Hapa Izakaya is a reasonably priced, funky Japanese tapas restaurant on Robson Street.
Arrived hungry around 7:30pm on 11/Jan/2014, being a party of one, I was refused to be seated but for the bar, (next to drunks watching sports), or to sit in front of a tall counter with the wall a foot away from my face.
I asked this if I could wait for another party to leave their table but was flat-out denied. Two other rooms with many seats available, but the host would not let me sit at any of them??? The first time I've ever had to walk out from being refused a comfortable place to eat.
Hapa Izakaya: Why are you hiring hosts like this that treat single guests as unworthy to seat???
I have eaten at this location a few times and could not believe that this would happen.
We ordered this sashimi dish that had salmon, tuna and snapper pieces of sashimi, but they were cut as sushi size. The 6 pieces of saba were length-wise cuts from the fish (wtf), had bones in them and they were not fully cleaned! How can the japanese chef live with himself serving this garbage is beyond me.
I love Japanese tapas spots and last week I went to Hapa for a brithday party. If you have more than 12 guests, you are forced to order a set menu that is $30 per person. Luckily, the confirmed party was less than 12 people.
My pregnant friend and I were the first to arrive and they quickly seated us at the round table right by the door. We were asked to take off our boots and climb into the seats. Other tables were just regular tables which didn't require patrons to take off their shoes. But the server was adamant about us taking off our shoes after I mentioned that my friend is pregnant (I have a big belly so I could pass off as pregnant too) and that I had a foot injury (which my foot was wrapped) and I was comfortable with taking off my shoes. The server insisted that we did and my friend was struggling to take her shoes off in that small hole where you put your feet. I said "You're making a pregnant woman struggle!" Finally, the server gave us a table upstairs.
Our party had ordered about 20 different varieties from the menu. If you want to have something in your tummy, the rice and the noodles are the way to go with other tapas. Ordering mulitple tapa dishes on its own will leave you hungry for sure.
One couple ordered only tapas and their bill was $130 for 2. My friend and I ordered one rice, one noodle dish, 2 drinks and shared a gyoza tapas for about $60 for both of us. So your bill really depends on your ordering common sense.
The drinks were yummy, and costs an average of $8 per drink. They are not large but it's delicious. The servers will ask you repeated if you need another drink when you still have a quarter left. If you say yes, they will take the drink with the quarter left so say no until you have finished your drink.
If you haven't noticed the music, after awhile, it will get to you. I'm used to the clubbing scene and even the techno/rave music and its volume will get to you when you're trying to have a conversation (perhaps being upstairs mean we're closer to the speakers). My friend said he feels like he's shopping in a boutique or something.
The tea service was exceptional, they kept topping my tea with hot tea. Probably because tea is $1.50 each.
The waitresses are very friendly, and some dresses quite provocatively to get the male patrons to return.
For the value, I would go to another Japa tapas establishment and not return to Hapa unless someone is having another birthday there and has to be a good friend.
This place use to be solid... after a two year hiatus from this place, we decided to head back. Boy have the place gone down hill. Service is still solid but the food is not as good as it use to; not to mention their menu selection is so limited now and many items are not available. I guess they lost a lot of their chefs to other izakayas or they went back home. If you want good food, go somewhere else. If you want to gawk at the pretty ladies or just have good drinks, I guess that's still okay. I haven't tried the one on 4th Avenue yet. Though I'm hesitant... so many other places that are better. Justin, you need to get your ass in gear... you're losing customers.
A couple of friends and I decided to try Hapa after hearing much about it. From the outside, one could hardly tell it was an open restaurant. But once you enter, it was a whole different story. The vibe from the restaurant was lively without being too busy or crowded. We were warmly greeted and seated at the bar while waiting for a table.
The wait was not too long, probably since it was a weeknight. Service was personal, friendly, and efficient. Even though we sat upstairs where there were only 3 tables, we never had a problem with getting service. We ordered a variety of tapas and dishes. Personally, I expected a little more. The Ebi Mayo had a distinct flavour, but one that I did not particularly enjoy. The Tako Wasabi and Beef Tataki were among the better dishes; both had strong flavours without being overpowering. While being satisfactory, the cheese tofu paled in comparison to others I've had before. Suprisingly fresh, the shrimp and avacado salad was also quite nice.
Overall however, the food was below the level we all expected. Even if the hype about the place didn't exist, the appearance of the restaurant as a whole suggested food of a higher quality would be present. I would probably not go back a second time.
My friend and I came across Hapa Izakaya and decided to try it out. It's dark inside but it's a nice warm chocolatey feeling. We were allowed to sit where ever we liked and so we opted for the second floor. We were the only ones upstairs which was nice for us ;) We decided to try the daily tapas specials on their menu. We were delightfully pleased with the quality of the dishes and it didn't take too long for the food to arrive. Presentation was nice as well. Definitely a place to go where you need to savour the food and not rush it down in order to get the full flavour and feel of the food. I would recommend this place for dates and after-shopping snacks!
I have been to Hapa Izakaya a number of times since it opened. The food has always been good and among my favourites are the torched mackerel, the tuna belly on garlic toast, the ebi mayo and the chicken karaage. The place is comfortable yet sleek and sexy. The service, though, could use a bit of improvement, but not bad.
Hapa or "halfer' is right. Double the price for poor value and poor service. Overpriced dishe served by attractive waitresses who can't tell the difference between local and import beers. An owner who couldn't stop mentioning to anyone who would listen that he was a "hapa" and named Justin and that it was his restaurant. I think the whole city knows that by now and maybe you should consider calling your next venture 'My name is Justin and i own this restaurant" If they spent more time on the food instead of trying to make the customers understand who owns the place it might not be too bad.
The food was overtly salty, which makes for having to order overpriced and water-down drinks a must. ( a cheap bar tactic and throwing salted prezels on the table might be a better trick), the tardiness of the service only rivalled by 'The eatery' and the atmosphere pretentious but very nerdy.
Spend your money at any of the Guu establishments. They'll get your order right havre it to you within 10 minutes and everything will taste great. Avoid this place unless you love hearing the owner talk about himself.