I think my blog “http://braxtonhall.blogspot.com/” is leaning in the direction of restaurant reviews and the lack of customer service. Please stop by and read my blog.
Lets start with the overall location and atmosphere of Taverna Opa – Fort Lauderdale. The location could hardly be better, right on the intercoastal waterway at East Oakland Park Blvd, next to “Shooters” one of the longest running, busiest restaurants in Fort Lauderdale (we will review them at an other time) and “Charley’s Crab” one of the best seafood restaurants in Fort Lauderdale.
The atmosphere is exactly as advertised, loud and raucous with belly dancers and dancing on the tables a true party atmosphere, which is great because that is the type of atmosphere they promote and market, the bar area, kitchen and the service areas could be neater and cleaner; nothing alarming and no visible food sanitation issues. So I would give Taverna Opa – Fort Lauderdale an A+ for location and a B- for atmosphere.
But the food and customer service were absolutely horrible!
My mother in law asked us to take her to Taverna Opa – Fort Lauderdale and we gladly said yes and made reservations, so Friday night off we went. When we arrived at Taverna Opa – Fort Lauderdale we were greeted promptly and the host walked us to our table, and talked to us the entire way; she was great telling us about the restaurant and invited us to take part in the party. From that point the experience went incredibly south.
The food server came to the table and and asked “what do you want to drink” did not suggest anything so we asked for water to give ourselves time to look at the drink menu. We were so happy at the point where the food server came in he could have sol us anything? When we did order our drinks we all ordered what we usually order out, a beer, two Citron vodka and cranberry with a splash of sprite, and I asked what type of scotch they have. Our server had no idea so I asked for some by name hoping that it would jog his memory ~ no clue, so I went to the bar and looked for myself.
When the drinks arrived the two vodka drinks were wrong and because of the lack of customer service, the server had disappeared for over 5 minutes, I took the drinks to the bar and asked to have them remade ~ no problem. The bartenders were obviously used to this as it seemed to be status quo.
We had ordered 2 appetizers at the same time that we ordered the drinks:
Kefalotiri Saganaki flaming cheese on fire with brandy, this came out without flame, the flavor was good but because it has sat after the flame had gone out it was tough to the point that I had to cut it with a knife for everyone.
Crispy Calamari crispy fried and served with lemon, was a little bland and apparently does not come with a sauce, but it did arrive hot. My guess is that the Kefalotiri Saganaki had to wait for the Calamari!
We also had salads, I had the Greek Horiatiki tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, kalamata olives, topped with feta cheese, olive oil, vinegar and oregano and it was great, very fresh and full of flavor.
When the server took our entree orders we asked several questions about the menu and as usual we always ask what the like best on the menu. He probably knew about half of the menu and simply could not answer so questions, we love Greek food and are familiar with the recipes so we placed our orders, we did not make any requests for substitutions as we did not want to confuse the confused. The food came out in a proper amount of time and all of the entrees were hot.
I had the Roasted Lamb thyme, rosemary, oregano, garlic with lemon potatoes & veggies. It was on of the worse entrees that I have had in years! The lamb was over cooked, left under a heat lamp and turned over to disguise the tough dried out side. The sauce was dehydrated and killed the flavor of the lamb and the green beans were cold and covered by the same sauce. I was up most of the night with acid reflux, and I don’t have acid reflux! Terrible, terrible…
My wife had Souvlaki Platter choice of gyro, chicken or pork on pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, tzatziki sauce, lemon potatoes. She chose the gyro as she loves gyro. She was very disappointed, the gyro platter in a Greek restaurant you would think would be a safe, good meal. It had an odd flavor, she felt the sauce ruined the meal, that the sauce may have been made wrong or was old.
She did not eat very much of her meal either!
My mother in law had the Key West Snapper grilled topped with ladolemono sauce served with wild greens & spinach leek rice. She said that it had an odd flavor as well, she did eat most of her meal, but did not enjoy her food.
Our friend that came with us had the Stuffed Peppers with ground beef, rice and fresh herbs. Her meal was great, perfectly cooked, looked great on the plate with good flavor and good texture, not greasy as you might expect from this dish.
I would never recommend Taverna Opa – Fort Lauderdale to anyone. They were never more that half full on a Friday night while we were there from 7:30 to 9:00 and I can see why. Without good food and good customer service a restaurant cannot expect to compete, by the way “Shooters” and “Charley’s Crab” were both full and on a wait.
From what I experienced the problem with Taverna Opa – Fort Lauderdale is simply the management, the training and expectations for the staff are lacking in a big way, and the management followup with timely line checks, food preparation and recipe adherence is probably not even a thought and it is glaring.
The management team at Taverna Opa – Fort Lauderdale really killed what started out as a great time with a customer that was excited about their concept.
I am going out to a different Greek restaurant this weekend, just to get the terrible taste of Taverna Opa – Fort Lauderdale off my palate. What a shame.