I’ve been dreaming of coming to Eva for months – after hearing rave reviews from local foodies – and we finally did it.

The food surpassed our expectations. I recently visited a tapas place in the Lakeshore area of Oakland, CA (Michel Bistro) that was out of this world and while Eva’s food doesn’t have that final finesse some of the Bay Area contenders do, we thought it really held its own. We shared four plates (though we were full after three) and they were all very good:

– Glazed pork ribs – with house rib sauce, arugula, almonds. This came out first and we were impressed with the presentation. The sauce was savory, not sweet, which was a very nice change for ribs, and the meat was delicious but sometimes a little too chewy and inconsistent. Would’ve liked it more if it had been a little more tender like some other reviewers claimed.

– Wood-fired flatbread – with four spreads on the side: truffled white bean, arugula pesto, spicy feta, olive tapenade. Excellent flatbread (some crispy, some softer) that was still warm from the oven. We loved all the spreads – very flavorful and creative. The spicy feta was punchy and fresh and the arugula pesto was delicious. Would definitely recommend this.

– Locally-raised beef meatballs (4 of them) in a Spanish rojo sauce – these were killer. The sauce had so many complex flavors it reminded me of my Cuban grandmother’s meatloaf from my childhood (a very good memory.) Well-sized meatballs, great texture. This was my favorite dish of the night.

– Oink oink oink – two skewers of pork belly, pork loin, bacon-wrapped candied garlic, on a bed of julienned celery-apple salad (the menu says celery-carrot but ours was green apple), drizzle of mustard vinaigrette, chunks of cambozola cheese – very decadent and flavorful – all the meat was good – but the mustard vinaigrette was more like an aioli (mayo-based) and a little overwhelming to the dish, which already had lots going on. The cheese was a great touch.

– My sangria – shiraz, brandy, citrus, thyme, spices – was rich, smoky, and not too sweet. Perfect.

The service was really good. Good ambiance, too – nicely dim lighting but not too dim. We were seated right away, but I wish the hostess had offered the patio (a cool alley with exposed brick tucked in the way, way back down a long hallway) because it got crowded inside and the tables are very close together so we could hear other people’s conversations (doesn’t lend itself to the most romantic date.) Our server was wonderful – very attentive and gave us lots of tips about the menu (the vegetable tapas plates are small, which dishes are heavier v. lighter, how much meat is included in the main dishes, etc.) Feel free to ask lots of questions if you don’t know what to order.

The only thing we didn’t really like was the speed of service. Not everyone feels this way, but in our opinion, pacing really defines fine dining – how quickly your food arrives after you order, how the plates/courses are spaced out, when/how the server brings you your check. Our food seemed to arrive minutes (definitely less than 10) after we ordered. We ordered three plates at first, and two arrived right away, then the third (meatballs) a bit after. Then we looked over the menu and ordered a fourth – which came out quickly too but not quite as fast. We were offered dessert and the check was placed on our table before my drink was even half finished. We lingered until I finished my drink but I felt rushed – they needed our table because it was crowded and the loud space with close tables didn’t really lend itself to a long, leisurely dinner (we recognize it was a Saturday night). Again, most people want to be in and out and have no issue with this, but we were finished in just a little over an hour and that seemed a bit rushed to us.

The prices are very reasonable for the quality of food – our bill was about $50 including tip (for four plates and a cocktail).

Eva has the food of fine dining – really, a highlight of SLC – but not quite the ambiance and leisure of it. We will definitely recommend this to others and hope to return again, but possibly on a less busy evening and hopefully in a quiet corner where we can linger.

– Kelsey Ramos-Conroy

This review was originally written in July 2014.

You may also like

Leave a Comment