Opa in Venice

If you've been wondering about the much-anticipated late summer 2002 opening of Taverna Opa (3051 NE 32nd Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-567-1630), sibling to the popular Hollywood waterside Greek restaurant and nightspot, and its subsequent sudden mysterious closing a mere four months later, query no more. The Lauderdale location was shut down by a major fire just as owner Peter Tsialiamanis was in the process of preparing the March 2003 coming-out party of his third debutante, Taverna Opa on South Beach. But repairs on the Broward County Intracoastal Waterway site have finally been completed, and the restaurant opened its doors with an invitation-only party October 9. This middle child has been given all the trappings that its siblings received, including a wood grill that burns grape cuttings and sears lamb chops and fresh whole fish such as red mullet. Then there is the cast of waitstaff, who can dance better than the average Vegas showgirl; Mediterranean tunes played at a volume that equals semitrailer air horns; and enough ouzo to make every resident of a Third World country hung-over. So pay it the attention it deserves.

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