The Food Life

Roll Your Own Way

By Katherine Rapin | June 28, 2017
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Roll Your Own Way

Order a smattering of small plates at Opa—and prepare for a surprise as they’re sent out in no particular order and everyone around the table reaches out with a fork. Dinner is a communal celebration here, and you’re encouraged to try a little bit of everything.

Opa, an upscale Greek restaurant in Center City, has added a new dish to its menu—an inventive, interactive take on classic stuffed grape leaves. The build-your-own dolmades are sent out as a platter of different fillings and a stack of briny leaves. Then you and your friends have at it, passing, filling and rolling your own appetizers.

“We wanted something that people could gather around and make a few bites to get their meal started,” chef Bobby Saritsoglou says. The idea was also inspired by the Greek tradition of relatives gathering to roll hundreds of dolmades together.

Though just one type of dolmade filling is common here in the States (rice with seasoned beef or lamb, and maybe dried currants and herbs), there are many regional Greek variations. Saritsoglou offers paprika chicken; brisket ragu; saffron rice with currants, chickpeas and feta; tursi (pickled vegetables); crispy onions; sprigs of fresh dill and parsley; and tiny bottles of zingy sauce made with long hots and Florina peppers.

It’s Opa’s take on the traditional Greek preparation, and we love it—it’s good for us to eat together (and with our hands). —K. Rapin

1311 Sansom St.

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