Recap of Taverna Opa Magical Dining Menu and Tips to Enjoy Visit Orlando Magical Dining Month at Home
Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month kicked off on August 28th with a twist. The program, now in its 15th year, allows diners to experience fine dining at a great value at over 70 restaurants around Orlando.
Tired of cooking at home? The three course menus include gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options as well as additional enhancements. Make reservations as restaurants are operating at reduced capacity. Dine in or get takeout (new this year!) while showing support for local businesses and helping to feed others in need.
For 38 days including six weekends, we get to experience some of Orlando’s best restaurants. The program ends on October 4th, 2020. And you don’t want to miss out.
Taverna Opa invited me to experience their Magical Dining menu and we had a wonderful travel inspired experience with Magical Dining at home. I’m under no obligation to provide this review and all opinions are my own. As always, I only share experiences I love to inspire you to go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time.
Check out my tips for an epic Magical Dining at home experience and recap of Taverna Opa Magical Dining Menu ahead.
Go from this….
What’s new with Visit Orlando Magical Dining in 2020?
It’s 2020. Like all else, Visit Orlando Magical Dining promotion is different. These days, it’s not magical if it’s not safe. Therefore, we now have Magical Dining with safety in mind.
New additions encourage dining with confidence. Participating restaurants are going above and beyond with new safety measures. Takeout and delivery meal options for in-home dining is the new feature we are most excited about. The website also designates venues that also offer open-air and outdoor dining.
View menus of participating restaurants online and make reservations. Also, check the website often for new restaurant additions.
Taverna Opa Serves the Best Greek Food in Orlando!
Taverna Opa is local owned and operated by husband and wife team Vassilis and Katerina Coumbaros. Located at Pointe Orlando on International Drive, it recently celebrated its 13th anniversary and continues to be a local favorite for authentic Greek cuisine and a fun atmosphere. Nightly belly dancing, high energy dance music and napkins thrown in the air always make it a fun place to celebrate! And, we need fun now more than ever, don’t we?
Taverna Opa has implemented extensive health and safety precautions for guests to dine socially distanced in their expansive dining room and covered outdoor patio.
While I absolutely love the restaurant ambiance, I chose to pick up my order and enjoy a more relaxed experience at home. If you’re concerned about dining out right now, this was a fantastic option. Napkins were provided so I could have a little Opa style fun at home like they do in the restaurant!
Taverna Opa Magical Dining Menu
The Taverna Opa Magical Dining Menu features a choice of their most popular appetizers, entrees and desserts. You can’t go wrong with any item you order. You can also enhance your entree by making it a Surf and Turf. Add a lobster tail for $22! And it wouldn’t be a great meal without wine and cocktails. They’ve offered wine and cocktail flights for $16 to make it a fun evening!
Close your eyes and let your palate take you on a journey to Greece!
Let’s Start our Opa Magical Dining at Home Experience!
We chose the Horiatiki “Traditional Greek Salad” with cucumber, vine ripe tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, peppers, and feta tossed with extra virgin olive oil and fresh oregano. It’s my favorite Greek Salad anywhere in Orlando! The quality of the ingredients shines.
Other appetizer options included the Saganaki vlahotiri cheese flamed tableside and the Crispy Calamari with lemon.
Main Course To The Next Level!
The restaurant is offering three fantastic entree options: 10oz Filet Mignon, Lamb Chops and Lavraki Branzino. Tough choice! We decided on the ones we don’t often have at home. It’s not every day we get to enjoy lamb chops and branzino, so those won our vote.
How often do you get to eat high quality, perfectly cooked lamb at home? The 36-hour garlic and fresh herb marinated lamb chops were incredibly flavorful. The restaurant sources domestic, grass fed lamb which renders a less gamey flavor. They even held up well after a quick reheating in the oven at home. Served with Yia Yia’s vegetables and lemon potatoes.
Whole Lavraki Branzino with fresh lemon and olive oil was my absolute favorite. Mediterranean sea bass is flown in fresh from Greece on a weekly basis. Char-broiled on the grill, it was incredibly flaky, meaty and flavorful. An additional squeeze of grilled lemon put it over the top. Watch out for bones, but we ate it all, even the skin. Served with wild greens and spinach rice. Portions were so plentiful we had leftovers for lunch the next day.
End Magical Dining at Home on a Sweet Note!
For dessert we chose the Baklava and Loukoumades. This was not your ordinary baklava! A giant portion with walnuts, cinnamon, cloves, and honey.
Who could say no to donuts? The Loukoumades, Greek style donuts with honey syrup were scrumptious! Topped with chopped walnuts and I drizzled a bit more honey at home after popping them under the broiler for 2 minutes to warm them up.
Fun Cocktail Flight To Go!
Cocktails and wine to go are the best thing to come out of this pandemic. I highly recommend adding this enhancement for only $16 per flight.
We started with cocktails by the pool. Hey, it’s not the azure waters of Greece but we can close our eyes and pretend.
“Aphrodite’s Kiss” with Ketel One Grapefruit Rose vodka, Elderflower, Prosecco and orange twist was a lovely aperitif, light and fun.
“Apollo Gives You Wings” with Ketel One cucumber mint vodka, melon liqueur and sweet and sour garnished with mint and fresh cucumber was refreshing.
“Ambrosia Nectar” with Metaxa 7 Star Greek brandy, Carolan’s Irish cream, nutmeg and chocolate was a fun milkshake like dessert cocktail. We topped it with fresh whipped cream at home to spruce it up. It paired perfectly with the Loukoumades Greek donuts.
Wine Pairings Flight
Ga’ia (pronounced Yay-ya) Monograph Moschofilero is a dry white wine with notes of rose petal and spice from the Mantinia region of Peloponnese in Greece. It’s bright acidity and floral bouquet paired nicely with the Greek salad and the Bronzino.
Ga’ia Monograph Agiorgitiko, a smooth red wine with a fruity finish from the Nemea wine region of Greece was perfect with the lamb chops.
For dessert, Pappagiannakos Melias was fantastic all on its own. Melia, which is Greek for “honey”, was luscious. Tastes of ripe fruit, sweet but not cloying. We alternated sips of the wine with the baklava for a yummy nutty honey and sweet combination.
Magical Dining For A Good Cause
As if eating and drinking at a value from the best restaurants in Orlando is not fantastic enough, the best part of this program is that one dollar from each meal will be donated to Feed the Need to support hunger relief in the community.
“Visit Orlando originally started this program 15 years ago to support local restaurants during the off-season, and this year is literally the most significant and longest off season these businesses have ever faced,” said George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. “Supporting this program is a positive benefit for all – residents get to enjoy fine dining at a value, local businesses can put employees to work, and Central Florida residents in need will receive meals through this year’s charity recipient, Feed the Need.”
Recognizing the significant impact of the pandemic on the local economy, this year’s charity provides food for local residents in need. The beneficiary, Feed the Need Florida, is feeding those who are struggling to access food during the COVID-19 crisis. Since the program launched in late March, over 1 million meals have been served, and funds raised through Magical Dining will help feed thousands more. The effort is led by Orlando nonprofit 4Roots, plus public and private partners, to support Florida farmers, preserve and create jobs, and prepare nutritious meals to be served throughout Central Florida.
“We are honored to be a beneficiary of this year’s Magical Dining program,” said John Rivers, Founder & CEO, 4Roots & 4 Rivers Restaurants. “Although the COVID-19 crisis has shined a light on our efforts to feed those in need, the beautiful families and children we’re feeding today were hungry before COVID-19, and they’ll be hungry after COVID-19. We pray that others will join us in this cause, come beside us, and help make it happen.”
Tips for Enjoying an Epic Magical Dining At Home:
1/ Not all restaurants participating in Magical Dining are offering takeout. I suggest calling the restaurant and confirming availability as they may make an exception during certain times.
2/ Order ahead. Call the restaurant with enough notice and let them know what time you will be picking up your order. Avoid the dinner rush of 7pm – 9pm. When you arrive, call the restaurant and have them deliver curbside to your car.
3/ If you have any allergies or special restrictions, be sure to communicate that when you place your order.
4/ Double-check your to go bag to make sure everything is there. Just a quick review can help you avoid an unpleasant surprise when you get home.
5/ Add wine and cocktails pairings. It’s a great added value that will greatly enhance your Magical Dining at Home experience.
6/ Keep in mind that not all food travels well and to go containers are not always the most spill proof. Be prepared to secure your food properly in your car to avoid spills.
7/ Bring an insulated bag or cooler to keep your meals warm. Especially if you have a longer drive.
8/ Set the table and plate your dishes like the pros. Take out dinner can still be fancy. Dressing up is optional!
9/ Be prepared to reheat your food. Set the oven at 200-250F or pop under the broiler for a few minutes. Just don’t walk away. Watch out for it or you will overcook.
10/ Set the atmosphere. YouTube is a great resource for music videos to set the mood. We searched for “Zorba Greek Dance”, “Greece Vacation” and “Greek Relaxing Music” to set the mood for our Opa dinner. We also played a spotify playlist of Greek Dinner Music. Throwing napkins up in the air and dancing the Zorba added to the fun!
11/ If you have any concerns or issues with your experience, contact the restaurant immediately. All restaurants are struggling due to the pandemic. They are participating in the Visit Orlando Magical Dining Program by offering a steep discount as a way to market their restaurants and keep their staff employed. Give them the benefit of the doubt and the opportunity to correct any mistakes.
12/ If you had a great experience, share it with your friends on social media and help the restaurant spread the word. Don’t forget to tag them and @visitorlando #MagicalDining
Taverna Opa is located at Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Drive Suite 2240, Orlando, FL 32819. Call 407-351-8660 for reservations or Visit Website. Go have fun Opa Style! At home or in the restaurant.
I hope you’re inspired to continue to celebrate life and cross fun things off your someday list – while following all safety precautions and staying socially distanced during these stressful times. If you do, I would love to hear about it. Tag @goepicurista in your social media posts. Go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip a time.
Disclosure: I was a hosted media guest for this event for promotional purposes. I am under no obligation to share this post. As always, all opinions are my own. I only share with you products and experiences I love to inspire you to safely get together with family and friends, celebrate life and go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time! You can read more about my guidelines in my disclosure policy. Cheers!