I've heard about this place for a while now and finally got a chance to visit this weekend. After practice, my pal Vince from Iaido suggested we grab a bite to eat at Copa Cafe is on Cambie, just up the road from Gloucester Cafe. It's nice to know there's a little competition in the area as far as HK Cafes are concerned.
The front of the restaurant is easily accessible, but at times, it's hard to find parking on Cambie....the perk - it's free parking in this area.
There's also some parking in the back, but good luck not getting your car back without a ding in your door....or a scratch or dent........
The clientele here demonstrate that clearly money can buy just about anything except for driving/parking skills and common sense so it might be safer to park on the street.
The interior of the restaurant really contrasts the front and back because as soon as you step in, it gives you the feel that the place is a bit more upscale than your typical HK Cafe, which seems to be the trend now.
The Iced lemon Tea
I had the Ice Milk Tea, which was pretty good. I'd say it was probably on par with Alleluia. I wonder if they have a free refill? Never thought to ask.
They had a few soup options, but the soup of the day was either cream soup or borscht. I had the cream soup and it turned out to be a very, very rich and creamy Cream of Mushroom, with a sprinkle of dill. There was a strong butter flavour which made every spoonful a guilty pleasure.
The Linguine Bolognese with Cheese was *$%&*#@! good. It was different in so many ways than what I've had before, and because I didn't order it, I want to go back to Copa Cafe just to have it for myself. I had a taste and could tell there was effort put into the bolognese sauce. For those of you who don't like sauce, heavy on oil, stay away. For me, it was perfect.
There was a lot of cheese, haha, as you can tell from the video below, but besides that, there was almost a charcoal BBQ flavour to the surface which was a nice bonus. I had a bite and was almost floored....I wanted to change my order, but figured it would just give me an excuse to come back and try it for myself.
"That's a lot of cheese...."
I ordered the B+B+B set for $17.95 My first reaction was holy crap, that's expensive for an HK Cafe (get the A+A combo and you're shelling out $24). Usually, my three item combos at Alleluia never set me past $12.00, even with the yam fries substitute. But I did have to factor in that they have a few items that are a bit higher end than the typical Cafe, like crab cakes as an option.
I got the same steak and pork chop, and the prawn cutlets.
I asked for rare as possible, but it came well done. There are a few reasons why I'm okay with the turnout. First, I had no expectations as it was not a steak house, second. The steak was so thin that it would have easily overcooked on the hotplate/skillet that it was served on. Haha, next time, I'll just ask them to toss the steak on raw. It was seasoned nicely though, even used peppercorn =).
I also asked for mashed potato but got a potato salad, HK style. A lot of Chinese-style potato salad isn't salty, in fact, it often comes with fruit and is almost sweet. I don't like to waste food so I kept it as desert and it turned out quite tasty.
Copa Cafe has a large variety of gravy to go with the meals. I was tempted to order Linguine with my B+B+B combo and then get the creamy mushroom sauce...make my own little "side pasta" but figured I had to try the lobster shrimp roe sauce at least once. It tasted pretty good and definitely had a strong lobster taste to it.
Despite the overdone steak and the potato salad/mashed potato mix up, my experience overall was pretty good at Copa Cafe. The service was spectacular and that was surprising. The manager was always attending us, and doing a lot of the grunt work as well, like keeping our teacups full, and helping with the food delivery. He even was even there to hold up a paper "shield" when the steaks were delivered on the hot plate (to protect the customer from grease spatter as they sizzled on the hot plate). We were there for hours, went through a shift change and were never hounded once about paying the bill. Between the manager and the rest of the staff, we must have had our teacups refilled more than 20 times in the hours we were there.
I've said this before (see Angel Cake Cafe), and I hope I don't jinx it, but I've found another nice alternative to Alleluia (which I still like a lot). I will definitely come back to try some other menu items.