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
Fantastic on Franklin – Just had to write about a meal I had last night at Elaine's. I've eaten there a number of times, and always enjoyed it, but this meal blew me away. I started with a foie gras 'blt', which sounds a bit strange but was absolutely delicious. They make a tiny little blt sandwich with a piece of seared foie in the middle and also candied bacon. Wow. This is a dish that you want to keep all to yourself. Luckily, my wife was happily occupied with her heirloom tomato sampler (a beautiful and tasty appetizer to say the least), and she didn't even ask for a bite of my blt. As thrilled as we were with the first course, the second course raised the bar to the next level. I had one of the most inventive and delicious surf and turf dishes that I've ever tasted: half of a Maine lobster with braised pork belly, hoppin' john, fried okra and green tomato beurre blanc. It was rich, luscious and buttery in all the right ways. My wife had venison with corn pudding and blackberry sauce which was equally compelling, but I was glad that I chose surf and turf. I've always thought that Elaine's did a great job selecting fresh, local ingredients for their menus, which appear to be different every time I eat there, and my server confirmed this for me, offering stories about the Chef's two weekly trips to the Carrboro Farmer's Market. Knowing the food is local seems to make it taste even better. I give Elaine's my highest recommendation.
Fresh food – Elaine's is one of the few restaurants in Chapel Hill that seems to care about fresh ingredients. The food is consistently good, with interesting specials offered and a nice wine selection.
Solid Fine Dining – I really like eating at Elaine's - that being said, I don't recall any really memorable dishes, but I DO know that everything I've eaten there has been really fresh and tasty. I'm happy coming here when I want a "basic" fine dining experience with good food, but nothing really exciting or different. The wine list is extensive and reasonable. The service is really good! I think it's the best service on Franklin Street - our glasses are never empty, the staff has been attentive, and they've given us good recommendations on wine pairings with entrees.
Fantastic Food and Service – I'm shocked to see any negative reviews of the service at Elaine's. I personally have always found the service to be outstanding in my many visits. The style of service is friendly, but professional. Just last night I had a meal there that was so good, I had to write a review.
Upon being seated, I was greeted promptly and treated to a wonderful cocktail called a French Connection while I pondered the extensive wine list. There, I found a bottle of 1986 Vouvray for $40!! I couldn't believe it! In general, I'd say that their wine list is not only mouth wateringly good, but very fairly priced, unlike some restaurants in the same neighborhood.
For an appetizer I ordered anchovies, which were served on a bed of eggplant carpaccio with roasted red peppers, fried capers and aioli. The anchovies themselves were wonderful...spanish oil cured anchovies, I think the server said. My wife had their apple-rutabega soup with braised pork belly, and it, too, was out of this world. For dinner, I had the grilled diver scallops with bacon, baby artichokes and crispy penne, while my wife had the braised pork shank. The scallops were huge...3 of them maybe 2 oz each, and the dish was very well executed. As good as the scallop dish was, the pork was even better. Tender and falling off the bone, it was served over butternut buckwheat polenta with sauteed rapini and gremolata. Wow!! Throughout our dinner the service was attentive but not annoyingly over attentive, which can really ruin a good meal. The servers moved purposefully and efficiently, delivering for all of our needs in a timely fashion.
Dessert looked lovely, but unfortunately, we didn't have the appetite to enjoy it. Oh well, there's always and next time, and with Elaine's, I hope the next time is soon!
horrid service – my first experience at Elaine's was wonderful, the service was less than friendly, but the food was delicious. i decided to throw my friend's birthday dinner there. all five of our guests are in the service industry, though overly aware of every detail, we are also sensitive. our server was curt, uninterested and simply rude. i brought a gorgeous bottle of red for our main course as a birthday gift, but we bought a bottle of gruner for our starters. it was warm, five minutes of being on ice did little to cool it and we asked our ungracious server for it to go back on ice until the aps came out. imagine our surprise when the aps came out and we had to flag the nearest employee to bring our wine. not two minutes after our aps were cleared did our entrees appear, not only were we without glasses for the cote du rhone, but the bottle was not even open. luckily, being in "the industry" we had a wine key with us and after flagging down another server for glasses, we poured our own wine. had Dana, our server, been new and simply behind due to lack of experience or just extremely "weeded" all would have been forgiven and additional gratuity overflowing, but she was obstinately apathetic to our table. we feel perhaps we did not look the part of an attention worthy table or because we brought a bottle of wine (which she charged corkage despite our having bought a bottle and pre-dinner cocktails) that we were given the epicurian coldshoulder. whatever the reason, we were guests, but treated as annoyances. i will never return and the endorsements so often given by myself and the rest of my party, needless to say, are over and instead replaced by this horror story. bret is an amazing chef and dinner was delicious (though tepid after working to get wine in our glass). it's a shame that these are the people he choses to interact with his guests and serve his culinary perfections.
Vegetarians will be disappointed!! Service was sad. – My table of 6 was mainly satisfied with their food, if not blown away, but the service was spotty at best and ended with just a bad attitude when we had an issue with the bill (we were double charged for something). Vegetarians take note, my meal was uninspired (can anyone say "grilled veggies?") with nothing of substance (no potatoes, pasta, etc) for $20. I was hungry and disappointed. I had asked if the kitchen would modify a more desirable dish and was told quickly "no". Appetizers (a shrimp dish and a cheese plate) were boring and unattractively presented. The desserts were good but nothing anyone was wowed by. I'd try somewhere else next time.
Atelier chic sets the stage for a menu of eclectic modern art. – In Short
Loud and bustling, Elaine's is the quintessential Chapel Hill eatery. A Jewel-toned paintings of fruit capture the eye with their particular boldness. Although menus change frequently, diners can't go wrong with most of Elaine's dishes. One winner is the mustard seed-crusted wild king salmon on soft polenta--salmon lovers will melt over the king's buttery goodness. The grilled pork loin with salsa, snow peas, coconut jasmine rice and rum sauce provides interesting taste complexity.
Eclectic spot on Franklin – Chef Jennings is amazing. He understands food on a level I aspire to. They have fois gras nightly which is always a plus for me. I am a regular diner there. The parking is the only negative but it is worth the trouble.
great food, not so great service – Great food, unbeliavable poor service, we did not receive proper attention from server, manager had to make up for gaps
my favorite restaurant in the triangle – There are lots of good restaurants in the Triangle, but Elaine's is my favorite. It's small, with great service, and amazing food. We love how the menu changes constantly, and how they always give us a small taste of some delicious soup before our orders arrive. I also really love the attitude of this place - even though it is an upscale place, it is warm and friendly. David the Manager is wonderful and always looks out for us.
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