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Coppa

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I've never been but have read lots of great reviews. I'm thinking about going on a weekend night (probably a Friday). DH and I have no problem getting over there by 5:30 (since waiting seems to be common). What I'm looking for is any additional info I should know about the place...such as...
How early should we really get there?
How big is the patio? And is there a lot of demand for it?
If we don't get the first round of tables, how long might the wait be?
What's the atmosphere like?
Would the place be good for a full dinner (including dessert) or should we expect to go elsewhere to get that?
Etc.

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Coppa
253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

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  1. How early should we really get there?

    -- To avoid a wait, 5:00-5:30pm.

    How big is the patio, and is there a lot of demand for it?

    -- 25 seats originally, though it looks like they've expanded it past what they're supposed to. If the weather is nice, it fills quickly and stays jammed until 9:30p, when they have to stop seating folks there.

    If we don't get the first round of tables, how long might the wait be?
    -- 60 to 75 minutes on weekend nights is not unusual.

    What's the atmosphere like?

    -- Casual, lively, loud, cramped, jostly. It's an overfilled shoebox.

    Would the place be good for a full dinner (including dessert) or should we expect to go elsewhere to get that?

    -- It's a great place for dinner (I love the food), but not dessert. Most nights there isn't any: one flavor of gelato is sporadically offered. There are dozens of places in the South End that serve dessert, but getting seated for only dessert is tricky in prime time on a weekend night (less of an issue after 10 or 11pm). But you could easily get ice cream at Picco or Francesca's, for instance. If you can get by with after-dinner drinks, Coppa has a number of nice options in amari and fortified wines.

    Etc.

    -- Could you be more specific?

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    8 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Thank you for the comprehensive response!

      1. re: yanz

        Happy to be of service! As at many South End places, lunch is pretty sweet at Coppa: a more limited menu, but it's mostly empty, a peaceful alternative to the nightly throngs.

        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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        Coppa
        253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          My husband and I adore it for lunch. We like to sit at the bar so lunch is the better time for that alternative. At dinner you may have people reaching over you. Be sure to indulge in the house cured meats & charcuterie.

          Photos here:
          http://www.bostonzest.com/2010/05/fri...

          Penny
          http://www.bostonzest.com/

      2. re: MC Slim JB

        How casual is casual? I never really pictured it as being a casual spot - granted I never pictured it as being dressy-dressy like l'espalier or something either.

        1. re: jgg13

          I've been in there in a suit and tie, and in jeans and a t-shirt. Coppa gets a lot of folks from the neighborhood, and I don't think anyone is especially dressing up or down specifically for the restaurant before they go. You wouldn't feel out of place dressed in the height of fashion or in shorts and flip-flops. I'd say it's super-"nobody cares".

          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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          Coppa
          253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            Ok. I don't often end up over that way very often, and I was wondering if it was the sort of thing where I happened to be schlepping around anyways and there was a free table that I wouldn't feel out of place as opposed to specifically planning on going there. Thanks.

            1. re: jgg13

              it seems to be pretty casual, not the place for a suit and tie. But wearing a suit and tie would not deter me.

              1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                Exactly. In my case, wearing a suit was about being too lazy to change after work.

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

      3. I would go as early as possible. I had planned to go two weekends ago and walked by at 6 and it was mostly empty. My friend and I decided to pop into the Franklin for a drink before coppa and less than an hour later there was a 90 minute wait. The bar area was super crowded as well and I didnt feel like we could stand there with a drink without being in the way of the servers (it was two deep at the bar). 530 ish should leave you in good shape though.

        I think it is fun to order many small plates there to share. There is a marinated cauliflower dish that is great. enjoy!

        3 Replies
        1. re: cassoulady

          well, at least this makes me think that I don't need to be there before 5:30 (I was starting to imagine a Babbo-like line down the street...).

            1. re: bizkat

              We were in NY for a night earlier this year and yes, for those that don't have reservations and are hoping for the bar/tables in front. We were ~10th party in line, and we were there ~20 mins before they opened.

              FYI - it was a Sat. night.

        2. update: went tonight and the food was delicious. So glad to have tried it. DH doesn't typically like small plates, but he loved being able to try all the delicious-looking items on the menu.

          What I didn't know what that they were actually open before 5:30 (just not serving dinner yet), so when we got there at 5:30, the patio was already full. Thankfully, a table opened up 20 mins later, so we just had a drink at the bar inside.

          1. Thought I'd tag onto this thread! I went out to Coppa last night with my BF, friend and her husband. It was so good!

            Tomato Salad (special)- this was delic! Marinated heirloom tomatoes with big chunks of blue cheese. The blue cheese was very creamy and super flavorful and the tomatoes were perfect. I just love summer tomatoes..

            Sea Urchin Croissanti - Not my favorite, but it could just be my personal taste. I thought the Sea Urchin was just way too fishy. I like fishy tastes like sardines, but maybe the fact that it was fried sea urchin made it too fishy for me.

            Clam White Pizza - This was good, but a little overwhelming with the caramelized onion taste. Still, I really liked it. I'd suggest getting a pizza if you're trying to keep your bill on the lower side (we're all in our early twenties, so we don't have that much money to spend on eating out). The pizzas are a decent size and only $15, so it helps fill everyone up without spending too much.

            Gnocchi with Lamb Ragu - Table favorite! Omg this was delicious! There was some mint in it was was just perfect. Great lamb taste and the gnocchi was perfect. Loved it!

            Pasta with spicy chicken sausage - Also really yummy but I feel bad because it was overshadowed by how awesome the lamb ragu was. Still- it was spicy and lovely.

            Totally enjoyed it! Definitely plan to go back again. :-)

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            Coppa
            253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

            8 Replies
            1. re: your_outreach

              Gnocchi with Lamb Ragu question. I have a very spoiled husband who adores gnocchi but he wants them to be extremely light - not gummy or pasty. Very few places do them this way. How would you describe the gnocchi themselves?

              I've taken to discouraging him from ordering them except for a few places that have proven to please him.

              Penny
              http://www.bostonzest.com/

              1. re: BostonZest

                Hm, good question. I found the gnocchi to be really great, even on its own, but I guess I would consider it slightly chewy. Then again, I can't imagine gnocchi that isn't a little chewy... you have to chew on something! It definitely wasn't pasty and I didn't find it gummy, but I can't tell what your husband considers extremely light. My suggestion would be to order it for yourself and let him try it! It's super delicious, so you won't be disappointed at all, but then you could also figure out if the gnocchi is to his liking. It's all small plates at Coppa, so it wouldn't be the only thing you eat either! I think it was around $13 or $14, can't remember exactly!

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                Coppa
                253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                1. re: BostonZest

                  we had the gnocchi as well and while I wouldn't describe them as gummy or pasty, they were on the denser side (rather than super "puffy"). I don't know what you would consider "extremely light" but IMO, the "puffiest" gnocchi (big and puffy, rather than small and dense) I've had were at Davio's, Dante, and Sibling Rivalry (back in the days when they did gnocchi). So if your definition of light is similar to my definition of puffy, then that's your answer...

                  However, I would say that the gnocchi in this dish is second to the lamb ragu (in quantity) - I would almost say that it's a lamb ragu dish with some gnocchi thrown in, so while it may not be his top choice of gnocchi, he may still love the dish (we did).

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                  Davio's
                  75 Arlington Street, Boston, MA 02116

                  Sibling Rivalry
                  525 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02116

                  1. re: yanz

                    FYI - the lamb ragu has now become pork ragu.

                  2. re: BostonZest

                    Penny, your husband and I see eye to eye on gnocchi. The only places I've found them to be reliably pillowy are Sel de la Terre and Grotto. I'd steer clear of them at La Campagna, Taranta, and No. 9. What has his gnocchi research revealed?

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                    Sel de la Terre
                    1245 Worcester Street, Natick, MA 01760

                    1. re: pollystyrene

                      Taranta was one of the ones he didn't like. He was spoiled by Chef David Reynoso at the old Louis Cafe on Newbury. David's were feather light.

                      I'm not a Gnocchi fan or I would fall on the sword and order them as a test. But even the best leave me wanting something else. And eating a big plate of them is not my idea of dining out.

                      But, Coppa may work -- I love lamb.

                      Penny
                      http://www.bostonzest.com/

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                      Coppa
                      253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                      1. re: BostonZest

                        I thought gnocchi always were heavy & gummy (yuck) until I had them at Lineage. I was utterly charmed by how light and delicate they were there. Only had them once though, so I don't know if they're consistently like that.

                    2. re: BostonZest

                      Key with Gnocchi is they have to be house made, but not just house made, made in the past few hours. Even a morning prep (10:00am) and they will get leaden by dinner.

                      I agree that Grotto nails them.

                      I don't mind the gluey ones myself, but the fluffy ones are transcendent...

                  3. Finally managed to hit it for lunch and tried a few things including the vaunted white clam pizza.
                    Unfortunately, for us, we found it horribly salty in spots, most likely because of the bacon that is also added to it...thought about complaining but figured it was normal if you add bacon to a pizza and we shouldn't have ordered it :-P

                    Our favorite was the duck prosciutto, though we wish we had a bit more bread to put it on. We also tried the octopus salad which was just ok...octopus had a strangish texture from being cold..almost like a mushy texture instead of a slightly al dente; the salad tasted good though.

                    And our highlight of the day was watching Jamie's daughter walk for the first time...very loving parents. Kid hauled *ss walking after a while too :-)

                    Pictures attached...

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                    Coppa
                    253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118