A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of dining at Opa, a new Modern Greek Restaurant in Center City Philadelphia. Friends of mine wanted to treat me to dinner as payment for watching their kitties while they went away to Mexico in March. This was not my first choice; my first choice was Barbuzzo. However, since Barbuzzo continues to be the hot new restaurant in Philadelphia, it was booked on the night we wanted. Just as well! Opa turned out to be a delightful dining experience.
Since I’m a fan of Greek and Mediterranean food, I was excited to see what they were about. I arrived at the restaurant before my friends. It was 8:00 on a Saturday night. The restaurant was in full swing. Once my friends got there, we were immediately seated at the back of the restaurant where it was somewhat secluded from the rest of the dining patrons.
I had already poured over the menu online, so I had a good idea of what I wanted. The server informed us of the evenings specials, a fish dish and a lamb dish, both of which sounded great. We decided to order our drinks first before making our final dining decisions. After looking at the cocktail menu, I just knew I had to get the “Antho”. Cucumber vodka, lemon, and dill. It sounded crisp, refreshing, and Spring-like! I was not disappointed by this drink. My dining companions wanted to try it so I allowed them all a sip. After trying their cocktails, then mine, we all agreed the “Antho” was the best. It’s one of the best cocktails I’ve had in some time! I’m a true cucumber vodka believer now.
Anyways, we eventually placed our appetizer and dinner orders. I decided to try the fried kalamari on suggestion from another friend who had dined there previously. As a big fan of fried calamari, I have to say that I was not blown away by it. It was fried right, but lacked flavor. It could have used more seasoning in my opinion.
Since I was not totally happy with my appetizer, my friends insisted I shared theirs. My friend K. ordered the zucchini chips since he had had them before and extolled the virtues of their deliciousness. He was right, they were absolutely scrumptious. M. ordered the spread pikilia, which included a divinely delicious hummus that I’ll soon not forget!
As for our main courses, I forget what my friends had because, quite honestly, I was enamoured with my main course selection: the wine braised rabbit with olives, capers, house made pasta, and shaved kefalotiri (a salty sheep’s milk cheese from Greece). To say this dish was extremely flavorful is an understatement; both the rabbit, moist and tender, and fresh pasta were cooked to perfection and were a perfect match in the wine, olive, caper sauce. It was served in a large bowl which I had no problem cleaning!
For dessert, I went with the traditional baklava served with a sinful fig ice cream. This was the perfect ending to a near perfect dinner. The service was paced and friendly and the atmosphere was casual. My friends and I were all generally pleased with our dining experience at Opa. I would gladly go back again should the opportunity present itself.
Picture credit: Danya Henninger