A Taste of Greek Culture Adventure

So we’re in Atlanta for a Date weekend / First football game of the season. The game is tonight at 8pm. We got here yesterday around 5pm, and so the main date part of our trip was to be dinner last night. Since we were coming for football, Chris elected me to pick out where we went for dinner. Since I grew up on Greek food (and yes, went to Greek School for a few years), one of my favorite things to do out of town is to go to a Greek Restaurant and taste the local Greek cuisine. So I searched the internet for a Greek restaurant relatively near where we were staying, and found one: Taverna Plaka.
From their website, Plaka looked quite. . . lively compared to any of the Greek restaurants in Birmingham, or for that matter, any of the other Greek restaurants we’ve ever been to. Sounded perfect!! We wanted an “event” meal, and Plaka looked like they could accommodate that wish.

And boy, did they!

Now, let me take an aside really quickly and explain the Greek word Opa. If you watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you certainly heard the word a lot, but possibly didn’t get a good feel for the meaning. In order to properly school you, I did what all academics do, and googled it. I found several entries at Urban Dictionary. Here are a couple of them:

1. OPA: a word that greek people use for no apparent reason at all.
greek dude #1:wanna dance?
greek dude #2 : OPA!

2. OPA: a Greek word used to describe a jubilant emotion of/during ‘celebration’.

3. OPA: A Word Used To Describe Excitement at a joyous event.
“It’s A Boy!” “Opa! Cigars For All!”
“Would You Like To Make-Out In The Back Of My Camaro?” “OPA!”

OK, now that you understand the context, let’s begin the guide to Greek Dining in Atlanta:

They started us off with the most amazing Hummous I have ever had. It was actually delivered to us by our wonderful waitress Nikoleta (Nikki) with a pestle for us to crush and mix ourselves. I think I could have eaten half a dozen bowls of it. YUMMM.
The we ordered Tzatziki sauce (My FAVORITE Greek dish) and a Greek Salad. Again, Delectable.
Sometime during this course, the Napkin throwing and “Opa” Yelling began. The waiters and waitresses would all get big stacks of napkins, throw them up in the air (yes, they landed all over us, our food, our cokes, etc), and yell “OPA!!!!!!!”
Then, the belly dancers made their grand entrance. We creatively nicknamed them Blue. . .
And Pink.
. . . And Chris found a good use for all of those napkins when the belly dancers were dancing at our table:

A couple of things I learned about belly dancers:

1. They take LOTS of breaks. They dance for 10 minutes, break for an hour. Dance for 20 minutes, break for two hours. But I suppose it takes a lot of energy to make your body vibrate.

2. Beyonce must have gone to Greek Belly Dancing school.

3. If you’re a REALLY good belly dancer (like Pink), you can also use finger cymbals, clanging them so fast and loud that you sound like the whole cymbal section of the Million Dollar Band.

4. They don’t seem to mind their picture taken. Even by the short, old, Greek men that take so many pictures of them you start to wonder “how big IS that memory card in their camera???”

5. They are quite modest. Really. During their extraordinarily long breaks, they completely covered themselves with these long, flowing, brightly colored scarves. I would have gotten a picture, but they tended to keep to themselves on their breaks.

Back to the fun. Someone getting flaming cheese (along with a few more screams of “OPA!!”):
For the record, we ordered several tapas (appetizers) and shared them for our meal: Dolmades, Spanakopitas, Lamb Meatballs, Lamb Kabobs, and Fried Potatoes.

The ever-Greek “DJ Arti” queueing up the Greek dancing music for Blue and Pink:
Chris and I during a napkin rain:
Then Blue decided it was time to turn it up a notch:
Then the good ole’ Greek kids decided to join her on the tables (I’m sure they learned how to dance at Greek school – I think my Mom skipped that class when signing me up):
Blue joining the masses:
There was a birthday party at the table next to us. Apparently this is how you celebrate:Dessert time!! Delish triple chocolate mousse:And the level of napkinage after we had been there for our long 2 1/2 hour meal:
We missed the plate smashing – apparently we didn’t stay late enough. Blue asked me to dance with her, and I turned her down – too shy I am. She pouted at me, and I felt guilty. Oh well.

All in all, it was quite the event meal that we were looking for!! I just wish my Great Aunt Helen would have been there – she would have brought the fun and dancing up to a whole NEW level!!

Taverna Plaka on Urbanspoon