I’m about to make a VERY big call.
It is the best Greek food I’ve ever eaten in South Australia.
BOOM. Now, I know I haven’t had a chance to visit everyones’ γιαγιά to taste-test my theory, but let me tell you a little bit about WHY I’ve fallen head-over-heels in love with Eleni’s.
Firstly, the vineyard and restaurant is just oozing with family history. Originally established by Peter and Eleni Markeas (who you’ll still find in the kitchen and cruising around the land), Mallee Estate is currently owned and operated by the next generation, brothers Jim and Arthur. Together, they’ve won a few prestigious awards such as Riverland Winery Of The Year in 2017 at the New York International Wine Competition, as well as Double Gold for the 2015 Temperanillo AND the 2013 Reserve. I’m not a world-class wino but that sounds like a good drop to me!
The winery might have been here first but the restaurant was always a pipe-dream, so when Head Chef David landed back in the Riverland it was the next obvious move — and thank goodness for that! David worked closely with Eleni, who spilled the beans on all her culinarysecrets and just like that, Eleni’s Restaurant was born.
The family vibes travel right through to the food, with the coffee coming from Jim’s godfather and the fruit & veg coming from Arthur’s son’s godfather (are you keeping up?), and you’ll find the whole family popping in and out of the kitchen each day!
And now for the food, glorious food. It is the epitome of incredibly generous comfort food, packed with traditional flavour and made with nothing but love. It’s physically impossible for me to pick a favourite, so here are some of the delicious dishes that we were lucky enough to try!
Do yourself a favour and make the effort to head out and visit this incredible restaurant and cellar door — you won’t regret it!
PS if you’re not already 100% won over, then let us introduce you to the vineyard dog, Zeus. Arthur adopted Zeus 4 years ago, and became his 3rd and final owner. He follows Arthur like a shadow so if you can find Zeus, then you’ve generally found Arthur.