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Eclectic California Fusion Food and Cocktails at Opal Restaurant and Bar

By Marina I. Jokic

Going out with friends and family to a sumptuous restaurant is always a treat. Opal Restaurant and Bar beckons guests to indulge in exquisite food, perfectly paired wines, and inventive cocktails. Situated in Santa Barbara, California, Opal is the go-to destination for those who simply want a respite from their frenzied schedules, a place that will let them relax and connect with the important people in their lives.

Owners Richard Yates and Tina Takaya wanted to make Opal appealing not only to the local community, but also to all visitors who came through its doors. So they endeavored to create a restaurant that would naturally encourage camaraderie and social connectivity rather than just offer great food and drinks.

"In our fast-paced contemporary culture, we are often cut off from genuine social contact with each other by our electronic devices, which increasingly occupy more and more of our attention," laments Yates. Now more than ever, people are hungry for meaningful relationships and Opal is set up to make that process easier and more natural.

Food is no less important, of course, and Opal has a plethora of exciting choices. Its dinner menu is graced with delicious appetizers such as the Grilled Eggplant and Portobello Mushroom Salad, Black-Pepper Crusted Ahi Tuna, and Pan Seared Fresh Crab Cake. Once your appetite is piqued, you can select a main entrée such as the Vegetable Napoleon with a Gorgonzola Potato Cake and Wild Mushrooms, the Honey Glazed Roasted Duck on Butternut Squash Risotto, the Paella, or the Grilled Berkridge Farms Kurobuta Pork Loin with an Apricot and Fig Compote. There is also a prime selection of steaks including the Grilled Ribeye, Filet Mignon, and the Grilled Flat Iron Steak.

Yates describes Opal's ambiance as "sophisticated, yet comfortable, with music and lighting appropriate to the time of day, warm, yet contemporary colors, and an intriguing mix of different artistic styles, from the vintage posters in our main room to the carefully selected original art on the walls in our side room." All of these aspects converge to make for a fun, upbeat atmosphere that is complemented by an experienced and caring staff that tends to the customers. The restaurant can be reserved for special events, and offers both banquet seating and free-standing tables and chairs.

Catering to the changing tastes of customers, Opal tries to accommodate different cuisines from all over the world, utilizing fresh local ingredients alongside specialty spices and products all in a superb presentation. The menu can be characterized as eclectic California cuisine. Some favorites include the Lemon Grass Crusted Fresh Salmon Filet with a Thai curry sauce, sautéed julienne vegetables and caramelized apple and orange zest Basmati rice, a dish that exemplifies the global and local elements of the menu.

Having been recognized with an Award of Excellent for their wine list, Opal stays on the cutting edge of viniculture. They also put great stock in the expertise of their staff, providing comprehensive training in all aspects of hospitality such as service, etiquette, conflict resolution, and the ability of easily make excellent wine and food pairings.

"At every point, we want our staff to have the tools available to provide just the kind of experience our guests may be looking for," adds Yates. All in all, Opal strives to deliver an integrated and consistently excellent experience to their guests. "Any award we ever receive is only meaningful as it contributes to the more important goal of creating this level of experience for those who dine with us," Yates emphasizes.

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