Taverna Opa at Dolphin Mall serves up a taste of Greece

The newest Taverna Opa, which debuted at Dolphin Mall on Apr. 1, will be the ultimate dining and entertainment destination. Taverna Opa is an inviting eatery, which serves up delicious Greek, family-style cuisine in a warm and welcoming ambiance. Diners are energized by the blend of house and Greek music, courtesy of a talented deejay, and they are also encouraged to dance on the tables during dinner and into the wee hours.

A sophisticated sound system and a dramatic laser light system add to the energetic vibe during the evening. The servers also participate in Greek “Zorba” style dancing to a variety of traditional Greek songs, and they also toss copious amounts of white paper napkins up in the air throughout the evening. Several belly dancers, dressed in traditional garb, entertain diners every night between at 8 p.m. and midnight.

Thursday evenings include a Ladies’ Night promotion, featuring half-price cocktails for women, from 9 p.m. to midnight.

This restaurant brings a definitive taste of Greece to the Dolphin Mall. Diners truly can enjoy themselves in a fun, uplifting environment where they are treated like family. The restaurant also provides diners with a total escape — a place where they can celebrate life.

This Taverna Opa is a franchise of the original Taverna Opa, which opened in Hollywood, FL, in September 1997. The restaurant is a visually pleasing eatery, with an interior design that captures the flavor of the Greek islands.

The interior is dressed in shades of white and blue, with textured white walls, handmade dark wooden tables and chairs, and pale blue glass vases and bottles of varying shapes and sizes. The high ceilings sport suspended dark wooden beams and the walls are accented with glass and wood sconces and pale blue painted shutters framing faux windows. An open kitchen adds to the conviviality and provides a steady stream of enticing aromas.

The restaurant is appealing to diners of all ages, from singles to families to couples on dates. Diners enjoy their meals inside the restaurant or outside on the festive patio. There also are indoor and outdoor bars, which are perfect for enjoying a refreshing libation or having a light bite or a multi-course meal.

All of the diners, at this festive spot, receive complimentary hummus (a combination of chick peas and olive oil) that is brought to each table in a mortar with a pestle — to be gently mashed — with warm triangles of pita bread. This soul-satisfying starter is the perfect prelude to the multitude of wonderful Greek dishes that are created by talented restaurant chef Joanna Lazarou, who hails from Athens.

Favorite traditional Greek dishes include pastitsio (known as Greek lasagna, which is comprised of layers of thick macaroni and seasoned ground beef, which is topped by a creamy bechamel sauce); moussaka (also known as the Greek flag, which is comprised of layers of roasted eggplant, potatoes and ground beef, which is topped with creamy bechamel sauce); melitzanosalata (traditional roasted eggplant spread); taramosalata (caviar spread); keftedes (ground beef with fresh herbs); spanakopita (baked phyllo with spinach, feta, leeks, and fresh herbs), and saganakia (flaming cheese).

Other menu favorites include whole fish, rack of lamb, crispy calamari, lamb chops, lemon chicken, a variety of gyros, and even some thin-crust pizzas. Platters are popular with large groups and Taverna Opa serves seafood and meat versions.

There also are plenty of salads, for diners who prefer lighter fare. The Greek salad is available in small and large portions. The Opa salad is comprised of shrimp, octopus, calamari, lettuce, and tomatoes.

No meal, at Taverna Opa, would be complete without a traditional sweet ending. The house-made baklava is the restaurant’s signature dessert, which is a luscious treat thanks to a nifty combination of walnuts, honey, cinnamon, and cloves.

Taverna Opa seats some 300 diners, inside and outside, and is a great destination for large parties, including birthdays, Sweet 16 celebrations, bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, corporate events, and business networking.

Taverna Opa serves lunch and dinner daily. The restaurant is open from noon until 4 a.m. Tables are on a first-come, first-serve basis, except for parties of 10 or more (who can make reservations). For reservations or additional information, contact Taverna Opa, at the Dolphin Mall, 11401 NW 12 St., at 305-513-8388. The restaurant’s website is < www.opadolphinmall.com >.

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