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This Is What’s Replacing the Original El Taco in Virginia-Highland

Mediterranean restaurant Ela opens in February, taking over the Original El Taco space on North Highland

The Original El Taco
Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for over 12 years.

Eight months after closing its popular Mexican restaurant The Original El Taco in Virginia-Highland, Fifth Group Restaurants plans to replace it with Mediterranean restaurant Ela in February.

Serving a range of dishes found throughout countries like Greece, Turkey, and Morocco, expect a variety of mezze, charred flatbreads, and entrees of fresh seafood and marinated lamb from chef Darragh Dudley, as well as desserts like baklava. Wines by the bottle and glass, along with cocktails, will center on Mediterranean vintages and spirits.

“This restaurant will look and feel different than what most people have come to associate with traditional Mediterranean food, but it’s still anchored by the use of the big, bold spices with exciting pops of flavor and ingredients that are indigenous to this region,” Fifth Group vice president of culinary, Mark Jeffers, says of basing the next restaurant on Mediterranean fare and its close proximity to Truva Turkish Kitchen on North Highland. “With a neighborhood as diverse and vibrant as Va-Hi, we feel that this restaurant will add to and complement its character.”

Fifth Group, which also owns South City Kitchen, La Tavola, Ecco, Lure, and Alma Cocina, closed the Original El Taco in March after 14 years in Virginia-Highland to bring “something fresh and new” to the neighborhood.

1186 North Highland Avenue, Atlanta.

Alma Cocina

191 Peachtree Street Northwest, , GA 30303 (404) 968-9662 Visit Website

La Tavola

992 Virginia Avenue Northeast, , GA 30306 (404) 873-5430 Visit Website

South City Kitchen

1675 Cumberland Parkway Southeast, , GA 30080 (770) 435-0700 Visit Website

The Original El Taco

1186 North Highland Avenue Northeast, , GA 30306 (404) 873-4656 Visit Website


40 7th Street Northeast, , GA 30306 (404) 347-9555 Visit Website


1106 Crescent Avenue Northeast, , GA 30309 (404) 817-3650 Visit Website