Best Restaurant When Someone Else Pays


Chef and owner Ben Poremba is a James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Midwest semifinalist and a 2014 Food and Wine People's Best New Chef semifinalist. Tucked behind its sister wine and tapas bar, Olio (a magnificently renovated Standard Oil gas station), Elaia offers upscale, Mediterranean-inspired fare. The mood is romantic, with tables lit by candlelight and enough seating for 36 people. The style is elegantly rustic, its modern décor accented with found-object art. The small menu is inventive, artful, studied and flawless, and you can get it à la carte, as a prix-fixe four-course meal ($64) or a multi-course tasting menu ($100). On top of everything else, an extensive wine list is assembled with care by Andrey Ivanov, who recently tied for first in the national Chaine des Rotisseurs' Best Young Sommelier competition.

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