"Opa!" is not so much a word as an exclamation - the Greek equivalent of "Yahoo!" or "Whoopee!" Depending upon whether ouzo is involved, a cry of "Opa!" may be followed by dancing and/or the smashing of plates.

Its exuberant name notwithstanding, Opa, a new Islip Greek restaurant, presents a fairly tranquil scene. And more than fairly good food.

GREEK GOODS

A professional young waiter named Adam incorporates prices into his narration of specials, a considerate touch missing at too many restaurants.

Although the menu lists fried calamari, I want to get mine grilled. Not a problem, I'm told. The squid I get is tender and lemony - almost perfect, except that it could do with a tad less oregano.

An "antipasto" platter features fine dips (true, the plating could be more artistic). There's briny-creamy taramasalata (roe dip), skordalia (garlic-potato dip), hummus, stuffed grape leaves, mellow melitzanosalata (eggplant dip) plus feta cheese and pita bread. A gratis Greek salad is bright and appealing.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Nicely marinated and grilled lamb chops make for a savory treat. So, too, does chicken limonato, a baked half bird drizzled with a light lemon-oregano sauce; on the side are very good roasted potatoes. A winning combo platter holds juicy pork shish kebab, gyro and aromatic, licorice-y Greek sausage.

Galaktoboureko (creamy semolina custard in flaky phyllo) pairs well with Greek coffee. So, too, do kadayif (shredded wheat pastry) and baklava.

GREEK GLITCHES

I'm let down by bland broiled whole flounder, its cross-hatched surface topped with oily bread crumbs. At lunch, a chicken souvlaki sandwich has over-grilled cubes of poultry. A hearty slab of moussaka is undermined by a dark tomato sauce studded with grayish overcooked peas. And rice pudding is way too starchy. 

MONEY SAVING TIPS

A lunch deal that includes soup and a beverage goes for $7.50 to $8.95. Dinner shouldn't eat up your paycheck, either.

Considering the plus-sized portions here, expect to lumber out the door with doggy bags in hand.

Opa is at 260 Islip Ave., Islip, 631-650-0620