Mediterranean concept Ela opens in Virginia-Highland later this month

Mediterranean restaurant Ela will open in the Original El Taco space in Virginia-Highland. It will serve a variety of small plates and entrees from around the Mediterranean.

Credit: Courtesy of Fifth Group Restaurants

Credit: Courtesy of Fifth Group Restaurants

Mediterranean restaurant Ela will open in the Original El Taco space in Virginia-Highland. It will serve a variety of small plates and entrees from around the Mediterranean.

Mediterranean restaurant Ela is opening in Virginia-Highland on Feb. 20 in the former Original El Taco space.

Located at 1186 N. Highland Ave., Ela comes from hospitality group Fifth Group Restaurants (Alma Cocina, South City Kitchen, Ecco, La Tavola Trattoria, Lure) and will incorporate flavors from Greece, Morocco, Israel and Turkey, according to a news release.

Dinner offerings have a focus on shareable plates with highlights like dips and pickles with Persian labneh, smoked eggplant dip, hummus, Israeli pickles and grilled pita; Moroccan hot chicken with ras el hanout sauce; Greek fries with Kefalotyri cheese, herbs and lemon-garlic aioli; and a lamb kofta burger with red cabbage, goat cheese, roasted pepper, harissa aioli and brioche. As for dessert, diners can expect Greek frozen yogurt topped with baklava and honey, and Greek doughnuts with cinnamon, sugar and cardamom custard.

Weekend brunch service will be added soon, with offerings like the Daybreak Gyro with feta, scrambled eggs, avocado hummus, potato and hot sauce; sticky date bread pudding; shakshuka; and Turkish hash with braised lamb shank, onion, potato, swiss chard and poached eggs.

Calabrian prawns from the menu of Ela.

Credit: Courtesy of Frankie Cole

icon to expand image

Credit: Courtesy of Frankie Cole

Fifth Group vice president of culinary Mark Jeffers developed the menu, and Darragh Dudley will lead the kitchen as executive chef.

The eatery will be open for dinner daily at 5 p.m. with weeknight happy hour from 4-6 p.m, and late-night bar hours on Fridays and Saturdays will be added in the coming weeks. The bar program will include cocktails with house-made syrups, wine and mead from Virginia-Highland meadery Monk’s Meadery.

The interior will feature a “warm and inviting ambiance” with earth tones and natural materials, according to a news release.

Ela will be Fifth Group’s first new concept in about 10 years, Fifth Group partner and co-owner Steve Simon said in a December 2023 interview with The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

The Original El Taco, which Fifth Group also owned, closed in March 2023 after 15 years of business. El Taco locations are still open in the international terminal and Terminal C at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

1186 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta. instagram.com/ela.atlanta

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