“Opa” is a Greek word that means “party” or “get down,” an exclamation of joy and celebration.
From what we tasted at the aptly named Opa, 1311 Sansom St., you might have that very reaction when your meal is done. The new Greek tapas restaurant knows how to elicit joy.
Forgive us for not delving too deeply into the main entrées, and not even making it to the desserts, for this review, as we got stampeded, steamrolled and avalanched by Opa’s appetizers.
And we’re not complaining.
If you end up doing nothing more than sip cocktails and nibble on appetizers at this cozy and stylish establishment, you’re leading a full and happy life.
The appetizers aren’t too complex but pack a lot of flavor. The mini gyros ($9) were addictive, as were the keftedes ($11), succulent veal meatballs in a rich tomato sauce.
The plates without meat impressed too. The pikilia ($11), a platter of pita bread, vegetables, hummus and other spreadables, was far better than your average hummus dish. The vegetables were so fresh and tasty, we almost didn’t need any of the dips. Also better than the sum of its parts was the saganaki ($7), a serving of kaseri cheese seared and topped with a splash of lemon juice and liqueur.
Zucchini usually isn’t our thing, but we gobbled up Opa’s crispy and tender zucchini chips ($10) faster than we did anything else that hit the table.
We also tasted the zimi ($6), a baked feta-cheese-filled pita, which underwhelmed us.
Things rebounded in superb fashion with the grilled octopus ($12) — perfect enough on its own, but all the more appealing served with an equally good chickpea fondue.
Opa also knows how to put together a drink. The specialty cocktails are interesting and include the Opa martini ($10), a concoction of white wine, lemon and orange blossom; the Portokali ($11), rye vodka, blood orange and ouzo; and the Koukla ($9), pineapple vodka, lemon and lavender. It takes a sip or two to wrap your head around the flavors, but it’s all love and the risk of a hangover after that.
The entrées we tried were as memorable as the appetizers. The bifteki ($12), a feta-stuffed burger topped with tomato, dill and cucumber relish, is hands-down one of the most perfect examples of a burger and fries you can get in the city: It’s juicy and delicious.
The striped bass ($18) was flawless as well. The perfectly cooked piece of fish rested on a bed of sautéed spinach and was accompanied by an excellent garbanzo-bean soufflé.
Now do you understand why we couldn’t drag ourselves to any of the desserts?