Hapa Izakaya serves Japanese Izakaya cuisine, similar to Gyoza King and Guu. They have 3 locations in Vancouver and have been around since 2003. For some reason Hapa had escaped my restaurant radar and I had never been before (I think I am so loyal to Gyoza King) so we decided to rectify this and try the one in Kitsilano at 1516 Yew.
As I mentioned in a previous post about Gyoza King, Izakaya is Japanese fusion/tapas. Most of the plates are small and meant for sharing. It’s my favorite style of Japanese cooking.
After doing my usual peruse of the online menu, mentally selecting the dishes that sounded enticing, I was extremely excited; so many delicious things to sample.
Being a Friday night we made a reservation. I’m glad we did as the place was busy and people without reservations were being told they’d have to wait at least 45 minutes.
The décor inside is best described as contemporary Japanese-style with dark wooden tables and chairs, really cozy for a wet Vancouver evening.
Both in a mood for feasting we didn’t hold back and ordered lots of items. Here is a photographic tour of our superb meal:
Gindara ($10.50): Miso-sake marinated sablefish
Scallop Tartar ($8.50): Fresh Qualicum Bay scallops with homemade bacon bits in a Japanese mustard mayo sauce. Served with wonton chips
Wild Prawn Ebi Mayo ($8.95): Tempura wild prawns tossed in spicy Japanese Mayo
Negitoro ($7.95): Albacore tuna belly, chopped with spring onions & served with garlic bread
Hapa Hot Wings ($7.50): Maple Hill organic chicken with spicy Serrano chilli sauce
Cho Wagyu ($10.95): Self seared Japanese beef with garlic chips, green onion & ponzu sauce
Fish N’ Chips Roll ($7.95): Halibut tempura, lettuce & crispy potato bits with takana tartar sauce
Overall we loved our meal and can’t wait to return. The sablefish was absolutely mouth-watering, perfectly cooked and bursting with flavor. The scallop tartar with bacon bits had a welcome bite to it. The scallops tasted really fresh, a very nice and light dish. The helping of ebi mayo was a little on the small side, but nonetheless it tasted delicious.
My absolute favorite dish was the negitoro (next time I want one all to myself). The tuna was marinated in a scrumptious sauce and spreading it on the garlic bread was so good, mmmm. My second favorite was the fish n’ chips roll. They actually tasted like fish n’ chips, especially with the tartar sauce and lemon. A really unique dish (and hard to resist for a Scot).
The wings were my least favorite, they didn’t taste bad, just boring compared to the rest of the meal, wouldn’t order them again. And finally the Cho Wag was really good. It came with a hot stone that you use to self-cook the thin slices of beef short-rib. Dipping the seared meat into the ponzu sauce and adding garlic chips was extremely yummy. It complemented the meat very well.