My title may say this café defies labels, but perhaps it’s more accurate to say that OPA! on South Lamar invites many descriptions – wine bar, café, restaurant, student study haven, happy hour spot and casual hangout.
Stone walls outline an extensive front porch perfect for basking in the Saturday sun with a discounted cocktail. Deep in the café, however, are rich wooden tables, couches and red paneled walls where both heavy studiers and intimate chatters can find a haven.
Meanwhile, solo visitors perch at the coffee bar under strings of hanging pots and cups, watching the barkeep sling drinks and take orders with practiced skill.
Caffeine Addict or Wino? OPA! Has You Covered
OPA! offers an assortment of caffeine options, and your choice will vary depending on how you prefer your joe. For my dinner, I chose an espresso con pana which tempers sips of rich, bitter espresso with a lick of whipped cream. OPA! also features drip coffee from local company Texas Coffee Traders, Greek coffee, other espresso drinks and even iced toddy.
On the other end of the drink spectrum, happy hour cannot be beat. The hours stretch from 3-7 PM every day, significantly including Saturday and all day on Sunday. Specials are offered on well drinks, certain wines, sangria and more. Their Irish Coffee is delicious, and they carry local brews like Austin Eastciders and Austin Beerworks. Enjoy your concoction with live music, often playing on Thursdays and Fridays.
Greek Comfort Food and…Pizza?
To try the food, I went all out. I chose a seasonal dish ideal for the rainy day: moussaka. Although OPA!’s website describes the entree as a “Greek casserole,” it’s more akin to a potpie. Soft, warm eggplant and spiced beef is stuffed inside a flaky, golden crust. I have never before consumed such tender and flavorful eggplant. “Ah, comfort food,” the bartender said as I ordered. It’s true.
Afterwards, I was so satisfied I nearly took a nap at my table. Rather than featuring complex flavors at war, the moussaka is a masterpiece of complementary flavors that meld together.
The moussaka was preceded by a small Greek salad. This salad was no sad, uninspired house version. It was heaped with chunks of feta cheese, cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes, kalamata olives and green peppers, all glimmering with an olive oil based dressing. The ingredients were fresh, crisp and accompanied by pieces of pita bread.
The pizza must also be mentioned. When I tried the pepperoni pie with feta ordered by my companion, it was thin-crusted and colorful with pepperonis curled up nicely at the ends. Five well-priced choices fill out the pizza selection at OPA!
Experience an OPA! Moment for Yourself
As I sat on the open porch spotted with eclectic tables, chairs, benches and couches, a friendly blonde woman brought an order to my table. After a moment of conversation, she introduced herself as one of the owners. Her husband is Greek and they opened this restaurant together.
The care implemented in the décor, food and drinks, and atmosphere choices are apparent. This is a well-loved establishment, and people love going here as a result.
Give OPA! a try. According to their Facebook page, they will have live music during SXSW, including Dale Watson & the Lone Stars and many other local artists.
Located at 2050 S Lamar Blvd – Website
@erinmayyyy wants to know:
What is your favorite food or drink choice at OPA!?
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