OPA Greek Restaurant’s Owner, Alexx Antaeus serves Gabby from Suga Lifestyle(R) Birthday Baklava, while friends, Christopher Lai and Gillian Jackson look on.
Two Tuesdays ago I visited OPA’s new location at Devon House, which is on the right side after you enter through the front gate. Persons are familiar with that area formerly known as the Devonshire.
The Restaurant was quiet and cosy. I loved the ambience outdoors, similar to a deck in the backyard by the garden. Despite that, we sat indoors. Diners were present but it was not a full house.
The staff were quiet but professional and welcoming. I suppose they were a balance in personality to the owner, Alexx Antaeus who is quite eloquent but warm and friendly.
The menu still consists of Greek favourites from the old location such as Grilled Fish and other Entrées, Pizzas, Pastas and Salads. Not much has changed in that regard. However, the menu has expanded to include additional Mediterranean cuisine options such as Paellas and more.
We ordered a Starter that consisted of 4 Greek Dips served with homemade Pita Bread ($10.35US/$1324JMD) that they make fresh daily with extra virgin olive oil. The Dips were Tzatziki (yoghurt, cucumber, garlic), Tyrokafteri (spicy feta cheese), Revithia (Chick peas, scallions, lemon juice) and Skordalia (garlic, potato). They were all quite tasty and appetizing but I enjoyed the Feta dip the most.
Alexx took our orders by memory and not by hand, which was quite impressive. He offered assistance to anyone who had difficulty deciding what they needed to order and also wanted to put our orders in quickly to the kitchen. He gave us a heads up that they may take a little while.
Well a little while was an hour. Usually we would have gotten ourselves worked up and probably left already, but some of my friends were visiting and we had a lot to catch up on before they left the next day. The Appetizer dips could only go so far and we were sipping on some vino from their list, which seems to have a decent range and selection as usual. We tried the Lamb Gyros Stix ($7.75US/$992JMD) too. That was a small but succulent serving of well seasoned Lamb.
Not only do I respect that we were given the heads up on the wait, but we were checked on periodically and given a joke or two to keep the atmosphere light, like our stomachs at the time.
Finally, attempting to have a healthy night, I had the Psari Sharas (Fresh Grilled Snook basted with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. I’ve had that dish before at Opa, so it wasn’t anything new, but the good quality in taste remained the same and it was just the right portion served with Skordalia (a purée with potatoes etc.) and Greek salad ($20.30US/$2598JMD).
My friends explored other dishes that they enjoyed such as the Gyros entrée of Lean ground Pork served with Tzatziki, Greek salad, Potatoes and Pita ($19.50US/$2495JMD), Shrimp Penne Pasta with minty cream sauce ($23.40US/$2995JMD) and the Kotosouvlaki entrée consisting of Grilled Chicken Breast on a skewer served with Pita, Greek salad and Tzatziki (19.45US/2489JMD).
Some persons may say they get small servings at OPA, but it really depends on what you order. My friend did not expect such a huge Lamb Shank. While that would make the usual person happy to dig in, being quite petite in size, it was daunting for her.
When Alexx checked on the table a little after we started eating, he asked her what was wrong and she explained. Without hesitation he wanted to know how he could make her happier and she agreed with his suggestions of converting the dish into a Lamb Pasta with her preferred tomato sauce and Penne Pasta. He returned quickly to the table with the transformed dish that he whipped up in the kitchen himself and even gave her some to go in a box so it wouldn’t be too much for her at once. She now joined us as an impressed and satisfied diner.
Voila! Lamb Pasta!
In discussion with Alexx, we were made aware that they source their meat locally from The Meat Experts Ltd. That is a good look. Meat Experts operates out of St. Ann and they have been making quite a name for themselves with their local, high quality, hormone-free meats.
Then just when we thought Alexx couldn’t be a more hospitable host, he asked if we were dining to celebrate an occasion. He was told my Birthday was coming up and he shared that his was coming up the day before. Fancy that.
He returned with a few members of staff and demanded that everyone get their cameras out and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me, while he presented me with complimentary Baklava dessert (Filo layered with chopped walnuts and sweetened with honey). That was a kind gesture. I enjoyed all the love and the Dessert.
I get the feeling something may have been awry with the kitchen or staff that night so I would not let the long wait smear my first experience at the new location. The food was authentic and delicious and I appreciated the great service otherwise. So I will return.
I especially have to have some Drinks by the adjoined Reggae Mill Bar, also owned by Alex, since we missed out on it the last time as we wrapped it up early on the week night.
Two Saturdays ago, I finally got to visit the new restaurant in town, Opa Greek Restaurant and Lounge on Hope Road. I delayed my visit a bit as the reviews were not so good, from the food being bland to getting cold pizza. Nonetheless, many persons did not hesitate to display themselves on instavideo breaking plates with great delight and shouting ‘OPA!’, a renowned Greek tradition to express a joyful emotion or a celebratory response to something.
Upon arrival, my beau and I were greeted from the outside with the door opened for us, which isn’t the norm in Jamaica. The owner and hostess welcomed us pleasantly and we were shown to our seats.
The decor was instantly impressive, however so much blue on the walls can tend to darken the place up a bit. It still had an overall unique tasteful touch and the lighting with the waterfalls was creative. It was refreshing to see well dressed waiters as well.
Our waiter, Alan approached the table immediately and took our appetizer orders. Complimentary pita bread for the first round with the option of getting whole wheat is a thoughtful incentive. My beau ordered a traditional Greek soup, Avgolemono.
I then probed Alan a bit to hear what was the best entrée to choose that did not include Chicken. He was very knowledgeable about the menu and the selection of wines. He suggested the 3 dishes, the Psari Sharas (Grilled Fish served with skordalia), Gourounopoulo (Boneless slow-roasted Pork loin with feta and sundried tomatoes) and Kotsi (Slow-baked Lamb Shank), giving you the best variety of options depending on the kind of meat you prefer.
I haven’t had Pork in a while so I went with the Gourounopoulo and my date chose the Psari Sharas. Alan brought a Chateau Menuty rose wine for us to taste and we went with his selection.
All orders, excluding the wine arrived in a timely fashion, not having to wait more than 5 to 15 minutes for any of the dishes. By right, the wine should have arrived before or with the main course.
The Pork was a bit on the rubbery side but had a nice flavour. Pairing the Pork with feta was interesting, not sure if it was the best choice of cheese though. The Fish on the other hand was lovely.
The meals seemed to be overpriced, especially for the portions given and perhaps the plates could be a little smaller to skew our judgement. There could also be more of a variety of side options provided with some of the dishes. The majority of appetizers cost close to or over $1000JMD, not to mention a glass of wine, which is also on the high end for a spend.
A birthday was being celebrated that night so plates were broken traditionally with exclamations of ‘Opa’ and persons seemed to be having a good time. I am sure their bill was blinding though, as my dinner for 2 without dessert, including a free appetizer costed $8791.75. The bill included tax and a 10% service charge but who pays $850JMD for soup?! My beau did, but not if I saw that price first.
Opa is a decent place for a planned dinner or celebration with satisfactory service and good but not great food. So after what seemed to be a decent night out for dinner, you will ponder if you really got value for your money.