At the Coupa

January 26, 2012

in dinner, gluten free, restaurant, vegetarian

I’ve been wanting to try Coupa Cafe since Ameena and I had planned to meet there back in 2010


…last night I finally got my chance. Owner Camelia Coupal invited me and a guest for dinner on the house!


Since I was first to arrive, I had time for a private tour – there’s a large, outdoor patio (Julius friendly!!!)


Cozy fireplace lounge (too warm yesterday) with live music every Thursday evening


The view from the upstairs dining nook (for private parties/meetings/etc.)


We sat indoors, on the main floor



Originally, I had hoped Ameena would be my date, but we couldn’t make our schedules work. Abe came instead…


…so we ordered everything meat-free! The menu is quite extensive…


…we stuck to the Venezuelan specialties. Camelia is also a vegetarian, so I just went with her suggestions…


…so glad I did – these were the best appetizers ever!

Yucca fries – my new love. Sturdy, crisp, chewy…


…I used all three dipping sauces (even though you aren’t “supposed” to)


The fried queso duro wrapped in sweet fried plantain made me swoon…


…as did these mini corn griddle pancakes (I left the queso de mano off of one)


Next up – my very first Arepa ever, served with a side salad


Grilled eggplant, Caramelized Onion, Heirloom Tomato (yup, vegan)


This griddled cornmeal is wheat/gluten-free, but can get very messy!


Abe and I passed it back and forth between forkfuls of greens


Our last dish to share was the Pabellon, a quintessential Venezuelan meal


We worked on the fried stuff first…


…just a taste of the rest, since those would hold up as leftovers



Everything was delicious – I was impressed with how many choices there were, and how different everything tasted, despite sounding similar on the menu page. I also loved that most items could be veganized – though I did wind up adding a little cheesy, creamy goodness onto my food.


Coupa Cafe’s dessert menu is also pretty large (with everything from sundaes to brownies to crepes) but Camelia said the must-try was their Tres Leches…


…cake soaked in three milks, topped with meringue


Extra long spoon for some deep layers of yum


I was stuffed after devouring 2/3 of that dessert (and THAT was the mini size!)

Digested with a little tea…


…Abe ordered an espresso


That’s another very special thing – the family started the business in Caracas during the early 90′s to revive the Venezuelan coffee tradition. All their beans are purchased for well-above-fair-trade-prices – directly from the farmers – grown organically and sustainably especially for Coupa Cafe. This is the only place in the world, outside of Venezuela, that you can experience this coffee.

Well – here, and also at their locations in Palo Alto/Stanford:


Right now there is a special dineLA menu for Restaurant Week – a good excuse to give them a shot…


…with all the delicious food, cozy ambiance, free wifi, brunch/lunch/happy hour options, I’ll definitely be back for more soon (hopefully with Ameena!)

Have you ever eaten Venezuelan food before?

Coupa Cafe on Urbanspoon


1 HRCK the Herald January 26, 2012 at 9:20 am

That looks like such an amazing meal! I haven’t ever been to an official Venezuelan restaurant, but I’ve had some of the things that you got to try (yucca fries, arepas, etc).

2 idreamofgreenie January 26, 2012 at 9:21 am

I’ve been here for coffee but never dined there… I LOVE yucca fries and now that I know they even have vegan arepas (another love of mine), I will need to eat there!

3 Julie (A Case of the Runs) January 26, 2012 at 9:30 am

No, but that tres leches cake might bring me over there… cue the Lactaid x3.

4 Anna @ On Anna's Plate January 26, 2012 at 10:12 am

I’ve never had Venezuelan food before– but it looks awesome!!

5 Angela January 26, 2012 at 11:02 am

That looks AMAZING, even to a carnivore like me! I will have to drag Mark soon.

6 P3R January 26, 2012 at 11:25 am

Reblogged this on P3R Publicity and commented:
P3R’s client Coupa Cafe gets a Rave Review!

7 Amy January 26, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Oh, man, had I known you were going I would have recommended the Spicy Mayan Hot Chocolate and the Tequeños (Venezuelan cheese sticks)… both soooo good! Love Coupa!

8 Lynn at The Actors Diet January 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm

yum! next time!

9 Vegyogini January 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm

This isn’t far from where I work. I’m definitely going to look into which menu items can be made vegan!

10 Em (Wine and Butter) January 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm

That food looks so so so good! I miss Californian style cuisine. ALSO – we have the same engagement ring – Ive never seen another one with lots of little diamonds instead of one single one. Great taste eh…?

11 Lynn at The Actors Diet January 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm

how funny – it was my mom’s wedding ring (now mine) – she’s had it since the 70′s!

12 Nicole January 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Yum, I recently tried tres leches for the first time and now I am hooked.

13 Amanda January 26, 2012 at 7:59 pm

I want to try it! I’m always interested in trying new foods. And I love the fact that the arepas are gluten-free. How exciting! Tres leches…oh lord.

14 Ameena January 27, 2012 at 8:55 am

I’m so sad I missed it…Coupa is a fabulous restaurant! Love their coffee and now I’m inspired to go back. With you of course!

Happy Friday Lynn. :)

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: