Portland >Food & Dining > Eleni Restaurant
7712 SE 13th Ave, Portland, OR | Directions 9720245.469060 -122.652996
Neighborhoods: Sellwood - Moreland Improvement League, Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program
Awful Owner!!!! – recently visited Portland and was looking for a nice restaurant where I could have a pleasant meal with some long time friends. I first entered and a nice girl showed us to a table. The, what I assumed owner, came chasing her down and in a very gruff tone motioned for her to place us at another table. Our friends had a young child with them who was rather fussy. The nice waitress brought us bread for her son to chew on while us adults talked. The owner proceeded to pull her off to the side and scold her for bringing us bread? Apparently we are not allowed to eat bread? Through out the meal the waitress so very pleasant she talked to the baby while we discussed what to eat she mentioned some great choices. The food was ok. A bit watery and pretty average. I enjoyed the flavors and spices but nothing fantastic. Throughout the meal we noticed the owner running around micromanaging the staff and barking at everyones moves. I felt so horrible for her staff it was as if they were all walking on eggshells. We asked the waitress for our check early so it would be taken care of when we were ready, keep in mind we had a child with us. She did as asked and the owner started yelling at her that if the food was on the table the check should not be. The girl tried explaining and she refused to listen. She told the waitress that if we ask say no and that "Eleni said so." Ironically the service was great but the owner was horrible and disrespectful. I felt so horrible for everyone working there. If im ever in portland again I would not go based on principle!
Worst experience I can remember, a disaster on all fronts. – The worst dining experience of my life was Saturday April 5th in this restaurant. The first words out of the server's mouth were, "we have no soup today" and it went downhill from there. The were out of most of our first choices so we made other selections. When the server returned to tell me that my second choice had sold out during the visits to our table I sighed deeply and took the menu from him. This must have ticked him off because things went downhill from there. My third choice was mussels. They arrived somewhat after the other entrees. With mussels half the fun is soaking up the sauce with bread. One problem---the sauce tasted like water or rather was tasteless. Please understand this is not hyperbole---the broth was that bad! My companion prevailed on the server to taste it and off it went. Offered an opportunity to choose again I passed. The server apologized repeatedly, from the moment he notified us that the soup was unavailable. His "excuse" was that someone had changed the menu without informing the chef? A former restaurant owned among us was doubtful that this was the truth or at least the whole truth but he stuck to his story.
So, in the end, like all good servers and restaurants there was an attempt to rescue the evening. We were provided two desserts to split among the four of us. We didn't choose them, we weren't even asked what we would have liked, they just appeared. But I'm sure the reason for that was that the two were the only things available.
To sum it up...the service was disingenous at best and the food, what was available, was worse.
Rude owner – I love good food. I especially enjoy good food with a spiritual dining experience. Both are lacking here because there is a woman, Eleni, who yells at staff. She put me on edge the whole time I was at this restaurant. She treats her employees in a most disrespectful manner and that put a knot in my stomach. The waitress was beautiful, friendly and professional. When she went to get our food I could see Eleni yelling at her. She actually dragged the waitress to a table where someone was served a beer in the wrong glass (beer glasses were not available) and humiliated the waitress in front of the patrons. I could not believe how unkind that was. I would not eat at this restaurant if it was the last restaurant in Portland. The owner is rude and unprofessional.
Bad Meal – Eleni's really disappoints. Salad and Vegatables were good. Something they choose to call sirloin was a cheap piece of meat that they did not know how to cook. It was tough and stringy and I could not finish it. It was so bad I did not even bring it home for the dog.
The cook must be a fry cook, because he could not be a chef. He should be fired or they should relabel their sirloin meal as a piece of shredded shoe leather.
They have disappointed twice, so we will not go back for a third disappointment.
Terrible Customer Service – My family and I went here last Saturday night. We were the first diners of the evening. Our waiter told us the nightly specials of which he only had ONE halibut left! It was strange that they were already running out of the special. I ordered their version of dolmas and spanakopita and a field green salad with baked feta. My food was a bit bland and lacking in originality. My salad was mostly bitter greens which were hard to eat and the baked feta was in a rectangular slab on the side. The dressing had a little lemon in it which helped to overcome the blandness. There are not many vegetarian options for entrees unless you like pasta. The rest of my family had lamb, chicken and halibut. The food was fair, but a little lacking in presentation and full flavor.
After the appetizers, we ran out of water. We had chosen to only drink water for the evening. The waiter never once came by to check on us or give us any water. The waiter finally showed up after we ate our entrees to pick up the plates. I wanted my leftovers to-go. My plate was stacked on top of the used dinner plates in the waiter's arms. My dad and mom both told the waiter I did want mine to-go. When the waiter returned with the check, my to-go box wasn't with him. He quickly rushed off. We were tired of waiting so we got up, paid at the concierge and left. We are still waiting for our water.
The poor service is a big turn off and my family and I won't be return customers.
One of Portland's Best – My wife and I love Elani's! It is one of our favorite date night restaurants and we both consider it one of Portland's best. The food is always down to earth yet heavenly. We love their mixed platter appetizer and usually start off there. Then we move on to some of the main dishes and are always impressed with the simplicity yet the richness of the food (try the cognac salmon pasta). The Greek wines are usually good though my wife wasn't too impressed with the pine wine. The service has always been good and parking is always very easy. We have been many times and plan many more...
Awesome servers in a family restaurant. – We had reservations with another couple on a VERY busy Friday night and were instantly delighted when our server asked if she could hang our coats for us!! Before we knew it, another server was at our table (we later discovered that he is her brother) and offered us much needed cocktails after a long work week. He made the best Manhattans (with Frangelico in them) we've ever had. Our server, Erin (sp?) made recommendations about the food and wine; and we put all our trust in her. Needless to say, she was dead on! From the succulent grilled calamari to the Greek wines and the grilled lamb, fish, we felt like we had been transported to Crete. Erin recommended a dessert that Eleni prepares herself, the Baklava....so worth it! All in all, from the service to the food to the atmosphere it was excellent. The only question we had was why the owner didn't seem as happy and as proud of the food and service? Aside from the yelling, this was the best restaurant we've been to in Portland.
Great service and food – My husband and I went in on Saturday evening with out a reservation and was quoted about an hour wait. Sure enough the wait was 54 minutes. The food and service was well worth the wait. Our server was attentive, but not in your face. I noticed servers helping each other to make sure EVERYONE was well taken care of. One of the previous reviews complained about having to wait 25 minutes after being late for their reservation on a Friday night, I'd say try that anywhere else in town and wait an hour. I'd also like to point out there are other people in the place enjoying a meal and it's up to them as to when they stop eating, pay their check and leave the table to have it cleared for the next patron to be seated- the servers, hosts, managers, bussers, cooks have very little to do with wait times. If a table wants to sit around relaxing and enjoying converstation after dinner it would be considered rude to walk up to them and say, "You need to leave. A reservation just came in. Thanks for stopping, now get out so they can sit here."
Good food, Poor Ownership – I went to eat at Eleni's last Wednesday and was fairly pleased untill a man that was identified as the owner arrived. It was only half past nine but Mr. European seemed to be irritated by our pressence. He glared at us as he sipped wine from a cup and made us very uncomfortable. We heard a dog howling in the back and our server told us it was his. Classy. Then he proceeded to argue loudly in Greek on the telephone while sitting at the bar. Maybe he should sit out back with his dog and eat out of a bowl on the ground next time. I doubt we will go back anytime soon.
Too European for Sellwood! – Eleni's is a very romantic Greek hideaway for those who seek romance and a casual European dining experience.
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