We experienced very unusual spring weather, from cold to hot, dry or constant rain. We had it all. Summer is officially around the corner, and we all can enjoy some much-needed time outdoors.

I usually begin my on-the-road trips during the summer, but I’ll be careful not to venture too far from home with gas prices sky-rocketing.

I discovered a fantastic new restaurant in Frankfort — Opa! Modern Greek Cuisine. If you enjoy authentic Greek food, you absolutely will enjoy Opa!

The ambiance is spectacular. The tables are covered in white linen tablecloths with beautiful Greek blue stemware. Chef Dimitri Ntib was born in Pireas, Greece, and spent the past 25 years as a professional chef. According to his biography, he’s worked as a private chef for Giannis Antetokounmpo, a Greek professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks; the king of Saudi Arabia; and the president of Lebanon.

Our friends, Jeff and Jenny Keast, of Bourbonnais, joined us for dinner. While waiting for our table, we enjoyed some authentic Greek libations. The beverage menu includes drinks such as Santorini Martini with Tito’s Vodka, Blue Curacao, cranberry juice, lemonade and a splash of lime juice; Papou’s old-fashioned, with Maker’s Mark, cinnamon syrup and bitters; Mykonos Mule with Ouzo, ginger beer, lemon juice and lime; or the Greek Mojito Mastiha with club soda, fresh mint and simple syrup.

Just a word of caution — drink wisely; these will sneak up on you quickly.

We began with our various appetizers: saganaki that Opa! spectacularly presented with a massive flame at our table, and spanakopita, a crispy phyllo dough stuffed with a blend of sautéed spinach and feta cheese. Both of the appetizers were amazing.

Other appetizers include: Dolmades, grape leaves stuffed with ground meat, rice and fresh herbs; tiropitakia, crispy phyllo dough filled with feta cheese and topped with honey and sesame seeds; octopus, grilled and served with black-eyed peas, red roasted pepper and green onion.

They also offer a nice variety of spreads served with pita bread, regular and gluten-free. One spread that caught my fancy was the tirokafteri — spicy whipped feta cheese with roasted red and spicy Greek peppers. We could have just had drinks and appetizers; the portions were all nice-sized.

For an entrée, I ordered the Greek-style pork chop marinated in Opa! olive oil and served with rice and Greek potatoes. Dave ordered the Greek-style ribeye, which was very good. Jeff and Jenny shared the combo platter with a sample of everything, including pastitsio, moussaka, spanakopita, dolmades, gyro meat and a leg of lamb. Next time, I will order this because it was fabulous.

Of course, you can’t visit a Greek restaurant without trying the desserts, and they have many. On the menu are their loukoumades, homemade, of course. Loukoumades are Greek honey donuts. There are also galaktoboureko (a custard baked in phyllo), baklava, rice pudding, chocolate mousse cake, almond cake and bougatsa (Greek cream-filled pastries).

There are also many salads, soups and fish entrees.

I was very impressed with the ambiance, the staff, the service and, especially, the cuisine. The presentation of the entrée is awe-inspiring. I could have stayed another hour or two lingering over Greek coffee, but others were waiting.

If you love Greek food, this is your place. If you haven’t tried Greek, Opa! is a must.

I highly recommend Opa! It’s a walk-in restaurant, but they recommend reservations if you have more than five people.

Opa! is located at 10235 W. Lincoln Highway, Frankfort. The hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. They have a catering service. Call 815-806-7303 for more information.

Tinker Parker is an adjunct communication professor at Kankakee Community College and Governors State University. She can be contacted through the Daily Journal at editors@daily-journal.com or directly at bestbites@daily-journal.com; TinkerP91@yahoo.com; or Best Bites Hotline 815-802-5101.

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