Emelia's Mediterranean Kitchen and Bar
Located: 309 West Dickson St, Fayetteville, AR 72701
Need directions? CLICK HERE
Type of dining experience: Casual / Mediterranean
Asking my facebook users for a suggestion of a local restaurant that I have not had the opportunity to try out yet, a suggestion that has been made several times before to me popped up yet again, Emelia's Mediterranean Kitchen and Bar on Dickson Street in Fayetteville.
Emelia's is one of those wonderful family owned and operated restaurants, they have been in business for about six and a half years. Any restaurant that has been around that long and can still "pack the house" is a place that has figured out the keys to success in running a dining establishment.
They understand the importance of cooking from scratch and using the freshest ingredients possible when preparing their mouthwatering foodie gems. And in addition, they also understand that the customer must be treated well when they are there, and I can tell you first hand the service was phenomenal.
Emelia's also just recently opened up a location in Siloam Springs downtown district, now I have not eaten there first hand myself so I can not speak to the quality of food and service at that location in this review, but I would have a hard time seeing the owners allowing anything less than what they are doing at their location in Fayetteville. And I have to tell you, they set the bar high for other restaurants in relation to food quality, taste and service. Sarah and George have done a great job with their business!
The decor of the restaurant is very crisp, and right now they have some Christmas lights put up through out the establishment which lends nicely to the appearance inside. There are lots of really neat black and white photos hanging through out the restaurant. Between the main dining area and the overflow side the restaurant can hold around 100 people, or just a tad over if the need was there.
Emelia's is located on historic downtown Dickson Street. There is parking in front, with one of the kiosks located on the corner adjacent to the restaurant. So please do not allow the "parking" situation to keep you from trying them out, it cost me fifty cents while I was there.
They also do a weekend brunch, opening at 9am. And in addition they do catering.
The main dining area is open, with a bar area. And even as open as the seating is, there is still a very "romantic" feel overall. Definitely a nice destination to take your significant other, and have a romantic meal.
In the background you will find various jazz melodies strumming away. The lighting is not as bright as this picture appears, due to using my flash to take the picture.
And here is a shot of the overflow dining area, taken from the rear of that area.
Now my only complaint is the amount of "clutter" that resides in this room. Not included in this shot is an area that you can tell is a multipurpose area, where they cut their table covers etc...
I have always been a firm believer that any area a customer goes into, should be an area that is as clean and tidy as your main dining areas.
Now on to the really important part, the food! In talking to Sarah you can tell that she and her husband George have the "passion" for food. And that is such an important aspect in operating a successful restaurant, because when there is no passion for not only the ingredients that make up the dishes but just the overall preparation of the food, the customer will taste that in the dish. And you can taste that they as well as their Chef have that passion.
I started with an appetizer of the Lamb Meatballs, in a spicy marinara sauce. And I have to tell you, this dish was spot on.
Each bite allowed the seasonings to do their job on your taste buds, which just so happens to be to tell the "wow" part of your brain that you have just tasted something really good!
For anyone that loves lamb, this is a must try. They were cooked and seasoned to perfection.
For my main I decided to try one of the specials that Sarah told me about, the Sword Fish.
The Sword Fish was cooked perfectly, and the fruity chutney/salsa was so very fresh and a wonderful accent to such a superb piece of fish.
The veggies were cooked spot on, and the rice was excellent.
This is a must try dish for anyone who loves Sword Fish.
Baklava is such a wonderful dessert, it is a sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough and is normally filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey.
I have tried many "variations" of Baklava, and I have to say I really liked this one. They do not use honey in their execution of this dessert, and in my humble opinion it worked well.
If you have never tried Baklava in your life, this would be a very good example to try!
A "foodie gem" by my definition is a dining establishment that can make your food senses go "wow". And takes you on a food voyage that is so good, so intense and so just down right scrumptious, that you know you will be going back to that dining establishment over and over.
Well I am here to tell you that Emelia's Mediterranean Kitchen and Bar is one of those "foodie gems". And well worth the drive even if you are coming from far away. For those of you who reside in Fayetteville, Arkansas, this should be on your list of "must try" eateries. I would highly recommend this restaurant.
Review by Frank Elder
(Original review done on Dec 19, 2010)