Taverna Opa Makes A Splash On South Beach

Authentic Greek taverna, a festive addition to South Florida Neighborhood

Peter Tsialiamanis is opening the third location of his wildly popular restaurant, Taverna Opa, in South Beach in late March 2003. The 250-seat eatery is housed in a rustic one-story building located at 36-40 Ocean Drive. Tsialiamanis says, In Greece, tavernas are a cozy place for family and friends to go and enjoy a bite to eat. Thats why I believe Taverna Opa will fit in perfectly with the south of 5th street district. Unlike other areas of Miami Beach, it has a real neighborhood feel. Sensitive to the needs of the condo owners in close proximity to the restaurant, Tsialiamanis has installed eight-inch thick installation to minimize any sound escaping from the building. Tsialiamanis continues, I want to be a good neighbor and hope that the locals will consider this a home away from home.

A veteran restauranteur, Tsialiamanis opened the original Taverna Opa in Hollywood, Florida in 1998. He envisioned the restaurant as the embodiment of the Greek spirit of opa  a gathering place for guests to celebrate the basic elements of life  good, simple food, drink, and music, enjoyed with family and friends. That philosophy holds true today at the rustic, authentic Greek taverna. Tsialiamanis is known to perform a traditional Greek dance or two and late at night the vibrant music sometimes whips guests into a frenzy. Following the success of the Hollywood restaurant, Tsialiamanis launched Taverna Opa, Fort Lauderdale, on the Intracoastal Waterway in August 2002.

A native of Greece, Tsialiamanis also owns Giorgios Mediterranean Village, a $6 million restaurant complex in Hollywood, Florida that encompasses Giorgios Grill, Giorgios Bakery and Market and the original Taverna Opa.

Taverna Opas simple, yet appetizing menu is a compilation of Tsialiamanis family recipes and traditional Greek dishes served in tavernas in his native Greece. A true organic and interactive experience, Tsialiamanis starts guests off with fresh baked bread and a mortar and pestle filled with garbanzo beans, olive oil and garlic to crush into a delicious humus. Since a taverna is meant to be a place to share great food with friends, waiters will suggest guests order a selection of traditional meze, the Greek take on tapas ($2 - $9.50), including spreads such as tzatziki, fresh goats milk yogurt, cucumber and dill. Dolmadakia, rice wrapped in grape leaves, is another favorite. There are also several seafood and vegetarian meze such as succulent sauteed scallops dressed with garlic, tomatoes and parsley, crispy fried calamari and a creamy eggplant, garlic, potato spread topped with shredded Feta cheese.

Salads ($3.50 - $5.75) are also meant for sharing. They include horiatiki, a Greek country salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, Feta cheese and Kalamata olives and panzari, a red beet, red onion and walnut salad seasoned with red wine vinaigrette. Mainplate selections ($5.75 - $16.00) can be ordered a la carte or a waiter can mix and match meat and seafood specialties for a customized family style meal. All mainplates are served with lemon potatoes and range from fresh fish to chicken and lamb. Many dishes are prepared on the restaurants signature wood fired grill, which is kindled with grapewood and oak chips.
Taverna Opa South Beach
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Grilled fish is usually served whole and seasoned with fresh herbs, lemon and olive oil. Fillets are also available and daily specials (market price) often include locally caught fish such as oak grilled snapper, swordfish steak and salmon. Lamb, a staple in Greek cooking, is featured in dishes such as lamb chops marinated in oregano and garlic and lamb steak seasoned with rosemary, oregano and garlic. Other meat specialties include souvlaki, skewered chicken or pork seasoned with oregano, garlic and marjoram, an ancient


Amelia Alonso
Susan Brustman & Associates
(305) 573-0658