Thousands of people come to Orlando daily looking for an experience, something special to set their day apart from the norm. They search the beaches, attractions, and outlet malls for a unique and unforgettable experience. Tourists and locals alike find a combination of delicious food and an unforgettable experience at Taverna Opa!
Walking into Taverna Opa is like being transported to a Greek patio café. The warm earthy tones, bistro tables, open kitchen, and illuminated tree in the center of the dining area give the restaurant a distinctly Mediterranean feel. A couple of dozen tables plus bar seating and an outdoor patio leave just enough space for servers to navigate from table to table. Shortly after being seated, a photographer visits each table for a photo later turned into keychains and a 5×7 available for purchase ($10 each and $20 respectively).
Early in the evening, the music is reminiscent of Josh Groban, mellow and unobtrusive – great for table conversation, until around 7pm when the party starts. The music quickens into a robust, ethnic rhythm as the belly-dancer twirls and undulates around the dining area. The servers make it rain with an explosion of paper napkins, adding a festive vibe to the restaurant. (Don’t worry, the napkins are recycled afterward.) While the belly-dancer entertains, let loose with some Elios wine, served in a tumbler instead of a wine glass thanks to the Greek tendency to smash dining ware in celebration. Get the party started early during happy hour from 3-6pm with two for one drinks, half price cocktail pitchers, and a selection of appetizers for only $3-4 each including traditional Greek meze as well as wings, fries, and calamari. Dancing is encouraged, and the belly-dancer might even give some free lessons (though tips are appreciated).
While the festivities begin, try some traditional Greek meze appetizers like cool and creamy tzatziki or chunky, house-made hummus with fresh pita. The dolmades (grape leaves) are a light and delicious way to start the meal. The grape leaves melt in your mouth with a fresh, citrusy taste on the palate. The saganaki is a great way to liven up the night. Viachotiri cheese is flambéed tableside with bourbon. Soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside, the cheese pairs well with the pita bread. However, make sure to eat it before it starts to cool or it becomes very salty.
Take a break from dinner to take part in some Zorba dancing. It’s easy to pick up and the more the merrier! Link hands and dance around the dining room to work up a hearty appetite for the entrees. The kebabs come highly recommended with beef, chicken or shrimp – the shrimp are particularly delicious with a zesty citrus kick. The lamb tenderloin is small, but packed with flavorful herbs and juices. They are served with lemon potatoes and spinach rice. For dessert, opt for the classic baklava, or try the galatoboureko – phyllo dough stuffed with custard and topped with honey. Usually the custard filling is lemon, but during the fall, seasonal pumpkin custard fills the flaky pastry. After dinner, relax and enjoy the atmosphere with a cup of Greek coffee. It’s not for everyone, as it is an intense coffee flavor, brewed by boiling coffee beans in water three times. The fine grounds settle in the bottom of the cup. Legend has it the grounds can tell the future. By flipping the cup over a plate, a fortune teller could supposedly read the future in the patterns in the grounds.
Throughout dinner, the servers at Taverna Opa do an expert job of being both attentive to diners and encouraging a fun and celebratory atmosphere. The activities draw out dinner a bit, so plan to go on a night when there is time to savor the full experience. However, if rushing is inevitable, but there’s a craving for Greek food that must be satisfied, Taverna Opa offers a take-out lunch menu as well.
Located on International Drive on the second story of Pointe Orlando, Taverna Opa is open from 12pm to 2am. It’s a great place for families, date night, happy hour with friends or coworkers, and convention groups. With adaptable group space available, Taverna Opa can accommodate a variety of large group needs. Group menus are available ranging from $28 – 55 per person, and bar and cigar packages can be utilized as well. For more information on group services, contact the restaurant by calling 407-370-6772 ext. 2. For other reservations call 407-351-8660. To view menus, visit the website.
On November 17th, join Taverna Opa for national baklava day! From 2-6pm, the restaurant will be hosting a carnival food and wine fest to benefit Second Harvest food bank of Central Florida. RSVP to EatGreek@OpaOrlando.com.