advertised, bitter and chocolaty. I'll take the New York version over this but one should always be open to new things. The baklava was a little dry. There's actually a Greek pizza place in the next town from where I live where the Missus puts out a superior version. A pre-dinner Ketel One martini was perfect. I know very little about Greek wines beyond Retsina (no thanks) so we took a stab based on price and it worked. A basic dinner wine, I think it was called "Atlantis" or something like that from Santorini. It lacked assertiveness but seemed tailor made to cut through the olive oil rich food. It was a little astringent in the beginning but mellowed out as the evening wore on. I did not try either my wife's lamb chops nor my daughter's rabbit but both were reportedly good although my wife said she could have used some more salt on the chops.

The interior of the restaurant is long and narrow with a bar and a few tables towards the front, tables along a wall on the right, a communal table towards the rear and the rest rooms and kitchen at the very rear. The post industrial brick interior, complete with interior overhead garage door, is softened by warm glow lighting and candlelight. Our table, the communal one, was a granite slab, cool to the touch. There was some interesting wall art evoking Etruscan friezes without actually mimicking them.

The service was friendly and our waitress exhibited skills and training but service was slow out of the kitchen.I know we're talking fine dining here but there's a balance to be had. You shouldn't be checking your watch a couple of times between courses and struggling to keep the conversation going or worry that you're going to go through the wine before the food gets there. Anyway, there's a solution to that problem, I'm sure. I hope they address it.

All in all, I'm glad I tried it. The food is excellent and authentic if a little pricey for what you get. Our party of three managed to hit $300 for three apps, three entree's, three pre-dinner drinks, a bottle of wine ($36), two desserts, a cup of coffee and a twenty percent tip.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Sherlockzz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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