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I love I-drive, it’s full of food, music and fun times. Taverna Opa has all three. Some of the locals may be dissuaded to coming here due to the fact it’s on I-drive but I embrace it. How many places can you go on a weekday and feel like it’s the weekend? One of the great things about living in Orlando is that, I have the ability to play “tourist” and then go back to my normal routine. Taverna Opa gives me that experience and I’m certain for anyone else who goes, they’ll have a great time.
Taverna Opa is a Greek restaurant highlighting food and entertainment. It’s located on the second floor of Pointe Orlando, next to B.B. Kings Restaurant. Ample seating is available inside, it’s great for groups and celebrating any occasion. I remember the last time I was here, I was celebrating my birthday. And yes, I did get on top of the table. It’s been awhile since I had been back but I’m glad I went again.
Upon entering, there’s a massive tree in the middle with lights. Full bar on the left, the kitchen is straight ahead. It’s definitely spacious inside. People are dancing, paper napkins are being thrown in the air, just fantastic atmosphere. (For those wondering about the paper napkins being thrown, it’s been four times recycled.) They even have a belly dancers here. If all this entertainment isn’t your thing, there is outdoor seating too.
At Taverna Opa, they give you a wooden mortar and pestle where you mash your own hummus. The hummus here is more of a typical flavor. I prefer a heavier garlic flavor but it certainly was enjoyable with the warm pita bread. If chickpeas isn’t your style, the Tzatziki appetizer is very good. It’s a cool strained cucumber-dill yogurt served with pita bread.
Ah, spanakopita, a definite favorite of mines. Classic spinach and feta pie in phyllo dough. The combination of spinach and feta cheese can’t be beat. I also ate some of lamb chops. Absolutely delicious! It’s succulent, flavorful, cooked perfectly and not to mention it’s marinated for 36 hours. I highly recommend getting the lamb chops. The chicken kabobs is another good option. It’s a tender chicken breast on stick with delicate subtle flavors. Great for those who want to enjoy the natural flavor of chicken. The chicken kabobs is served with the spinach rice. I do feel the name “spinach rice” is a bit misleading because as I ate the rice, I wasn’t thinking “Boy, I really taste that spinach”. Nonetheless, I thought the rice tasted great.
During my meal, I had the Eros Martini. Very tasty, if I do say so myself. It’s got Absolut raspberry vodka, cranberry juice, and a splash of lime. The Pomegranate Martini had Pama liqueur, Absolut citron, a splash of cranberry juice and a splash of sour. Not bad but the Eros Martini was definitely tastier. There’s a full bar here with lots of drink choices whether it’s beer, wine, liquor, or specialty drinks.
Last but not least, I had some baklava. I will admit, I’m not the biggest fan of baklava because often times, I find that it’s too sweet for me. I really enjoyed the baklava here. It was sweet but not to the point where I could only have a few bites. The baklava had great balance between the spices and honey. Yum!
As I enjoyed my meal, I had the opportunity to speak with Evan (one of the managers) and Vassilis Coumbaros (the general manager). Evan took the time to talk to me about some the special events they have here. Vassilis (aka Victor) came by and we chatted for a little bit. Great guys and I just had an all-around great time here, between the food and the festivities.
Come for the lamb chops, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re wanting to go somewhere with some good eats and fun times, this is the place! OPA!
Sun – Thurs 11:00am – 11:00pm
Fri – Sat 11:00am – 2:00am
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In the Mills50 district area, the Asian restaurants are great but what about other cuisines? Located on Mills Ave, Atilla’s Steak & Salad features sandwiches, salads, steaks, pizza and Turkish cuisine. I have past it many times but it never stood out to me. Since it is located close to work, it was a good opportunity to try this restaurant out. Outdoor seating is available and the dining room itself isn’t very big. What was big, was the friendly service. The servers were very pleasant, prompt and helpful with the menu.
The decor inside was very clean looking, a few decorations here and there on the wall but nothing exciting. The silence in the restaurant was very apparent, some background music would have been appreciated. As I had mentioned before, there was pizza listed on the menu but only cheese or Mediterranean. Not much options as far as that goes. That’s ok, I didn’t come here for the pizza instead I wanted to see how good this “Turkish cuisine” is. The Adana Kebab and the Kofte stuck out to me. The Adana Kebab is the spicy meatloaf. Spicy, they say? Let’s see about that. Whichever dish shall I choose? The options, the options… Well, luckily they have a mix and match option which definitely works for me! The spicy meatloaf it is and the kofte (grilled meatballs). The Turkish entrees come with your choice of a side item (side salad, shepherd salad, eggplant dip salad, spinach dip salad, potato salad, black-eye bean salad, french fries, mashed potato). That’s quite a bit of side items there.
The eggplant dip salad sounded good. I automatically thought it was going to be baba ganoush. Baba ganoush is a wonderful eggplant dip dish that had cooked eggplant mashed with olive oil and seasonings. It’s very similar to hummus but made with eggplant instead. This eggplant dip salad (Patlican Ezme) was more yogurt based. It wasn’t bad at all, just definitely not what I expected. They ought to call it a yogurt dip. The eggplant flavor didn’t come through as much as I had hoped. The two little pitas were cute though. The spinach dip salad (Ispanak Ezme) was yogurt based as well. At least the spinach flavor was more prevalent. I definitely could have used more garlic as well. Both dishes are served cold and I recommend you save some of the dip for the actual entree.
It didn’t take long before my meal arrived, it smelled amazing! I’m ready to chow down! The Kofte (grilled meatballs) typically have herbs and other various seasonings mixed in with the meat. It was bland for me. The texture wasn’t overdone but the flavor was lacking. The spicy meatloaf was actually spicy. You could see the red pepper flakes in it, and it wasn’t too spicy. The heat was a good amount that you could feel it but didn’t have the sweating or the runny nose. I really should have just ordered the Adana Kebab. The grilled peppers and tomatoes were a tasty addition. The red onions can be a bit strong for some but if you love onions then you’ll definitely enjoy these. Raw onions with dill, parsley and some other spices added some more textures to the dish. The bulgur pilav is a pilaf dish similar to couscous/quinoa. It’s got a little bit of a firm yet fluffy texture. And beneath all the meat is my pita bread. Oh yeah, about that…
All in all, I enjoyed my meal and left full. I didn’t even get a chance to order any dessert. Aside from the bland meatballs, I’ll be back here. Who knew this little spot would have been so good? Check this place out and remember to save your dip for the meat.