Copa Cafe (yes I’m humming Manilow’s Copacabana right now) is managed by former chefs and staff of nearby Cafe Gloucester. Incidentally, we’ve visited Cafe Gloucester a couple of times, as seen here and here. As expected, their menu items are quite similar, as is the aloof and hectic service. Since it’s a newer establishment, the decor it a lot different than Gloucester’s. Copa Cafe is more modern and dare I say sleeker and more upscale in appearance, with warms colors, comfy armless chairs, and streamline booths. The restaurant is also clean and well-maintained. Another bonus is that free parking is provided at the rear of the building. However, tread with caution because the spots are quite tight.
The best part about Hong Kong style cafes are their ‘set’ menus (see photo above). Reasonably priced items on Copa Cafe’s mini set menu come with a complimentary hot drink, or you can substituted a cold drink for $1.00, jumbo cold drink for $1.50, or bubble tea for $2.00 extra. We didn’t take pictures of our beverages, but I ordered a honey lemon hot drink, and Gary had a hot milk tea.
Minced Beef and Cilantro ($6.95) – Served with vermicelli noodles in soup, this dish consisted of a nice light broth and fragrant fresh cilantro sprigs. Perhaps the soup was too light because I needed to order another dish (tuna croissant sandwich) to fill myself up.
House Special Seafood ($8.95) – Served over a bed of pan fried noodles, this was a generous portion of seafood which included a medley of crunchy prawns, well-cooked scallops, mussels, etc. and steamed baby bok choy was a excellent addition to the meal. We enjoyed the crispy deep fried noodles contrasted with the soft part of the noodles drenched in sauce.
Tuna Croissant ($6.95) – This tuna sandwich was served with a choice of fruit salad or fries. Looking back, I should have ordered the fries. Copa Cafe’s fruit salad wasn’t a typical fruit salad – this one had buckets of mayo. I’m familiar with this type of fruit salad and have even had it with shrimp mixed in (although I find that combination rather revolting). That amount of mayo with fruit is completely unnecessary and extremely unappetizing. With such a large quantity of mayonnaise, I could barely identify what kind of fruit pieces the salad actually contained. There were definitely some potato pieces chucked in there as well. So now it’s a potato-fruit-salad? Personally, I feel that potato salad and fruit salad are two different dishes and should not be mixed. At least put 90% less mayo, then it could perhaps be edible. There are people who enjoy this style of fruit salad, I however, do not. Any readers out there who like it? I’d love you here from you in the comments below. Anyway, I could go on forever about my dislike of this particular side dish. The sandwich, on the other hand, was delicious. The croissant itself was actually quite lovely – nicely toasted and still slightly warm when it was served to our table.
Overall, Copa Cafe is a more upscale Hong Kong style cafe offering reasonable prices, and generous portion sizes. A good bet if you’re looking for this type of cuisine in the Cambie area of Vancouver – just refrain from ordering the ‘fruit salad’!