We love you, Boston, but let’s face it—some things are just better in Italy. Those street-corner osterias are rustic and convivial, espressos are tiny and potent, house wine served in a carafe is actually good, and a terrace spills out onto every square inch of sidewalk. Most importantly, in Italy it’s OK to wallow away the afternoon on said terrace with the most easy and lovable of drinks: an Aperol Spritz.
Thankfully, Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette—the chefs behind Toro and Little Donkey—took all of these habits to heart when opening this South End eatery. One might say they’ve even made improvements; on Coppa’s terrace, surrounded by beautiful brownstones, you can enjoy not only a glass but a pitcher of Aperol Spritz. Arrivederci, afternoon.
It’s the kind of patio you pass in summertime and can’t imagine sitting anywhere else, while the small interior’s tall windows get all steamy and seductive in winter. We’d eat here in any season—and so would the rest of Boston—which is why waiting for a table is requisite. But once seated you’ll feel positively unrushed, channeling another Italian invention: Slow Food. Here it’s easy to find excuses to slowly dwindle away the evening —perhaps a second cocktail, a spicy mezcal-based Coppa Paloma.
In a further nod to the real Italy, salumi is house-cured and abundant. And while so many restaurants take time to craft delicate, artsy charcuterie platters with exotic accompaniments, Coppa’s chefs have another strategy: slice those meats till they’re melt-in-your-mouth thin, then serve them in giant heaps garnished with nothing more than mustard and pickles. On a warm night, slices of Duck Prosciutto and Salame Nostrano start to get all glossy and ooze fat, begging to be washed down with big sips of house red.
The richness continues—perfectly crisp-on-the-outside fried Arancini; bold and spicy dollops of nduja atop a gorgeous pizza; even the asparagus is somehow meaty and filling. And that al dente Spaghetti Carbonara, with its sea urchins, chunks of pancetta, and parmesan… Coppa really is like Italy: lustrous, generous, and definitely not shy.
You can trust the cheese selection here. It all comes from Boston’s without-a-doubt-best cheese shop: Formaggio Kitchen, whose South End location is conveniently across the street.
Dog lovers rejoice! The patio is pooch-friendly.
Coppa accepts reservations by phone and online, but don’t be disheartened if you can’t find a table that way; a bunch of tables are set aside each day for walk-ins.
Chef Jamie Bissonnette was once a vegan. He has since reformed (and we’re so glad he did).
Tastes of Coppa
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