During my visit to Vancouver, my mom told me about “Hapa Hour” at Hapa Izakaya (@HapaIzakaya) which features $4 draft beer and a selection of half-priced tapas. Their “Hapa Hour” special is available Mondays to Fridays from 3pm to 6pm and since I was on vacation, I dropped by with my mom for an early dinner.
Hapa Izakaya currently has four locations in Vancouver with a soon-to-open location in Toronto. My mom and I dropped by the Coal Harbour location which is found inside the Waterfront Centre. There isn’t very much signage, so it’s easily missed.
The space is quite large and has a big side patio. You’ll notice that the atmosphere here isn’t quite as loud and lively like Guu. The restaurant has modern décor which gives it a more upscale feel compared to other izakayas I’ve frequented.
Since we came during “Hapa Hour”, we each had a pint of Red Truck beer for $4 each. If you’d prefer another beverage, their house wine is $5 for a glass.
We started with the Beef Tataki – lightly seared AAA beef, sesame-chili sauce ($4.49 – “Hapa Hour” price) and I have to say, it was a great start to our meal! The thinly sliced beef was tender and the sesame-chili sauce, which wasn’t very spicy at all, had a great flavour. The fried onions were a great addition which gave the tataki a nice crunch.
Next up was the Ebi Mayo – tempura wild shrimp, spicy mayo sauce ($4.49 – “Hapa Hour” price). This is one of my favourite dishes at izakayas and unfortunately the one at Hapa wasn’t one of the better ones I’ve had. The shrimp wasn’t as crispy as I would’ve liked since there was a heavy coating of the sauce. In addition, the spicy sauce could’ve used a bit more of a kick to it.
When my mom suggested the Ika – grilled squid, sake soy garlic marinade ($4.49 – “Hapa Hour” price), I was a little hesitant since I’ve had my fair share of rubbery squid. It turned out to be surprisingly tender! The squid had a nice grilled flavour and even though it came with a side of mayo, I found that it had enough flavour to be eaten on its own.
My favourite dish of the evening was the Renkon Gyoza – minced pork layered with lotus root, tempura ($3.75 – “Hapa Hour” price). Be warned though…this isn’t your typical gyoza. Instead of the meat filling being wrapped by dough, the filling is sandwiched between two crunchy lotus root slices. Highly recommended!
The last dish we had was the Ocean Wise Chowder – BC halibut, scallop, bacon, dashi, cream ($3.99 – “Hapa Hour” price). I had high expectations for this dish since it was the award-winning chowder in the Ocean Wise Seafood Chowder Chow Down hosted by the Vancouver Aquarium.
It certainly didn’t disappoint! It had a great seafood flavour and while it was creamy in texture, it didn’t taste too heavily of cream. And most importantly… my mom loved it!
Overall, I had a great meal at Hapa Izakaya. I’ll have to admit, their regular prices are on the high side so take advantage of their Hapa Hour featuring $4 beers and a selection of half-priced tapas.
At a glance:
• 4 Vancouver locations with a Toronto location coming soon!
• The Coal Harbour location is tucked inside the Waterfront Centre
• Large patio and plenty of seating
• “Hapa Hour” at the Coal Harbour location features $4 beers and a selection of half-priced tapas, Mondays to Fridays from 3pm-6pm
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 4 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars