Opa Dubai is named after the Greek expression – ‘Opa!’ – which is used to communicate shock or surprise and also has a plethora of meanings in Greek pop culture, including its association with plate smashing and dancing.
The story of this homegrown gem started when a gentleman called Christos moved to Dubai. Or rather, more specifically, when Christos’ food-loving father Kyriakos visited him in the UAE and found that Greek food was a little limited. It was then that he set about bringing his own brand of Greek food and hospitality to the emirate and the seed for Opa Dubai was planted.
Located within the Fairmont Hotel in the Trade Centre Area, Opa will transport you a pretty terrace in Santorini. As soon as you exit the lift and enter the restaurant you are welcomed into a secret garden vibe, complete with pink bougainvillaea crawling the walls, portraits of Santorini, tiny Greek sculptures and romantic, twinkling candlelight.
The menu is divided between dips and cold starters, salads, hot starters, Greek-style pizza, main courses, sides and then dessert. The Huntr visited Opa on a Tuesday night. We whetted our appetites with Pita Bread (18AED) – two pieces of grilled pita bread with olive oil and oregano. Opa Hummus (35AED), chickpeas with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, crispy lamb, chilli oil and roasted pine nuts and (our favourite) Tzatsiki (30AED), yoghurt with cucumber, dill, and roasted garlic. We also sampled the Fig and Honey Walnut Salad (50AED), which is comprised of rocket leaves, mixed cress, Graviera Naxos and Cretian honey vinaigrette along with the Grilled Octopus (95AED), from the hot starters section of the menu. The tender and flavourful octopus is served on a white bean puree with capers, olives, roasted red pepper, lemon herbs, and green harissa. For the main event, we opted for the Pastitsio (85AED), rigatoni stuffed with Wagyu beef topped with bechamel sauce and the Grilled Baby Chicken (95AED) – marinated baby chicken, tzatziki, green olive powder and natural jus. With full stomachs we managed to squeeze in dessert and boy are we glad we did. The highlight of the meal, the OPA Baklava Sundae (50AED) features a crispy filo cup filled with pistachio cream, homemade pistachio, caramel and Greek yoghurt ice-cream, with pieces of baklava topped with caramel sauce, crispy filo and mashed pistachio. The combinations of flavours and textures and really spectacular. Don’t miss it.
Drinks-wise Opa Dubai is fully-licensed and offers a variety of cocktails, wines, beers and spirits alongside mocktails and soft drinks. The Huntr tried the OPA (60AED) cocktail featuring a floral and dulcet blend bourbon, homemade fig marmalade, black tea with Greek honey and sesame and the IPOVRIXIO (40AED) mocktail, an aromatic fruity digestive with peach, orange, floral syrup and traditional Greek mastiha mousse.
We loved Opa’s traditional Greek entertainment featuring music, dancing and plate smashing – guests are invited to participate and throw plates, and stand up and join in with the dancing. It’s a lot of fun and takes place twice in one night, once around 9.30pm and once closer to closing time.
Insider tips: Smoking allowed in the bar area only. Advance reservations strongly recommended. Opa opens at 7pm daily and closes at 1am on weekdays and 2am on weekends. There are two dinner session – one from 7pm until 9.30pm and one from 9.30pm until close. The plate smashing happens at the end of each session. There are ample vegetarian options on the starters, dips, salads and Greek pizza-style sections of the menu, but not the main courses (which are all meat and fish creations).