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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Tue–Thu 5:00pm–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 5:00pm–11:00pm

Bar Beer, wine, liquor, BYO
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


Pearl District
112 NW 9th Ave.
Portland, OR
(503) 227-2158

7712 SE 13th Ave.
Portland, OR
(503) 230-2165
Rude service and bad food is only charming when there’s a lovely view of the Mediterranean

Both branches of Eleni’s upscale Greek duo look warm and modern, vaguely suggesting a European bistro, but at 6:30pm on a Thursday, it’s mostly empty. This once-lauded restaurant has had some troubling reviews for a while now, and after a meal here, it’s no wonder.

Assuming the interesting Greek or reliable Oregon wine you order is out of stock (chances look good), your server may bring you one you didn’t ask for and begin to open it without checking with you. But don’t balk or dare ask for a taste, or you’ll get eye-rolling and sulking.

A marked lack of hospitality characterizes not just the service, which has been intensely spiteful on several visits, but also the portion sizes, which are shockingly small for the price—not normally a complaint we make if the food is spectacular, but an insult with execution this clumsy. With the exception of warm stuffed grape leaves full of rice, dill, mint, scallions, pine nuts, and golden raisins, dishes are routinely botched.

Grilled eggplant has come severely undercooked, stuffed with cold but well-spiced Cascade Natural ground beef that had almost none of the advertised feta. Another dish sees four thumb-sized, horribly overcooked tiger prawns drowning in a syrupy-sweet cream sherry sauce. It’s a lazy prep with no finesse, for the same price you’d be charged for an excellent dish at a more capable restaurant.

And although the menu magnanimously offers to cook several dishes vegan or gluten-free, asking your server may result in a disgusted look and a refusal with no explanations or suggestions. Clearly on your own, you might opt for mixed greens with tomatoes, English cucumber, peppers, mushrooms, avocado, onions and currants dressed in a honey balsamic vinaigrette, which would serve you well, but avoid at all costs another vegan/gluten-free dish of radicchio, spinach and chard sautéed with a combination of three rices that all manage to taste exactly like Rice-a-Roni, gummy and overcooked with the nondescript flavors of a grocery-store spice mix. Although the dish’s gigande beans are cooked well, nothing works together, and it’s unfinishable.

It’s really such a shame, as Portland could do with a nice Greek restaurant (not just gyros—there are plenty of those around town). But in every truly pertinent respect, Eleni’s is far from nice.

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