My friend Julie Star suggested this restaurant, she told me it was one of her favorites and that the Phyllo Wrapped Tiger Prawns are something otherworldly, she was right. I just loved their divine food, owner Richard treated me so good, I have to go back when dine-in continues, to try their food alongside their stunning atmosphere. For now Togo was good enough for me. I am pleased to say that all of my fingers and toes are up, meaning all digits give Opal my approval.
Here’s What I tried:
Pesto Sautéed Bay Scallop Salad, with toasted pine nuts and fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano on baby spinach with roasted garlic dressing. This salad is so unique, you would not think to put cheese on seafood, normally it is a big no no, but on this wonderful menu item it works. The freshness of the spinach and the flavorful scallops are a must have.
Shredded phyllo wrapped tiger prawns, with a coconut curry dipping sauce, Napa cabbage, mandarins, toasted almonds, julienne vegetables, mango, sesame vinaigrette. This is their signature dish; you will see in their own words the history of this glorious appetizer. From Opal Restaurant: Opal restaurant and bar created its now-signature appetizer for the occasion of Julia Child’s 90th birthday. This event was held on the grounds of the world-renowned Music Academy of the West, in Montecito, California, and was set up festivals-style, with 20 or more of Santa Barbara’s best restaurants in attendance, each with its own booth and special dish created for the occasion.
Our Chef, Felipe Barajas and co-owner Tina Takaya came up with a marvelous dish, our Shredded Phyllo Wrapped Tiger Prawns, Flash-Fried with a Coconut Curry Dipping Sauce. Very well received on the day, in the days following we found ourselves suddenly besieged with requests from our guests who had attended: “Where is that great appetizer you served at the Julia Child’s event?”
We knew we had created a great dish but we didn’t realize how popular it was going to be until we started getting so many requests to have it at the restaurant. . We looked at each other and said; “I guess that dish is going on the menu tomorrow.” Our chef created a wonderful Asian salad to accompany it and voila, we had a new signature appetizer, which, to this day is the most popular appetizer on our menu, and a favorite on all our caterings and banquets.
Pan Seared Fresh Crab Cake on a sesame Beurre Blanc, with tender wild red deep-sea crabmeat cake, a drizzle of Wasabi cream, fresh mango salsa and crispy potato strings. This is a fresh take on this restaurant staple, its small but mighty, a great appetizer.
Seafood Pasta with homemade basil fettuccine with homemade pesto, tomatoes, and fire roasted red pepper and smoked mozzarella cream sauce. Their homemade basil fettuccine was my favorite part of this dish, is just out of this world
Wild Mushroom Pizza. with pesto, goat cheese, smoked mozzarella, caramelized onions, red tomato. arugula, watercress, truffle sea salt. A very hearty pizza with incredible mushroom flavor, another must have.
Herb Grilled Filet Mignon, 6 oz. – with whipped truffle butter, Yukon potatoes, sautéed broccoli, green beans, a Port Wine-Marsala and wild mushroom cream sauce. The steak was tender and delicious; the cream sauce added another dimension to the overall flavor of this marvelous steak.
Dark Chocolate Pecan Tart, with fresh whipped cream and a vanilla bean crème anglaise. The chocolate explodes in your mouth, what a great way to end my remarkable meal.
My dinner was all Togo, and was staged at The Franciscan Inn & Suites. It is just the most exceptional food I have had in a long while. When you take the trip to Santa Barbara make sure you order dinner from Opal Restaurant and Bar.
Opal Restaurant and Bar
1325 State St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone: (805) 966-9676
* Note some content was taken off of their website.