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Opening alert: Opa! in Palo Alto

Uploaded: Apr 28, 2015
Opa!, a Bay Area restaurant chain that champions "authentic Greek cuisine," opened Monday in downtown Palo Alto.

Opa! is now serving lunch, brunch and dinner at a downtown corner space recently notorious for short-lived restaurants. 140 University Ave. was last home to alkymists for less than two months, and before that, Palo Alto Grill for 15 months. alkymists suddenly shuttered in November 2014 and Opa! laid claim to the 3,926-square-foot space early this year.

Opa! owner Angelo Heropoulos, a a Bay Area native (who was actually born at Stanford Hospital), was a lawyer for many years until he turned a love for food into a business, opening the first Opa! in Willow Glen in 2008. The concept was designed for cost-conscious diners during the Recession: "We wanted to make quality affordable," Heropoulos said.

He took family recipes (both his parents were born in Greece, came to the United States at a young age and now are back in their home country) and "put a California twist on them," he said. The menu is vast, with numerous Greek-style appetizers, spreads, salads, flatbreads, gyros, pita sandwiches, souvlaki, grilled meats and fish and plenty of less traditional items like sliders and a cheesesteak pita sandwich.

Opa! now operates six restaurants in the Bay Area: Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Willow Glen, Walnut Creek and Campbell. The Palo Alto location has some new menu items and a "refined" wine program, Heropoulos said.

A fun anecdote: Heropoulos said he actually dined at Miyake for many years -- the tenant of 140 University Ave. for decades before Palo Alto Grill -- while still a lawyer.

"If you would have come to me 10 years ago and said, 'Hey angelo, you're going to own this restaurant (space) and you're going to open a Greek place,' I would have looked at you and said, 'You're absolutely nuts.'"

Opa! Palo Alto will be open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Happy hour is Monday through Friday, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. with small plates for $4.50, half-off house wine and other drink specials.

Readers: Has anyone dined at the other local Opa! locations? What was it like?
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Michael, a resident of another community,
on Apr 28, 2015 at 9:16 pm

I've eaten at Opa! Los Altos once. It was mediocre Greek-ish food, but competent and very popular. In this price range I prefer the Sunnyvale places like Athena Grill and Asteria Grill.

Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park,
on Apr 28, 2015 at 10:51 pm

I highly recommend Galata Bistro in Menlo Park. Excellent food and reasonable prices.

Posted by Yanni, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 29, 2015 at 6:23 am

The name of the chain, Opa!, is cliche. Will it also feature roaming wait staff smashing cheap plates on the floor for show, reviving memories of tourist traps in Greece?

We'll see. I hope they can distinguish their food from the Turks in PA; down University and near California Ave.

Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park,
on Apr 29, 2015 at 1:56 pm

I'm part Greek and I cringed when I saw the name of this restaurant.

Posted by the Greek, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables,
on May 2, 2015 at 6:35 am

Galata is not Greek. They have good food its not Greek. Yanni you can cringe all you want

Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park,
on May 2, 2015 at 8:00 am

Galata is Middle Eastern, which the restaurant states on their own website.

Kebabs, pita, and falafel are all Middle Eastern foods.

There are a couple of Greek items on their menu, but it is >85% Middle Eastern cuisine.

Galata is a reference to the old citadel near historic Constantinople (today it is part of modern day Istanbul). There's a Galata Tower built by the Genoese in the 14th century which replaced an earlier Byzantine structure.

Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park,
on May 2, 2015 at 8:05 am

Note that the famous Istanbul soccer club Galatasaray is named after this same citadel.

Posted by LAH resident, a resident of Los Altos Hills,
on May 2, 2015 at 9:50 pm

I continue to be amazed that in an area with so much money purveyors of overpriced tasteless food like Opa thrive.

Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park,
on May 2, 2015 at 10:07 pm

Guys, I don't think I said Galata was a Greek restaurant, although it falls it a reasonably similar category of Mediterraean. I also like Sultana in Menlo Park for similar fare, and yes, I know it's not a Greek restaurant either. :)


Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park,
on May 2, 2015 at 10:16 pm


The blog posting is about Opa!, a restaurant that describes itself as "authentic Greek." Thus any commentaries and recommendations for competitive restaurants would naturally be assumed to be "authentic Greek" since that is the topic of conversation.

In the same vein, if the article were about "authentic Nicaraguan," one would expect recommendations/discussion to stay in that category, and not veer toward taquerias.

Until you mentioned your alleged heritage, there's no way anyone here would have known your basic grasp of culinary differences. And even then, you still did not differentiate between Greek and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park,
on May 2, 2015 at 10:17 pm

That said, we appreciate your recommendation for good Middle Eastern cuisine, despite the tangent from the topic at hand...


Posted by Ottoman, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 3, 2015 at 7:46 am

Lighten up, Jay Park. Call it "Middle Eastern", "Greek", whatever, it's all Ottoman cuisine.

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