Owner Camelia Coupal invited me and a guest for dinner on the house at Coupa Cafe in Beverly Hills.
Since I was first to arrive, I had time for a private tour – there’s a large, outdoor patio (dog 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?