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Going Coastal at Copra

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

Copra is the new South Indian Coastal offering from famed Chef Sri Gopinathan, which opened its doors for the first time in February, 2023, in Japan Town in San Francisco. Having been fans of his previous 2- Michelin-starred restaurant, Taj Compton, which closed down during Covid, and the Malabar cuisine retaurant, Ettan in Palo Alto, we were waiting in anticipation to experience Sri's next venture. And sure enough, Copra didnt disappoint!! The food at Copra (meaning dried coconut) consists of a modern twist to the coastal cuisine of South India. Although the menu leans more towards non-vegetarian dishes, the vegetarian and the teetotaler in me was very pleased with the food and drink selections. I give this restaurant a whopping 4.5 out of 5 Solara Stars. Read on to find out why.


>> Got a question about this restaurant that you need answered quickly? DM me on Instagram @SolaraStills and I’ll be happy to help! I only accept DMs from followers, so hit the follow button before sending.


Parking : The restaurant is situated on Filmore in Japantown in San Francisco, in the same location as Dosa SF, before it shutdown pre-covid. On a rainy sunday evening, we were unable to score any street parking, but found ample spots in the Japantown parking garage right across the street. The restaurant does not validate parking.

Reservations : Reservations are very hard to come by, since it just opened a few weeks ago, at the time of this writing. I booked a table for 2, online, 4 weeks in advance, for a Sunday night. Although not ideal, I was only able to get a 5:15pm time slot. They do allow walk-ins for bar seating, but those were fully occupied by 6pm. So if you dont get a reservation on the date you are looking for, I highly recommend going there at 5pm, when the restaurant opens, to score seats at the bar. When we checked in with the host, we were told, in a nice way, that our reservation was for 2 hours only. That was sufficient time for us to finish dinner.

Ambiance : The restaurant is located in a white building on a corner on Filmore street. It looks very regal, with no signage on the side where the main door is located. Once you enter the restaurant, you are enveloped by the upscale, modern vibe of Copra. Ropes made of coir hang throughout the restaurant from the elevated ceiling, giving the space a tropical, breezy feel. The space is beautifully accentuated with a large collection of pots in cubby holes, and fans resembling palm fronds. There is well-spaced ample seating on the main floor of the restaurant. The entire aesthetics of the the restaurant is well pleasing to the eye. If you have a strong sense of smell, you will immediately notice the slight smell of coir permeating throughout the establishment, from the ropes made of coir fiber, hanging from the ceilings.

Service : The wait staff was extremely attentive. Our water glasses were always filled and without us knowing. The food and drinks came out within a few minutes after we ordered, and the table was cleared quickly after each course. Our waiter was very knowledgeable about the menu and provided suggestions when we asked. We were just as impressed by the service, as we were with the food.

Drinks : Copra offers an impressive cocktail and drinks menu with a few mocktail options as well. They literally have a catalog of wine and beers to choose from. We ordered the mocktails our server recommended : Orange ruby and Salty City. For an upscale restaurants such as this, and with a fancy bar, the drinks could have been made more presentable, but the taste made up for it. Salty City was a cross between a salty lassi and a cucumber smoothie. It was savory with a touch of lime. The hints of cucumber made it taste very refreshing. The Orange Ruby was light and fizzy, not too sweet, just like I wanted. It has a slight taste of a long forgotten flavor of Vibhuti (sacred ash used by Hindus), and so brought back childhood memories of me secretly licking the ash at auspicious occasions.

Food : The food menu consists of 3 serving sizes : Kadi (bite size portions), Little (Sharable appetizers for two) and Large (Sharable entrees for 2). We skipped Kadi, and directly ordered Little.

Torn Salad was like a samosa salad - bits of samosa mixed with greens and fresh fruit in a mango chutney vinaigrette and a nice zesty blend of Indian spices. It was very innovative and something I hadnt seen or tasted before.

Chilli Bajji Pav - This was handsdown the best dish I liked amongst everything we ordered. I wish I had ordered another plate of it - it was that good! It is Copra's twist to the traditional vada pav by substituting the potato vada with chilli bajjis. The ghee podi complimented the crispy banana peppers really well. Each plate comes with two of these sliders.

For the Entree, we went with VOD (Vegetables of the day), which is actually 3 mini entrees rolled into one. It constituted a small serving of roasted potatoes, done the Tamilian style, butternut squash avial, done Kerala style with an abundance of coconut gravy, and moong dal, which was the usual kind. I was this close to licking the potato dish clean, and I had never tasted avial made of butternut squash before. It was yet another innovative dish. All three came with a side of basmati rice. We also ordered a side of appam, which was fluffy and semi-sweet, just like how it should be.

We were there to celebrate hubby's birthday, however the host forgot to communicate that to our waiter. So I had to remind him. Wish they had paid attention to this small detail as well. They brought out a complimentary mango sorbet, without any fanfare. Sorbet was delicious and light, without being too sweet.

We also ordered "Gods Own" coconut variation from the dessert menu. It was a very interesting concoction of pieces of coconut, mango, candied basmati rice and sabja seeds, all presented on a bed of frozen ice. Hubby, being a lover of anything coconut, scraped the dish clean!

For a top notch restaurant such as this, with superior food and impeccable service, and located in San Francisco, we were pleasantly surprised that the bill was not too steep. We have paid a lot more for a subpar experience in other Indian-fusion restaurants in the South Bay, including the chef's other restaurant Ettan in Palo Alto.

Copra is definitely vying for that Michelin star, and it will get one soon, without a doubt. The chef has found a perfect niche for this restaurant between his 2-Michelin-starred Taj Campton (now closed) and his Michelin-reviewed Ettan. We loved everything about this place and we have already made plans to go back again, to retry their Chilli Bajji Pav and Gods Creation dessert, which we couldnt get enough of.


>> Got a question about this restaurant that you need answered quickly? DM me on Instagram @SolaraStills and I’ll be happy to help! I only accept DMs from followers, so hit the follow button before sending.


So, in Summary, I highly, highly recommend Copra to everyone, especially if you are celebrating something or someone special. I would also strongly advice you to go NOW, before it gets its Michelin star and becomes even more popular.


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