TakeOutButler’s Take

Presented by Erik Butler, The TakeOut Butler
643-FOOD or takeoutbutler.com
When I was first told that Opa Café owners Mazen and Naielah Ayyoub had successfully operated a popular deli for more than 20 years in Long Island, I was impressed. That people are raving about their remarkable Mediterranean specialties, I am not surprised. They took the bold leap to locate to Valrico in part to be closer to family (including grandchildren with kid’s meals named after them).
Opa is translated to mean “Joy”. Classics await like tabbouli salad with meticulously hand-chopped parsley, “The Best Hummus in Town” featuring painstakingly ground chick peas, and a range of authentic fare that could allow you to potentially justify delaying that expensive trip to Greece.
I started with a Flaming Feta which I had been hearing about. Mazen flambés a delicious, rich serving of cheese that might remind one of warm brie. Note: Don’t invite the fire marshal to eat with you, as Mazen can get a little excited around incendiary cooking brandy! Next, a Chicken Kabob which was nice and tender and included tasty seasoned veggies on not one but two generous skewers… I guess that way you and a guest could potentially “sword fight” as to who pays the bill! All the kabobs come with great warm pita, the legendary hummus, and an option from a variety of great salads and soups. Anthony’s “Cheeseburger Soup” caught my culinary eye as something unique and calorically challenging and I had to give it a try. Amazing! That man has a gift…The “Seinfeld Soup Nazi” better look out!
No doubt, I will return for gyros, falafels, baklava and other delicacies. More importantly, I will return to support a local business that exceeds expectations and shares a passion for family and food. Naielah treats anyone walking in like a “Favorite Aunt,” and Mazen makes sure you are not just well fed but further educated on these authentic dishes. Stop in and put me to the test, or consider hosting a book club/Bible study/celebration in their great little private room. For those times that you can’t get there or are afraid Mazen might burn the place down with a flaming Feta, let the TakeOut Butler bring it to your favorite table!
Opa Café 4377 Lynx Paw Trl. Valrico 662-7827 www.facebook.com/OpaValrico