Is it O-pa or Oh-no at Dubaiâ€™s latest Greek restaurant?
Itâ€™s safe to say Greek food is having a moment in the city, with arrivals such as Ammos in Dubai Marina and Gaia by chef Izu Ani putting Greek cuisine firmly on the Dubai map. So what can the latest homegrown concept, Opa, do to stand out?
Well, Opa certainly looks the part. Itâ€™s accessed through a private lift on the side of the Fairmont hotel, so it feels separate, almost like youâ€™re stepping into a Greek hideaway. Once you walk out of the elevator, thereâ€™s a lush Santorini vibe. The vast reception area is an oasis of leafy foliage and colourful florals, and as we approach the reception desk, diners are lining up to snap a selfie with the stunning backdrop.
The authentic interiors continue as weâ€™re led into the restaurant, which is a cosy whitewashed space, with bright blue accents and vibrant pink florals creeping along the walls. Itâ€™s a well laid-out space, with private booths and larger tables in the centre, designed for big groups enjoying Greek feasts as they would in the homeland.
The menu is split simply into dips, cold starters, salads, hot starters, Greek-style pizzas and mains, with all dishes designed to share.
While you might naturally gravitate straight to starters, the dips are not to be missed. Pita bread (Dhs18) is served warm, and we dunk each piece into a light tzatziki (Dhs30) and punchy Opa hummus (Dhs35). Itâ€™s served alongside a beautifully presented and flavourful tuna tartare (Dhs65). A Greek salad (Dhs45) is a simple dish with a slight overserving of feta, that arrives with the grilled octopus (Dhs80). It is another well-presented dish, and although the flavours of
white bean puree, olives and roasted red pepper work well together, the octopus is slightly overcooked.
Mains are a highlight. The steamed seabass (Dhs140) is a fresh, flaky fish served on artichoke puree and crushed green olives, while the Kleftiko (Dhs120), a traditional dish of braised lamb shoulder was tender, and we heaped it onto our fork with a creamy feta mash and mint jus.
Although the restaurant is full on our visit, servers move swiftly and effortlessly around each table, without being
Youâ€™ll want to stick around until later in the evening for some brilliant â€“ and unique â€“ live entertainment. Come 9.30pm, the serving staff transform into a line of Zorba dancers, who dance their way around the restaurant, making it almost impossible not to get up and join in, My Big Fat Greek Wedding style. Each table is also given a plate per person, which theyâ€™re invited to smash on the floor on cue â€“ thatâ€™s one way to save washing up, we suppose.
The menu is reasonably priced compared to some of its pricier Downtown neighbours, and thanks to a traditional menu, charming interiors and lively entertainment, youâ€™ll leave Opa having had a smashing time â€“ in every sense of the word.
Opa, Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 7pm to 1am. Tel (04) 3570557.Â facebook.com/OpaDubai