May 19, 2019 Opa Souvlaki update
There’s a new Opa Sovlaki location in town. This one is one Portage Avenue, across the street from the University of Winnipeg. It’s in one of the old U of W buildings. I can’t remember what department it housed most recently, but if you go back far enough in it’s history it was a one-time Royal Bank branch.
The opening of the new restaurant is good news, in that both the Garbonzo’s and Starbucks in the University of Winnipeg Annex have been closed meaning there were a couple of fewer dining options immediately surrounding the school. Not that it’s too bad, because there are still a good dozen or so choices within about three square blocks.
A basic platter from Opa Souvlaki. Opa shares the space with a new coffee and dessert cafe. I didn’t remember to right down the name of the cafe, but it features coffee and a variety of pastries that reflect a diverse range of countries and cuisines. I’ll be checking it out in the next little while. the space itself is long and narrow. The windows on the side of the building let in quite a bit of natural light, giving the place a bright feeling. The tables are of the sort that you would find in just about any fast food restaurant. During the school year, I imagine it will fill up quite a lot, but when I went in there was only one other table in use.
I was looking for something fairly cheap and straightforward, so I ordered the souvlaki platter. They also order wraps and such buyt I’ve never been a big fan of wraps as I find them quite messy. The platter is a good deal in that it gives you a little bit of many things. I got the beef souvlaki, and it comes with rice, a potato, a Greek Salad, and a pita(cut up into quarters). There is also a small container of tzatziki for dipping.
Everything was well seasoned. I liked that the potato was not overcooked. I also really liked that the pita was light and fluffy. This is a good addition to the neighbourhood and one which I will definitely drop into from time to time.
Tuesday I got the chance to hang out with some of my blogging buddies and try a new restaurant. This time we had been invited up to Opa! Souvlaki in Kenaston Common. This is the second Opa! Souvlaki in Winnipeg. The first which is about 5-6 years old is in Polo Park, while this location is approaching it’s first birthday. I’ve never visited either location, although my friend and ministry colleague Greg Glatz is a big fan of the Polo Park site.
Once we had all gathered, we were greeted by co-owner Fatima Kostas. Along with her welcome she offered us Spanikopita to whet our appetites. While Fatima was welcoming us, her business partner and husband Klaus, was at the grill preparing our food. Throughout the evening they were gracious and attentive hosts. It wasn’t surprising to discover that when they did their grand opening last year, they used it as an opportunity to raise funds for Boy & Girls Clubs.
My last experience with fast casual Mediterranean food was Taste of Mediterranean. Opa! Souvlaki was the complete opposite of that. Fresh was the order of the day for the food we were served. It started with Spanikopita and went straight through to the Baklava that we were served for dessert.
A couple of things really stood out for me. The meat skewers we were served gave us a chance to sample the beef, chicken, and the lamb. The lamb was really good and still had a little bit of pink at the center. The Greek Salad was a proper one, that is no lettuce. I also really enjoyed the potatoes with a hint of lemon. The best part of the potatoes is that they weren’t overcooked, retaining just the right amount of hardness when you bit into them. Finally the pita bread they served was the lightest and fluffiest that I can remember eating. Too often the pita you get served is dull and a little bit heavy.
While we were dining Klaus came along and offered us some Calamari. This was good and tender and not chewy as it sometimes can be.
As always, when I get together with my food blogging friends, laughter is at the heart of the evening. There was much story-telling and we ended the evening with a trivia quiz on matters Greek. My years of Reach for the Top, stood me in good stead.
Over the last few months I have increasingly found myself in this area of town. I recently tried Wok Box and I had tried the now closed Extreme Pita. Having now been to Opa! Souvlaki, I think I’ve found a place that bears repeat visits. While I may try some of the other restaurants in the area, it’s nice to know that there is a go to kind of place in the neighbourhood.