Review: Opes Restaurant & Bar20

Posted on January 12, 2009 by ChristieRestaurants

[Crispy skin salmon with rocket and mango salad]

Relaxed and friendly beach side restaurant featuring Modern Australian cuisine, tapas and cocktails. Don’t skip dessert – you’ll be sorry!

Let’s just agree that not all restaurants are created equal and it’s definitely the case with O-pes. It’s the clear standout on the main street of Lennox Head, a gorgeous little town on the far North NSW coast, between Ballina and Byron Bay.

O-pes has got the complete trinity; excellent service, mouth-watering food and a kick-ass view. Couple that with extremely friendly owners and imaginative flavour combinations that are beautifully plated, and you’ve got yourself a very enjoyable lunch date.

I had the crispy skinned salmon special of the day. I just had to order it because mango is at the peak of it’s season right now in Australia. The salmon skin was crispy as promised and the salad was a heady mix of rocket, mango, peanut and Thai flavours.

[Grilled vegetable burger with chips]

The vegetable burger was ordered with no top to keep the carb content down. It wasn’t a huge serving but the vegetables were freshly grilled (no oily jarred offerings here) and lettuce that looked like it had just been picked from the garden!

[Chilli Mussels]

I was a bit jealous of these when they arrived. The fat juicy mussels looked completely happy swimming in the thick chilli spiked tomato sauce. Some soft white Turkish bread helped mop up all the tasty juices.

[Whole fried snapper with red curry sauce]

All I can say is, WOW. How is that for presentation? It’s so much more dramatic when stood upright that I can’t imagine why more restaurants don’t do it. I was disappointed that the tail didn’t get eaten. Everyone knows that’s the best bit. If I wasn’t so full I would have wrestled it into my possession.

[Chocolate and fig parfait with mascarpone cream]

Let me tell you a secret. If a dessert features mascarpone cream I will order it. It doesn’t matter what it’s served with I will always order it. I adore the stuff. I was very lucky in this instance because the accompanying chocolate and fig parfait was just as good.

The texture was smooth on the tongue and on the soft side of frozen. The little dried fig pieces inside added a tiny extra burst of sweetness every so often. Plus the dollop of mascarpone cream was generous. For me, a major plus!

[Ginger and kaffir lime pannacotta with berry compote]

I almost ordered this. I’m always intrigued by kaffir lime in desserts as it’s one of my all time favourite flavours. It works an absolute dream in this pannacotta. I could have eaten this as well but was only allowed a taste (probably a good thing, I’d eaten too much already).


I’m not really a tiramisu fan, I prefer to drink my coffee, but this one was really good. Soft creamy texture, not too sweet nor heavy on the coffee flavour.

We did order coffees though, and as I sipped on my perfectly brewed cup, I realised that O-pes is a true destination restaurant. One to savour and enjoy and, if like my parents-in-law, thank your lucky stars you’re a local.

Opes Restaurant and Bar
Shop 7, 90 Ballina Street
Lennox Head NSW 2478
Ph: (02) 6687 7388
(currently no website)

Looking for more northern NSW restaurant reviews? Check these out:

Dish Restaurant & Raw Bar
Fishy Fishy
Point Cafe
The Byron at Byron
The Saltbar & Bistro

  • Oh my goodness…that fish…those mussels! And those desserts to top it off! I loved the presentation of the pannacotta and parfait. How divine!

  • It looks delicious! I have a not so secret love of spun sugar too so the desserts look especially tempting. Do you know why it is called O-pes?

  • What beautiful desserts. The chocolate and fig parfait sounds like such a great combination of flavours. I love the way they’re laid out so prettily.

  • Such beautiful presentation for the desserts, sometimes I wouldn’t mind only having desserts for dinner lol

  • Um, hello, I never skip dessert. :) Ok, I’ll admit it. The whole red snapper scares me a little.

    Great review!

  • mussels look amazing… but if i was there i would have gone straight for the dessert!

  • Desserttsssssssssss!! Argghh why is this place so far away haha

  • Y

    What’s with the name? I like the look of the mussels. Mussels and chips..mmmmm..

    They sure do love their sugar garnishes!

  • @Karen – The desserts were gorgeous!
    @Lorraine – Good question. I will find out and post the answer here in the comments.
    @Arwen – I liked the presentation too!
    @Miss Honey – I bet there’s a few food bloggers that would eat a dessert-only meal!
    @Dragon – I can’t beleive you’re scared of the snapper! ;)
    @Ms Gourmet – Yes, mussels for me next time!
    @FFichiban – It’s only 10 hours drive ;)
    @Y – You’re a tough dessert critic darling! :P

  • is that an impatient finger tapping next to the tiramisu? lol

  • Beautiful photos. I am currently craving mussels. I went to my local fishmonger two days ago and he informed me that the oysters and mussels that come off Puget Sound (off of Seattle where we get them) are currently contaminated from all of the snow runoff!

  • Lorriane E – It is named O-pes because the word (in latin origins) means: Resources, abundance, wealth, riches – the name conveys the resources used by the chefs who in turn create an abundance of wealth and richness of flavour & texture for their patrons.

    Best to you,

    Ian. (No I’m not an owner, but my son is chef there – lol)

  • @Ian – Thanks so much for the explanation! Your son is extremely talented. Christie

  • Simon

    I will never go to this restaurant again, lunch yesterday was disgraceful, grumpy staff more interested in texting & personal calls than service, the food was nothing like the well prepared photos above. Dont waste your money.

  • Hi Simon – I’m so sorry that was your experience! On the day I went the service and food was spectacular. Thanks for leaving your thoughts.

  • john

    Went there the other day for lunch, absolutely amazing, the new menu is great. highly recommended!

  • Hi John – Glad to hear it! I’m back in Lennox Head at Xmas, so looking forward to checking it out again. Maybe I’ll review the new menu!

  • Pingback: Lennox Head Pizza and Pasta | Fig & Cherry()

  • karen dool

    Very disappointed! my family and I have spent Australia day week end in lennox for the past two years and every Australia day had lunch at Opes.
    This year they were closed ?! Not only that when we went for dinner (on the night they were actually open) the service standard had dropped and the effort from the staff was very unenthusiastic. we waited twenty minutes to order drinks and an hour for our food. Im not one to complain (usually).There has obviously been a change in the way the place is run or the manager is just slack! wont be returning!

    • I’m so sorry to hear that Karen! I have been there recently and also found the owner changeover has affected service and food too.

Design + Copy © Fig & Cherry 2011