454 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC | Directions 2751635.910698 -79.062535
Mon. CLOSED;Tue. - Thu., Sun. 5:30pm - 9:30pm;Fri. - Sat. 5:30pm - 10pm
Great, inventive food in a romantic setting – My boyfriend and I found Elaine's by accident when stopping in Chapel Hill for dinner on a recent cross-country road trip (check out our trip blog, "A Mini & A Map"), and what a happy accident it was! We ate there on a Thursday night during the summer around 5:30, and it was nearly empty when we arrived. Our waiter was very attentive and knowledgeable about the menu. Our appetizer -- an heirloom tomato plate with 3 different salts on the side -- was beautiful on the plate as well as delicious. My boyfriend's buffalo steak was wonderful, and the truffled creamed corn underneath the fish I ordered was mouth-watering. A perfect, romantic meal, topped off by good espresso that powered us through an all-night drive. We both loved Elaine's and, after 6 weeks of eating out on the road, it remains in our top 3 meals for the entire trip (which included some pretty nice restaurants in some major U.S. cities).
Disappointing service and management – It took 3 hours to finish our dinner, with service that required we had to wave or actually ask for drinks to come, or the bill to arrive or be settled. The end was terrible -- with a major hassle over the bill because we had gift certificates....did you know that the waiters make $2/hour? That is what the manager told us when he wanted to be sure we would pay 20 percent tip for a split check (two gift certificates of $125 each). I told him I felt like we were in McDonalds. Not again for quite awhile.
We choose Elaine's for just about all of our special occasion dining. This was a dinner before the Bolshoi Ballet and therefore a special 'date night'. Elaine's never disappoints! Service is always friendly but professional and knowledgeable. Our waitress was returning on her night off to enjoy one of the newest dishes on the menu. That attitude shows that this isn't just someone waiting tables and it certainly shows in the service. The wine was excellent as were our dinners and dessert. We love Elaine's.
never again – I do not understand all the hoopla about this place. The meals were over priced, servings were small, and the worst part was that after waiting forever, the entrees were cold when they reached the table. Won't be going back.
UNDERWHELMED – We celebrated our wedding anniversary at Elaine's and left disappointed. First off, the service we received was great. And our appetizer, soft shell crab, was quite delicious. However, the entrees were a disappointment. They definitely were not worth the price you pay. . .very expensive. I had the chicken and it was very tough. The potatoes and marsala sauce surrounding the chicken was very good though. But I got very little of it. My husband enjoyed his tuna but said his vegetables were cold. I don't know if we will dine here again.
I felt the love – My husband took me to eat here for my birthday last night. The food was prepared beautifully, with really fresh and seasonal ingredients. The dining space was warm and comfortable. Our server, Carol, was a doll and took such good care of us. We are culinary grads, and usually picky, but everything was wonderful. I would definitely go back, because you could tell that they truely cared that you were their guest. Bravo!!
Overpriced for what you get – We went here based on the great reviews but we weren't very impressed. My salad was very plain and not very flavorful. The feta cheese in the description was almost non-existent. on my salad. My husbands appertizer was much better than my salad. For the entrees - both were ok but not worth the price charged.
I had 3 scallops on my plate. They were good but I felt 3 scallops was a bit chintzy for what we paid. They need more wines by the glass. The desserts were the highlight of the meal. Coffee was ok. Sevice was good. The place is very small and you will not have any privacy. For me this made the place a lot less romantic than I was expecting. This was our anniversary dinner and we had never been here before. Based on the price we paid, there are many other area restaurants we think are much better and a better value so it's doubtful we would return.
Best Meal Evah!!! – I'm writing to tell the world how great my first meal at Elaine's was. My girlfriend and I were greeted warmly and taken to a lovely table which was elevated slightly, and in an alcove next to window looking out onto Franklin St. I was thrilled to see that my favorite ingredient, bacon, had found a place on the drink menu, so i just had to order a bacon bloody mary. It was superb. The wine list was amazingly ecclectic and fairly priced to boot, so we settled on a lovely bottle of burgundy and began our meal. My girlfriend is very inquisitive, and had lots of questions for the waitress, who answered each one with confidence, and helped us select some terrific dishes. I started with a foie gras BLT, which blew me away. A tiny little southern treat with a hunk of seared foie gras in the middle. She ordered the truffled cauliflower soup, which was nearly the equal of my BLT.
For entrees, we selected duck and striped bass, and shared them both. My duck was cooked perfectly, with the fat rendered out until the skin was crispy, and her bass was fresh and flaky with a wonderful grapefruit beurre blanc. We almost didn't order dessert, but then I noticed that they had candied bacon on the dessert menu, so of course we had to order the pecan waffles with maple ice cream, just so we could try the bacon. It was outstanding.
The atmosphere was busy and bustling, like many of the restaurants I so love in New York City, but the attention to detail was impressive, and the personalized service made me glad I moved to the south. We made our reservations online from their website and they even sent a reminder email on the day of our dinner. We also really appreciated the free valet parking. Overall, they did a great job!
Service with a Smile – I was finally able to eat at Elaine's on Franklin last night and it surpassed all expectations. My husband and I found the service staff extremely knowledgeable and friendly, and the food was just exquisite. Before any other food arrived, we were greeted with a small cup of chestnut bisque which was to die for. I'd have loved an entire bowl, but our appetizers followed and both were excellent. I had a lovely tuna springroll which was crispy and spicy...absolutely delicious. For entrees, we both had the pork chop, which was seated on top of some the best macaroni and cheese I've ever had. The presentations were elegant without being overly fussy and all the food seemed super fresh. Now I know where I'm going for my birthday!!
Suprisingly Disappointed – This is my third time at Elaine's since it opened, and by far my most disappointing. First off, the hostess looked simply untidy in baggy pants, faded shirt and large phone hanging out of her back pocket and even worse, she was decidedly dour and looked as if it pained her to speak or smile. Funny, I work among corporate lawyers all day, and the staff at Elaine's seemed far more aloof and condescending--interesting. The couple next to me, obviously regulars, however, were warmly greeted and showered with complimentary samples, the manager came out and chatted with them for ages, unfortunately he couldn't take the time to even turn my way and ask how my meal was, and apparently there is a one piece of bread ration. The food was good enough, flounder on a few shards of lobster, it was okay, nothing to make me want to leave the fine dining of my Charlotte home though. With desert however, things got decidedly worse, pumpkin cheese cake that tasted nothing of pumpkin but a lot like faintly souring cream. Perhaps too large of a purchase into its own hype, Elaine's definitely needs to tighten up.
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