This is the third location of the popular Japanese tapas restaurant Hapa Izakaya.
We ate at their Robson Street restaurant some years ago and had excellent memory of it, but circumstances somehow did not allow for a repeat visit for a long time. When the occasion arose, we decided to try their newer location in Yaletown.
The place was noisy, as is expected of Izakays, and that really is part of the intended atmosphere. Dishes were all delicious, beautifully presented, and reasonably priced for what you get (which means not cheap, especially given the prime Yaletown location). The decor is contemporary, and there is comfortable space in between tables. Service was excellent, with very responsive waitresses. All in all, we and our guests thoroughly enjoyed the dinner.
My gf and I wanted to catch up with a friend for dinner and we figured Hapa's Yaletown location might be worth a look.
The menu is overwhelming to look at but we were able to wrangle away with some selections. The grilled shortribs was easily one of the highlights of the night. The herbs, soy and apple marinade really livened up the beef, which was grilled to a nice medium rare. The chicken karaage was tossed in a very light soy ginger sauce, a little innovation from the original but it worked well as it accompanied rather than overtake. The ebi mayo too was tossed in a light mayo dressing and again, complimented without overpowering. The Gindara (black baked cod) was fabulously cooked to retain it's buttery texture. The Ahi tuna carpaccio again came lightly dressed and rounded up the highlight dishes. Here, things slide a little. The tuna tacos were far too rudimentary and frankly lazy for Hapa. It basically amounted to tuna salad wrapped in flour tortillas with the tartar sauce binder taking over all the other accent flavours. The ishi-yaki stone bowl rice combines minced pork, egg, tomato, lettuce and miso. Unfortunately subtlety here takes away from the overall experience, since the rice, tomato and lettuce requires lots of coaxing for flavour. The vegetable "renkon" gyozas too had little zip with the lotus root and pork combo and the Hapa tofu felt like a toss in; a wedge of pressed tofu with a kimchi/miso type sauce.
Service is off the beaten path here. Our servers seemed demure, and lacked any enthusiasm normally found at Hapa. The checkups were adequate but an extra one or two pop-ins would have been preferred.
Echoing a previous review, it does feel like the overall experience has diminished. Food execution doesn't follow through with every dish and considering it's locale, it could use a shot of adrenaline. While not a bad choice, it's not in my top 3 choices.
This exciting chain of Japanese pub style restaurants have popped up all over Vancouver over the past years and have been really making an impact on the restaurant scene here. We’ve tried the majority of them (Coal Harbour, Robson Street West end, and Yaletown) but today we’d like to post up a review of Yaletown’s Hapa! The restaurant is much smaller than the original restaurant on Robson Street but still gave off a great vibe. The dark atmosphere mixed with some traditional Japanese accents made the overall ambiance quite suitable for a satisfying dinner after work. Since Gabriel has had the opportunity to live in Japan for nearly half a year, he can really tell you if Hapa is the real thing or not!
By the way, Hapa Izakaya recently introduced their Happy hour, called “Hapa Hour”! The “Hapa Hour” menu and hours are posted on their main website, but you can expect to get great deals on their tapas before 6pm! (6:30pm @ Robson)
Edamame - $2.24 (6/7)
This is a classic chilled bean dish that is served at many Japanese pubs. Hapa gives a kick to this dish by marinating it in their special soy sauce and it made it nice and savoury! Although we love edamame, we prefer the regular kind.
Spicy Pork Ishi- yaki - $4.99 (5.5/7)
This dish is presented in a very hot stone bowl and then mixed in front of you by the waitress, the dish will then slowly cook in the bowl until it becomes nice and crispy. However, we didn’t really like the rice as much as we thought we would so it was a bit disappointing.
Tropical Roll - $2.99 (4/7)
This tasted like regular western sushi. Nothing too special.
Dynamite Roll - $3.75 (3/7)
This was minty and strange. We thought it was the worst dish and regret ordering it.
Renkon Gyoza Tempura - $3.99 (5/7)
One of Hapa’s most popular dishes. We rate it overhyped. It was made very well, but we guess it simply just did not suit our tastes? After hearing all the raving reviews, we expected something amazing! However, after the first bite, we were just like, “meh”.
Negitoro - $4.49 (6.5/7)
This was amazing. At the Robson location we would give this a 6.75. However, it was still amazing here as well! The tuna belly simply melts in your mouth, and it is truly ingenious that they decided to make this dish include garlic bread instead of sushi rice.
Beef Tataki - $4.49 (6/7)
Again, this is made a lot better at the main location on Robson. However, it was still prepared extremely well and was delicious.
Anyway, we really hope that we’ll get to review Robson’s Hapa Izakaya for you guys again! Yaletown’s Hapa is great but if you’re really picky about your food, perhaps you should visit Robson’s instead.
I haven't been to Hapa Izakaya for a while and while looking for a place to go before the game on Sunday, we ended up here because the sushi place we were originally going to was closed. This was the first time visiting the Yaletown location after frequenting the Robson and Yew locations on many occasions.
The room is nice, looks similar to the other locations except I don't remember them having televisions. They have Sapporo on tap which I enjoyed. We ordered a bunch of dishes including ebi mayo, saba, sashimi, daikon gyoza, boneless karaage and a few more. The saba was the roll variety which is wrapped on the outside of rice and then torched tableside. I definitely prefer the sashimi version better, as there was a ton of rice and thats not really my thing. The ebi mayo was extremely saucy and I would prefer less sauce for sure but the actual shrimp/prawns were tasty. The daikon gyoza were good but I remember this dish having less daikon and more meat. Overall, the food was good but just not great.
I will return but it won't be my first choice for izakaya.
Went to the Yaletown Hapa for some food before the Canucks game. They open at 5pm so lots of time. The menu included a sampler where you chose 3 items from a list of approx. a dozen. Actually tried 6 items including - beef sashimi - very good, tuna carpaccio - good, ebi mayo - bad as it was not crispy, gyoza - good twist on this, crab cake - very good. Then tried their spicy scallop roll which was not very good. On the outside of the rice, they put some sort of puffed wheat or rice which had a stale taste to it. Also tried their Isiyaki Ramen which is a dry ramen cooked in their stone bowl and tossed with some Korean style sauce. It tasted like a Mr. Noodles in some spicy sauce, we did not finish this. Service was good as there were not too many people and place is very nice. Would return but not order those items. Price is reasonable with the appy taster at $12.
I went to Hapa on a rainy evening with a friend and we were quite excited about dining at Hapa. We were welcomed warmly and promptly seated. Upon reviewing the menu (my friend and I are both pregnant) we decided on ordering three items from the "taster" menu and a few other options. We ended up choosing the goma-ae, ebi mayo and gyoza for the taster menu and were slightly confused when it arrived. The goma-ae turned out to to be tuna and not spinach which we thought it would be (as in all other Japanese restaurants we have ever been to goma-ae has been spinach based). We told the server that we may have gotten the wrong item and she told is in a very condescending tone that goma-ae simply means peanut sauce. Awesome - so we asked why the menu didn't say this and explained to her that we couldn't eat this and asked if we could sub it for something else. She said no and that we are welcome to order another item but the dish couldn't be substituted out as they are only sold in threes. Really? It wasn't like all of the items came on one plate.
Decent food + bad service = underwhelming experience and probably no future visits. Too bad because I used to really like the Hapas.
Delicious food and great sake. I would give a high rating but my purse was stolen and the staff weren't sincerely concerned. Service wasn't good to begin with... purse stolen or not. You'd think it's a decent place and should be more secure but... somehow a lowlife needed the cash and bad karma.
Five friends and I tried the new Yaletown version of Hapa. It was a funky little place. Very Hapa. Very Yaletown. It is not a large restaurant - we were originally told we would have to wait for 2 hours to get a 6-person table, but, due to a cancellation, we got in straight away.
The Food: the food was good without being amazing. It is certainly no worse and probably better than Hapa's Robson Street incarnation. It is better than Guu, but not as good as Yuji's or as Shiru Bay Chopstick Cafe (now defunct). We ate Ebi Mayo (ok, but a bit soggy); Chicken Karaage (good); salmon sashimi (alright, but in this town alright is not good enough); stone bowl rice dishes - both minced pork and muchroom (good); short ribs (good, but not as good as Flying Tiger's Kohlrabi Ribs). The popcorn calamari (which was tonight's special) was average at best. It was overcooked and uninspired. The best dish of the night was the grilled sablefish. It was fresh, delicate, buttery and perfectly cooked.
We drank many large bottles of Kirin in cute little Kirin glasses. The beer, along with the constant flow of good food and good conversation made for a very enjoyable night.
The service was fine. Not friendly, but professional and attentive.
Cannot say anything bad about this place Food was good. Though this particular salmon was a bit too dry, like it has beeen prepared in advance and been sitting on a counter for some time. But yaki udon was very good.
Cannot complain about their service either. They were prompt and friendly. Overall nice place.