Taverna Opa is the place for breaking plates, dodging confetti-style napkins and sampling tasty dishes like the smash-it-yourself garbanzo beans appetizer. If you have not dined here yet, we suggest you bump it to the top of your list.
All of the Taverna Opa buzz started in March 2003 with the opening of the flagship restaurant in Miami’s ritzy South Beach area. Since then, it has spread to six locations across South Florida. Founder and owner, Peter Tsialiamanis envisioned his restaurant as the embodiment of the Greek spirit of opa – a gathering place for guests to celebrate the basic elements of life: good food, drinks, and music enjoyed with family and friends. If you’ve experienced Taverna Opa, you would likely agree that Tsialiamanis has hit the bullseye.
A warning for the timid: You will be encouraged to leave your seat during the meal to jump into the Zorba, the traditional Greek line dane, or dance alongside the belly dancers while a confetti of twirling napkins swirl in the air. No need to be anxious about looking ridiculous because everyone participates at some point, making it an incredible experience. And just when you thought the night was over, Taverna Opa busts out a live DJ spinning a variety of Greek, Spanish, and Top 40 Hits.
Overall, the cuisine is equally as enjoyable as the dancing. Taverna Opa offers an assortment of traditionally prepared dishes including seafood and prime cuts of lamb, chicken, pork and beef. And for all you veggie lovers, Taverna Opa has you covered with scrumptious appetizers like the crispy zucchini sprinkled with Kasseri cheese or the sauteed asparagus with chopped tomato, garlic and a splash of wine. I recommend tasting the Tzatziki appetizer, a homemade Greek drained yogurt combined with cucumber, garlic, dill and evoo; full of tangy goodness, it’s probably one of the most popular Greek ingredients.
When you make your plans to head to Taverna Opa for an evening of food and fun, make sure to bring your dancing shoes! And word to the wise, breaking a plate may be fun but each plate costs $5 per bust. So keep your throwing arm at bay after the first plate.
9101 International Drive, Orlando
Photos courtesy of Taverna Opa Orlando