We’re going to do a little break in travel posts to review something we tried right before Jake and I left to go to Florida. It’s this Greek restaurant waaaaaaay down South in Otay Mesa off the 905. Basically: a place I would probably never go to if we hadn’t gone over to the outlet mall at Plaza de las Americas. It’s always weird to me to look over and see Mexico and think, “Huh. Right over there is a whole different country.” Maybe that’s just me, though.
After getting some churros from Churros El Tigre and checking out a few shops, I did a quick Yelp search to see what was in the area since I was hungry and on the verge of becoming a Snickers commercial. One place that stood out was a placed called Opa y Ole – with a glowing 5 star overall review. I managed to convince Jake that we should go check it out. Lucky for me he usually caters to me and my ideas (bless him).
It was dark out so you can’t really see the exterior very well (and I’m still learning how to use my fancy new camera), but this is a small place tucked away into a little strip mall that has just a few other businesses near by. It’s pretty close to the 905 freeway.
There’s this sort of “loungy” area right next to the front area as soon as you walk in. If you check out the Yelp review, you’ll see that the owner takes a lot of photos of his customers here. It’s not an ideal spot for eating, more like a nice place to chill while waiting for your to go order. Or for getting your photo taken. I do love that pattern on the pillows and chairs.
This place is really small. There’s maybe four tables total. We pushed two tables together so Jake, T and I could all eat together. You can watch them make your food for you.
Jake and I both really wanted iced tea but they only had packages for making hot tea. But they were nice enough to go ahead and brew the tea and then throw a bunch of ice in it for us. We both choose the Moroccan Mint tea by Stash and these turned out to be perfect (I didn’t put any sugar in mine but Jake always likes to add that crazy stuff in the pink package – ugh).
[eat my greek platter / $14.95]
I got a Yelp deal for $15 for $30 and we ended up sharing this Eat My Greek platter. The Eat My Greek platter is supposed to come with more stuff (like spanakopita and dolmas) but the owner (who introduced himself while we ordering and chatted with us for a bit) said they had just catered a luncheon for Fox 5 News and were out of a bunch of items… so we only got the salad with the gyro meat and grilled chicken.
Despite that, the gyro meat was really REALLY good. After they took the gyro meat off the spit, it was cooked again on the grill top so it got a warmed up again and got little crunchy bits around the edges… man, what a difference that makes! It made the meat taste so much better and more flavorful. The chicken (which was white meat) was a bit on the dry side but was still pretty good. The greek salad was quite fresh and tasty – I can only image what this would be like with the full sampler.
[pita break & tzatzki]
It also came with a side of pita bread (which tasted quite fresh and fluffy) along with kick ass tzatzki sauce – the flavor on this was really punched up a few notches. It tasted so BRIGHT and FRESH like it was made recently (and I bet that it was). I dipped like, everything we had into this tzatzki, it was so yummy!
We also got an order of fries – hello, freshly cut french fries! These babies are obviously housemade and not from a plastic bag. They’re a bit “crazy with the dill” here but luckily I don’t mind the flavor of dill – fresh herbs (except tarragon – keep that crap away from me, please) always make me happy and add a little extra touch of lovin’ in my mind. On their menu they only have feta fries listed but Jake just ordered regular fries for us so I’m unsure of the price on this one.
[not so perfect onion rings / $5.50]
The name of these are the “Not So Perfect Onion Rings”. We asked what this was and well… they basically just told us that these are ugly onion rings – haha! The batter on these suckers is quite thick. It was almost like eating a savory donut with an onion stuffed inside, they were so puffy from the batter. The batter was a tiny bit on the sweeter side and these are not quite crispy. Still enjoyable but not quite other onion rings you may have tried.
The owner, Syemon, was very friendly and approachable and you could really see his passion and love for the place. I know that his euthasium and his welcoming personality are a lot of what makes this place special (just peek at the review on Yelp and you’ll see how customers all mention him by name, plus the many photos of his customers – he took our photo, too, but last I checked it wasn’t on there). I’d come back for the gyros and tzatzki alone, they were that good and totally worth the long ass drive to the far, far away Otay Mesa. If you’re in the area or looking for some tasty Greek food, give this place and Syemon a shot!
Opa y Ole
1270 Picador Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92154
5 thoughts on “opa y ole greek restaurant / otay mesa – san diego, ca”
I rarely go to Otay but agree that it’s so weird to see Mexico, like, RIGHT OVER *THERE*. And I always get SOOO nervous that I’m going to miss the exit and end up in Mexico where I won’t be allowed back.
Did you buy the Yelp deal right then and there? That’s so smart if you did. I always forget to check my yelp app for stuff like that.
The gyro meat looks like a decapitated fish.
And the ugly onion rings!!! Love how they explained it to you!! Tooo funny. But yeah the batter looks way to thick and the idea of eating a donut with an onion stuck in the middle made me cringe (thanks dude). They seemed to be heavy handed with the dill on this item too.
That’s cool when an owner is personable like that. Will have to try this place out if I’m in the area (which is mostly for that outlet mall).
Hi Faye – Yeah… accidentally driving into Mexico is not like accidentally driving into a paid parking garage. It’s not quite as easy to get back out! Might as well go get some tacos at that point. Hah! I did buy the Yelp deal like a minute before we walked in. I was proud that I remembered to buy it (even though I used the app to find the place, I could have still forgotten).
The onion rings are sweet-ish, like just a touch, so it was just “sorta donuty” haha. I didn’t know how else to describe the thick batter they used. The owner was so friendly and seemed to love chatting with his customers – very cool guy!
It’s not THAT wierd for me to see Mexico. I grew up in Otay Mesa and we lived on top of a hill and we could see TJ from our my parents’ house.
I didn’t even know there was a Greek place there.Now that’s different for the old ‘hood! I like the look of those onion rings – they look beautiful to me, haha! I could do with less dill (and I’m with ya on that tarragon – ugh!).
Glad to know of this place!!!! Thanks!
Hi CC – For us non-Otay folk it’s totally weird, haha. But I can see how it wouldn’t be that way for you seeing it every day growing up! From the name of it I almost though it would be like, Greek Mexican or something but it’s just Greek (with a little bit of American).
Ugh, I hate tarragon. Before I knew what tarragon was I bought a chicken tarragon sandwich from Starbucks (desperate for lunch) and after one bite I could not stand to eat anymore of it – so gross, man.
Hope you get to stop by, it’s near your neck of the woods!
Thanks for this rec! I’ll have more time to do “exploring” once I’m on summer break and that would be the perfect time to check out what’s down South!