Fans of soccer and Spanish food are in for a treat at Copa Kitchen and Bar, Ballston Quarter Market's newest restaurant.
Don't worry about buying that subscription to watch all the D.C. United games -- they'll be playing on Copa's screens! Pair that with a family-friendly atmosphere, delicious menu items, and craft cocktails, and you have a memorable night out.
PARKING: Pay garage attached to Ballston Quarter (entrance is off of Glebe Road)
METRO: Two blocks from Ballston Metro station
We sat down with Executive Chef Fernando Giacomini to talk about the concepts behind Copa's delicious food.
"We serve familiar classics with Spanish soul," he explained. "Even our wings -- they are done with a Spanish quince membrillo, and our spicy wings have a beautiful blood orange glaze. Our cocas are hand-stretched Spanish flatbreads, and our chefs travel to Spain to learn the proper techniques. We take high-quality, simple ingredients, and we treat them in a straight-forward manner."
The menu reads like a list of the best things you've ever wanted to taste on a trip to Spain. Here is what we tried:
We started with thin sheets of prized Iberico ham wrapped around housemade bread. A simple salad of butter lettuce, Spanish blue cheese, and crisped shards of ham was one of my favorite dishes.
We then tried two of their famous cocas, one topped with sausage and caramelized onions and the other covered with a mixture of roasted vegetables. The dough was rustic and delicious, both crunchy and tender at the same time.
Next came the bomba, an unassuming little ball of pulled pork surrounded by gooey melted cheese and soft mashed potatoes. The whole thing is fried to a gorgeous crisp and served with a pair of sauces. This is definitely a must-try signature dish.
Last but certainly not least, we were treated to dramatic skewers of succulent lamb and plump shrimp. They were served up with fluffy seasoned rice, vegetables, and savory stewed chickpeas.
The cocktails at Copa are out of this world. A sangria flight was surprisingly light, even with a mixed berry version, a fizzy mango, and a traditional red. The blue drink is the Aviación, a tart, smooth cocktail that went down much too easily. My favorite of all of them was the Gran Paloma, similar to a margarita, but made with grapefruit juice and rimmed with salt and chili powder. Yes, please!
Make sure you save room for dessert! These little jars are full of scrumptious combinations like chocolate and peanut butter, lemon meringue, and berries with cream. Delicious!
Ballston Quarter Market is really shaping up to be quite a foodie destination. Just a few weeks ago, Mi and Yu Noodles were the only game in town. Now, you've got Copa Kitchen and Bar, Hot Lola's, our buddies at Ice Cream Jubilee, and many more spots opening soon.
The outdoor seating is going to be perfect on sunny spring days, and the cheerful decor inside has fun little nooks -- indoor cornhole, anyone?
Go for happy hour and stay for dinner, or better yet, bring the whole family on a weekend. There's something for everyone at Copa Kitchen and Bar!
**All photos in the article are by Tony and Sarina Petrocelly.
Have you tried Copa Kitchen and Bar yet? What are your favorite dishes? Let us know in the comments below!