Just as the rains subside and leave local residents to dry out after a thorough drenching comes the mouth-watering news that Opa! Authentic Greek Cuisine is tentatively scheduled to open by May 15 at 325 Main St., replacing now-closed Zitune’s Moroccan fare.
With two other locations – San Jose’s Willow Glen district and downtown Los Gatos – Opa!’s Web site gives potential diners a tantalizing preview of what’s on the menu. And if reviews at Yelp.com and restaurant critics are to be believed, prepare to enjoy.
Since the April 2008 debut of its first location in San Jose, 463 reviews at Yelp overall award the restaurant four stars of five.
Most Yelpers seem to agree that Opa!’s fries are top notch, flavored with Greek spices and topped with feta cheese and herbs and well worth the $4.99 price. For $2 more, diners can have the deluxe version, served with tzatziki, yogurt flavored with cucumber, garlic and other spices, and gyro (yee-roh), skewered meat.
So maybe the wait will be worth it, too, because if diners like what they eat at the Los Gatos and San Jose Opa!s, they’ll like the dining in Los Altos.
“For the most part, our menus and specials are all consistent, and that’s what customers can expect,” said Opa! co-owner Molly Adams, who recently joined restaurant co-founders Spiro Tsaboukos and Angelo Heropoulos.
Adams said Heropoulos created the Opa! concept and executive chef Tsaboukos developed the menu.
“Spiro was raised in the restaurant business and spent time in Greece as a child,” she said. “His parents own Lou’s Diner in Los Gatos – and that’s been there a long time.”
Adams said Tsaboukos has produced an Opa! recipe book for the Greek-with-Mediterranean-flair recipes so that chefs don’t deviate from the ingredients, ensuring consistency.
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Opa! offers lunch and dinner: from appetizers priced from $4.99 to $11.99, assorted dips and spreads served with warm pita bread, entrees ranging from $15.99 to $22.99, daily specials and desserts – and, of course, the famous fries sprinkled with special spices and feta cheese. There is also a weekend-brunch menu.
Adams said the Main Street location is ideal for Opa!’s philosophy to serve a fresh, high-quality and authentic Greek cuisine in small, family-oriented communities.
“We love the space – it’s a gorgeous, gorgeous space,” Adams said. “It really fits in with what we’re trying to do.”
Adams said Opa!’s seating will be similar to Zitune’s – including outdoor dining – but colors and other aesthetic changes are under way inside.
“We just give it the Opa! feeling,” she said.
With more than 3,000 square feet and a seating capacity of 90, the larger Los Altos space should be good news for diners who have endured long lines at other Opa! restaurants for a bite to eat.
“Our other locations are smaller,” Adams said.
Diners get stuffed on the food just reading the menu. Like the Greek Cheesesteak Sandwich, a blend of gyro meat, sautéed onions and bell peppers blended with mozzarella cheese, served in a warm pita and topped with a spicy aioli. Or the Bifteki, a Greek burger with spiced ground beef and lamb served on a toasted bun, topped with tzatziki, ripe tomatoes, red onions and chopped mint, accompanied by a choice of sides for both – those famous fries or rice pilaf.
Despite its relatively small size, Opa! is growing in a big way, with another restaurant scheduled to open soon in Walnut Creek and other possibilities for expansion, including branching into a franchise.
“It’s definitely something we’ve talked about,” Adams said. “We’ll look for other areas that are a good fit.”
For more information, visit www.opawillowglen.com.