100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 44, Spaghetti Carbonara at Coppa Ristorante Italiano

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Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

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Sit back, relax and enjoy the show.
Let's get one thing straight before we start. The spaghetti carbonara at Coppa Ristorante Italiano is not authentic. That said...who could possibly be bothered with authenticity when a dish is this amazing?

The carbonara sits at the very top of Coppa's list of pasta dishes for a reason: because you should order it first and foremost, before you even go exploring the rest of Brandi Key's elegant Italian menu. It's a wonderfully simple dish that comes with a fun, interactive presentation and it has the potential to win over anyone who tastes it.

Plump strands of spaghetti are served in a shallow bowl tossed with torn bits of salami and chopped parsley, topped with cracked black pepper and a single egg. On top of this goes a thick parmesan sauce -- poured tableside -- at which point you're invited to mix the entire thing together, egg and all, until it forms a creamy, salty, wonderfully rich sauce that coats every last length of pasta.

So, sure -- it's inauthentic. But I guarantee that after tasting Key's masterpiece, you'll be hard-pressed to care.

The list so far:

No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac
No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's
No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets
No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito
No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery
No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar
No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch
No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito
No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F.
No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe
No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers
No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay
No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe
No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño
No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen
No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme
No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts
No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge
No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House
No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux
No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar
No. 79: Aporreado at Los Corrales
No. 78: Oxtail francobolli at Aldo's Cucina Italiana
No. 77: Tonkotsu at Cafe Kubo's
No. 76: Spinach danish from Angela's Oven
No. 75: Pupusas at El Petate
No. 74: Pheasant dog at Sammy's Wild Game Grill
No. 73: X-Tudo burger at Friends Pizzeria
No. 72: Esparragos gratinados at Tintos
No. 71: Gua bao at Yummy Kitchen
No. 70: Geisha dog at Happy Endings
No. 69: Oyster po-boy and gumbo at Goode Co. Seafood
No. 68: Ceviche at Sirena Seafood
No. 67: Caldo de mariscos at Taqueria Arandas
No. 66: Banana pudding at Pizzitola's
No. 65: Fried catfish and gumbo at Cafe-A-La
No. 64: Soft-shell crabs at Banana Leaf
No. 63: Macaroni and cheese at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse
No. 62: Torta burger at El Gran Malo
No. 61: Black bean burger at Ziggy's
No. 60: Parillada at Pampa Grill
No. 59: Peanut butter and jalapeño jelly burger at Wicked Whisk
No. 58: Eggplant involtini at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 57: Lone Star dog at James Coney Island
No. 56: Sushi at Sushi Miyagi
No. 55: Palestinian chicken at Al Aseel
No. 54: Roast beef sandwich at Local Foods
No. 53: Mexico City plate at Molina's Cantina
No. 52: Tacos at Brothers Taco House
No. 51: Branzino at Lucio's BYOB
No. 50: Beef sweetbreads at Feast
No. 49: Golden Doomba Special at the Rice Box Truck
No. 48: Malted waffle at City Cafe
No. 47: Banh mi bo kho at Cafe TH
No. 46: Chicken fried steak at Triple A
No. 45: Larissa plate at Harry's

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Location Info

Coppa Ristorante Italiano - CLOSED

5555 Washington, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

Man or man, between this dish, their meatballs, and their lasagna....I could eat here everyday not to mention it's walking distance from my house, I can just walk the calories off on my way home.


This is on their Houston Restaurant Week menu -- go get some, and benefit the Food Bank too!


Looks great. I love how deviations are allowed for most foods, but if you put cream in a carbonara then people go ape.


Oh yes! Already had this one on my list for the next visit ~ UG

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