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3.5
  • Food3.5
  • Service3
  • Value2.5
  • Ambiance3.5
  • Reviews88

Hapa Izakaya

1479 Robson St
Vancouver, BC V6G1C1
Tel: (604) 689-4272 Reserve Online
Neighbourhood: Central

Reviews

Displaying 41 - 60 of 88 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Happy with Hapa - best Izakaya in town!
By pachowhi of Vancouver (13 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, August 24, 2007 - 12:30pm [Dine in]

I love Hapa Izakaya. I've been here over half-a-dozen times and I love it. I can understand that the Izakaya may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's definately mine!

I agree with other reviewers:

Yes, it's youthful
Yes, the service is inconsistent (but my experience has been positive overall)

The place is modern and hip and just alot of fun.

The food is FANTASTIC - I love the cold tofu salad, and the Salmon Roe/Kimchi Udon is my favorite!!!! The deep fried prawns and the all their tuna sashimis was gobbled down with glee by all my friends on my last visit here. And everyone I've ever taken has found the food delicious and the place exciting. I haven't been disappointed by a single menu item I ever ordered here.

That said, I had some older family friends visit a week ago and I didn't take them here. Nor have I ever taken my 2 preschoolers here. I think that the very young and old set might find it a bit loud, dark, and overstimulating here. But this is an Izakaya, read up on wikipedia if you haven't been to one. And I think Hapa is the best one in town!

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A good introduction to Japanese tapas
By Vangroover of Coal Harbour (11 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - 12:11am [Dine in]

What the heck is izakaya?

Most uninitiated American East Coasters will have no clue. So when a Right Coast friend visited me recently, I had to show her the Japanese trend that's going to catch on in her neck of the woods in say, oh, five years or so.

Hapa Izakaya is a good introduction to the uninitiated. Japanese tapas, what a wonderful idea! Oilier than typical Japanese sushi, healthier than traditional Spanish tapas. The King Crab roll, toasted on the outside, was delectable under a sweetish sauce (was that hoisin?). The Ake ahi tuna though was over barbecued and too crispy. And tuna roll wrapped in prosciutto? It was just right that we didn't need the Kikkoman.

You add the dark, I'm-too-sexy-for-the-food atmosphere, and your out of town friends will be talking about this how wonderful and fun Vancouver dining is. If you're native Vancouverite, however, you may see Hapa as just expensive typical Japanese fare.

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Nice little piece of Japan
By Tachikoma of East Van (10 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, January 13, 2007 - 9:49pm [Dine in]

It's located near the bottom of Robson Street, where some of us aZns call Little Tokyo. I would suggest reservations as if you just walk in and try to get a table, you're guaranteed at least a 30-minute wait. None of the servers and cooks seem to be over the age of 35, and all of them attractive. It's good eye candy while you wait to be seated.
They yell out orders and seating arrangements in Japanese, which is refreshing. The atmosphere is relaxed, and there is a great mix of ethnicities in the customer populous.
The drinks are excellent and yummy, the food is gorgeous. I gouge myself everytime I go there. You just can't help it. They serve it up in "drinking" portions and before you know it, you're stuffed. The price is a little high, as is expected of any place on Robson Street, but well worth the experience!

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Great dining experience
By maelstrom of West End (10 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, September 1, 2006 - 5:40pm [Dine in]

I went to Hapa Izakaya on a Friday evening at 5:30 and lucky to get seated without a reservation. I know the place was popular but didn't know it was that popular!

I found both the food and the service to be excellant. The presentation of the food was incredble and everything tasted really, really good. The service was very attentive and considerate. It was a great dining experience and I look forward to returning (with a reservation).

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Seen and be seen!
By hohohong of Van (16 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, March 6, 2006 - 9:22pm [Dine in]

Excellent tapas style japanese food. Excellent atmosphere. Chic place to hang out. More selection of wine. The food is decorated so beacutifully that we were reluctant to eat it!

Reservation highly recommended.

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nice tapas
By newintown2012 of Vancouver (4 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, February 18, 2012 - 11:50am [Dine in]

Very hard to notice is place because of the non chalant exterior. I was referred here by the conceirge at the place that I was living in to check it out. Thankfully they have a bar area so I didnt feel bad being a table for one.

They have an extensive drinks menu and the servers they hire are very attractive. Almost like Moxie's or Cactus, but in an asian establishment.

The food took a while and wasnt the most spectacular, but it is very good for what they are trying to do here. This place does get packed as it was very noisy on my way out.

If my friends come visit me here in Vancouver, I would definetely bring them here for a guys night out!!!

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Yaletown needs to include their gratuity policy on their lunch menu
By VanDecker of Coquitlam, B.C. (1 Review)
Submitted Friday, August 20, 2010 - 2:16pm [Dine in]

I wanted to re-iterate a complaint I delivered at your Yaletown location this afternoon. I've been to this location 5 times before with parties of 4 people. Today I convinced a larger party of 8 to visit your establishment. Upon receiving our individual bills I noticed that a 18% gratuity was automatically included, which for me is fine as I usually tip 20%. But I explained to the staff that you should note this on your lunch menu, which is a sheet of paper.

I was told that this information is on your website, as well as your dinner menu, as if this excused this information from being absent on your lunch menu. I don't find this to be an acceptable excuse as:
1. I've never visited your website, and shouldn't be expected to prior to eating at your establishment and
2. The dinner menu wasn't handed to us when we sat down, only a drink menu (of which the gratuity policy is also absent) and the paper lunch menu.

It is for this reason that I encourage you to include this policy on your lunch menu so your customers are informed, thus creating an atmosphere whereby the only thing which is a surprise is your great food.

This is standard in the food industry, and I hope you consider my suggestion, as I (and my co-workers) will not patronize your establishment again until your lunch menu is corrected to include this.

Most Sincerely

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Great Ambiance Coupled with Great Food
By 3verlasting of Coquitlam (4 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, May 28, 2010 - 2:31am [Dine in]

Hapa Izakaya is definitely one of my favorite Japanese izakayas. Every single time I visit, I always order the Juan Karaage, Ishiyaki, and Tuna Tataki. Firstly, Juan Karaage is Hapa's version of the standard chicken karaage - it is 'to die for'. I'm usually not the type to order common dishes like the chicken karaage, but Hapa's is definitely worth trying. It is always hot, fresh, juicy, and tasty. As a bonus, it's boneless chicken! Secondly, Ishiyaki is a mix of rice with a variety of meat, vegetables, and mildly spicy sauce. It is mixed in a hot, sizzling stone bowl; you can be sure it's fresh and tasty since it's basically cooked right in front of you. This is basically the order to make you feel 'filled'. Thirdly, Tuna Tataki is not vastly different from other tuna tatakis, but I just like Hapa's zesty sauce coupled with red and green onions. Another dish I recommend is the Saba, which is just regular Saba sashimi with a twist - they sear the sashimi at your table. It's just something a little unique to get your night started. The Kabocha, which seems more like a dessert to me, is also great. The Kabocha consists of biscuits with mashed yam and whipping cream toppings. It's a sweet appetizer to begin your stay at Hapa.

As much as I love Hapa's menu, here are a few that I suggest future visitors avoid: tuna/beef lettuce wrap and negitoro. The lettuce wrap was a little messy to eat, and there just wasn't anything special about it. The negitoro was extremely disappointing, considering that I order this dish everytime I go to a Japanese restaurant. However, Hapa's was a failure. The portion is extremely small, the taste ranges from spicy-to-sour-to-sweet (what kind of taste is that??), and the bread that comes with it is just hard and tasteless.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Hapa no longer accepts debit cards. I wish someone would have told me, so I'm telling all you future visitors now :)

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Great food, trendy place, and awesome drinks. Fun place to take a date!
By VancityAllie of Vancouver (Fairview) (7 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 8:13pm [Dine in]

We really love Hapa Izakaya. The food is delicious and always hot and creative.

Service can be a little bit slow, but it's worth it since the place is always packed.

Highly recommend anything off the grill, and of course the Hello Kitty drinks. Amazing. Also love the bacon wrapped asparagus and the sablefish...

Ambiance is very cool.

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Fun place, Food could be better
By ilike food of surrey (3 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, April 5, 2010 - 2:14pm [Dine in]

I have gone here a few times with friends. It's a fun place to hang out and have sake but the food is nothing extraordinary. They do present it nicely, but the flavors are bland and the portions are small. I find that no matter how much we order, it doesn't fill us up....and we're girls!! The ambiance is great, however. And the service is good. We'll go back for the sake, but not for the food.

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My first and last visit.
By H.H. Hippo of Vancouver (West Side) (1 Review)
Submitted Saturday, February 6, 2010 - 3:01am [Dine in]

After years of hearing about this place and patronizing Vancouver's other Izakaya haunts instead, I finally made it out to Hapa. Sadly, it was not the experience that I had hoped for. A few questions arise. Were all the glowing reviews for an entirely different restaurant? Do people have no taste buds? Has Hapa on Robson simply not aged well due to complacency and or laziness? Is having two other locations to blame for poor management?

For a Friday night about a week from the Olympics, one would expect a healthy, vibrant restaurant to be a full house. This was far from the case. There weren't tumbleweeds blowing through or crickets chirping, but the scene was depressingly similar. Nearby, there is a visible wait at both Gyoza King and Guu with Garlic. Surely Hapa management realizes that they are doing something wrong.

Anyhow, lets get to the food. Izakaya fare isn't what many would consider particularly fancy or complicated food yet somehow the Hapa people manage to get it wrong. The two biggest offenders at Hapa were the yaki-udon and the seared mackerel.

Their take on yaki-udon is an extremely westernized one. Think generic stir fried chow mein at a food court dining option called something like Wok N' Roll and you'll get the idea. This would be completely acceptable if I weren't paying double or more what I would at the aforementioned establishment.

The Saba was the dinner and show portion of the evening. I've seen this table-side blow torch display before (at a Yaletown Izakaya that closed down a while ago.. my memory fails me when it comes to the name) and its awkward and underwhelming every time. It could have been the description on the menu or my poor reading skills, but I was looking forward to mackerel that was more thoroughly cooked. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my raw fish but Hapa's version of Saba was wholly unpleasant. The product wasn't outright rotten, but more cooking it with a less gimmicky a more robata/bbq method would have toned down the fishiness to an edible level.

I won't go into too much detail about the restaurant's appearance other than saying that its Cactus Club's Asian cousin in terms of the aesthetics of the space and staff. As for service, food came all at once quickly (which can be good or bad) and there were frequent water refills. Not outstanding and there's nothing to really complain about.

Lastly, not so many Asian people apart from the staff... Virtually no Japanese customers. You know where I'm going with this. It's OK for me to bring this up. I'm Asian.

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Services is important
By mango of Vancouver (9 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, November 29, 2009 - 10:27pm [Dine in]

Try this restaurant since my friends moved to downtown.
Food is nothing special but the price is higher than I expected.
Service is only thing that I don't really like. My server just take my order and she never come back to ask for a drinks. Although it's not very busy, she seems having a lot of things to do.
The same price of check that I have many other choices.
Too bad, this is our first time and last time to try this place.

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Pathtic Service
By thisaintfh of toronto (1 Review)
Submitted Saturday, October 31, 2009 - 11:29am [Dine in]

Great food. Great Design. Great ambiance. HORRIFIC SERVICE.

Waitress walked away without taking half of our drink orders. Never ever came back to see if anyone wanted another drink or more food. HELLO. This is a tapas style restaurant.

Neither she nor her manager could provide meaningful assistance to deal with allergy issues. If owned this joint I would be in there cleaning house.

Sorry Mr. Manager a few complimentary desserts don't cut it.

WAKE UP

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regular night-outs with girlfriends
By luvstoeat of Vancouver (6 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, October 6, 2009 - 1:04am [Dine in]

We always order the same items on girls night-outs! Grilled chicken salad, cheese tofu, om rice, yakiudon........For some reason, this combination really fills us up and the variety satisfies us and we don't seem to get tired of it :) Definitely a favorite! It gets quite busy though so we always try to go during their "off" times after the dinner rushes, or book ahead.

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this is more like a drinking party atmosphere
By dontknowhu of Vancouver (3 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, August 24, 2009 - 1:06am [Dine in]

my first feelings about this restaurant is that it's going to be great because i love Japanese Tapas.

we waited for almost an hour cause we didnt make reservations. this is a busy packed restaurant lounge.

we had a large group and sat on a round table. i mean we were surrounded by dark walls, semi lighted area, but nothing that special. those round tables were soo hard to get in because u have to walk up on this uprised thing that was soo stickyyyy because people are drinking.

we ordered around 5 or 6 plates and the portions were really tiny. they seem as if they were snacks for the drinks but not meant to be as a meal. for the price of the portion we were getting with average quality i didnt think the dishes were worth it at all.

the workers were veryy happy, helpful and outgoing.
i even saw a worker drink a shot with a table. is that even allowed?

anyway i will only come here if i have a party or sth.

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So So
By kibbylover of vancouver (27 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 8:08pm [Dine in]

Food:

The highlight of the meal was the sashimi. My friend and I ordered the sashimi platter, spicy scallop sashimi, grilled whole squid, eel tempura roll and a rice dish. Personally I thought that the eel tempura should have been warm; it was cold eel tempura that tasted like it had been sitting out. My friend ordered a rice dish that he seemed to like, but, I wasn't a fan of( I didn't like the meat).

Service:

The waitress was really pretty, nice and totally helpful. She was constantly clearing our table and totally on top of our drinks.

Value:

Honestly it was the same price as Kingyo, but the dishes were no where near as good. So, I feel that you weren't getting the quality that you pay for.

Ambiance:

We sat at the bar and it was good. The only complaints that I have is the noisiness and the fact that we were surrounded by a bunch of delinquents who wore diamonds on there jeans. The architecture was decent, nothing to talk about...

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Hapa with my second visit
By melly of Kitsilano (26 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, July 11, 2009 - 2:43pm [Dine in]

My first visit to Hapa (Kitsilano) was not a good experience at all, however I was forced back for a second visit for a friend's birthday at the Robson location and it was waaaay better. The birthday girl, having spent 3 years in Japan teaching English, had recommended that we all order the Omakase as it would be a better value for our large group. I was very pleasantly surprised with the quality and the quantity of the food. The Omakase came with Edamame and one choice of salad, plus 9 entrees all for $30. My favorites were the sable fish, negitoro, and ebi may. Since I do not eat red meat, I was not able to eat all of the entrees (2 were red meat) but I was still quite full at the end. The Hello Kitty drink is a must try too.

I probably will never go back to the Kits location, but will definitely visit the Robson location again.

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It's a short walk to Guu...
By u4ya of Yaletown (1 Review)
Submitted Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 12:51am [Dine in]

Hapa Izakaya on Robson was disappointing. Our first (and last) time there. The ebi salad, mixed greens with sesame ginger type dressing some slivers of almond, like half an avocado and a few shrimp. Ebi mayo, decent, standard 6 out of 10. "Chicken" udon had 5 dime sized flakes of chicken and for presentation I would give it a fail. Sablefish, too fishy to have been all that fresh and really uninspired. Chicken karaage was also decent, a little sweetness to it reminiscent of the korean chicken found typically in Oahu. I think that was the only saving grace of the meal. Oh, and the Asahi. Guu is much better for flavour and freshness, quality and execution.

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Not Bad, but Pretentious
By Jai_604 of Downtown, Vancouver (3 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, April 10, 2009 - 12:27pm [Dine in]

(if you want the cliffnotes version skip to paragraph 3)

Hapa Izakaya on Robson is an interesting little place. If you aren't looking for it, you might just walk past its nondescript outer walls.

Once inside, however, you find yourself in a dimly lit and classy looking place while being greeted by the oft-heard "Irashai!". Expectations at this point are usually quite high, as you see an array of pretty Asian waitresses prancing about. After being seated, you are served a warm, moist towel to clean your hands and as the waitress hands you a menu and directs you to a sheet of hand-written fresh specials, your anticipation is almost palpable.

HOWEVER, as you'll soon discover, Hapa is more of a deceptive facade than anything. The food is good, not great however, especially for the price it carries. Some dishes are quite good, while others are uninspired. The waitresses are beautiful and they seem to be more interested in making sure you know that than providing good service. Service has been hit and miss for me, as I've visited Hapa a number of times. I've had really good service, but most of the time the service has been without a smile and not much enthusiasm. The best aspect of the restaurant, I'd say, is the ambiance. It is a swanky looking place.
However you'll soon find that there isn't really anything super special about anything else.

The description says 'funky', but truly there is nothing funky about this place at all. It's pretentious, really. The only time I ever go to Hapa is if someone else invites me to go there, or all the other izakayas near the area are packed solid.

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She-B*tch Stole My Shoes
By tmeding of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Sunday, November 30, 2008 - 4:28pm [Dine in]

I went to Hapa on a Sat night with a group of ten people. We had a large round table which is immediately to your left when you enter. I had just sat down with friends who arrived beforehand when a rather large overly-siliconed woman came up to me and told me I had to remove my shoes at this table. I thought this odd, as we were obviously at an open table and not in a Tatami room, so I asked a reasonable question, why am I removing my shoes? To which, Testosteroned Hostess Girl answered rudely, "because" (period), which comment was accompanied by a glare that said she was ready to 'go' over the issue if pressed. So, I hesitantly and unhappily removed my very expensive, one-of-a-kind Ralph Lauren shoes, with a classic straight 3 3/4" wooden heel, that made the ensemble'. Nuff said. They were immediately whisked away from my table and chucked (I mean thrown) under a bench at the bar, my having no idea where to find them. At that point, I was told that, in order for me to walk across the restaurant to use the washroom and not get my bare feet dirty on their floor, I would be generously provided with a pair of ‘community’ flip-flops (sorry, but that is disgusting). Whoever thought that this little brainstorm, neglected to consider the rather highly suspect hygiene issue in sharing thongs worn by strangers, not to mention that servers handling your shoes and your food is a Health and Safety complaint right there. Rather than wedge my toes where others had been, I chose to walk the dirty floor to find my own shoes, dig them out from underneath the seat of someone sitting at the bar (who’s butt was too near my face for my comfort zone at that point). All this in order to make an otherwise simple trip to the washroom. I’m pissed about the shoes. We get that by now, but more upset with the rudeness of the Hostess and her disdain for a paying customer. For a table of 10 people, we had quite a few servers. Four—plus one cranky large Hostess. However, not one of them could remember to bring me a glass of water, which I had to ask for four times. Whenever food arrived at our table it was ‘launched’ to whomever was closest and we were left to determine not only what it was, but who ordered it, and pass it around ourselves. It was very confusing for a large table and less that acceptable service. Now the food part: I admit, I am one girl who is a bit of a snob with my Japanese food and my standards are high. The food at Happa was mediocre to poor. The tuna gomae was sprinkled with feta cheese (huh?). A friend ordered a chicken dish that he described and resembling KFC (only with a much higher price tag). Another friend ordered the salmon sashimi, which was extremely overpriced for the 4 skinny slivers of daintily curled up salmon he was served—which was in the $30 price range I believe. The King Crab roll, which contained something tempura, was sopping with grease and obviously cooked at too low a heat (awful). I will also mention, whenever I have been at a nice restaurant, with this same price-point, and a drink is accidentally spilled, the House replaces the drink, no charge. Don’t expect the same courtesy at Hapa. To end my report, I have to say I will never return. The only thing they got right is their name. Definition: HAPA - portion, fragment, part: to be a portion, less (Eng., half.)

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