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Hapa Izakaya is a modern Japanese restaurant chain in Vancouver. We went to the Yaletown location for their “hapa hour” that started from 5:00pm. It was a great way to try some of their tapas for half price!
The restaurant was dimly lit and modern looking. Kinda like a pub. You wouldn’t guess it is actually a Japanese restaurant just by looking at their interior.
By looking at their menu, you can tell that this place serves some traditional Japanese dishes, some western food as well as their own Japanese-Western fusion creations. We ordered a few things just to see if the food is tasty.
Their traditional Japanese dishes like agedashi tofu ($2.99) and beef tataki ($4.99) were delicious! I had never had beef sashimi before. The lightly seared beef tasted very fresh. The sesame-chili sauce added some flavor to the beef and almost made me forget I was eating raw beef!
The chopped albacore tuna belly from the negitoro ($4.49) tasted amazing. It simply melted in your mouth. By substituting rice with garlic bread, it created a lovely fusion of Japanese and Western tastes.
The hapa hot wings ($3.99) was crispy and juicy! The chili-soya sauce spiced things up a little.
However, their other creations didn’t taste so good. The ingredients in the tropical roll ($2.99), which included yam tempura, banana, asparagus and mango miso, simply didn’t taste well together. The renkon gyoza tempura ($3.99) tasted weird with the lotus root wrapped outside.
With regards to the service, the server was attentive and cautious. We told the server that one of our friends is allergic to shrimps and she constantly came back to check the food was alright for him.
In general, it was a nice dining experience at Hapa Izakaya. The hapa hour is a good steal. I won’t recommend being too adventurous to try new creations there. It is safer to stick to the traditional Japanese dishes.
My review: Hapa Izakaya is like Lindt chocolate. It serves good ordinary dishes; however, some new creations might taste a little weird.