gracecheung604 | write on time: Visiting a Vancouver Favourite, Hapa Izakaya in Toronto!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Visiting a Vancouver Favourite, Hapa Izakaya in Toronto!

First of two dinners in one night while on a visit to Toronto. Well, it's actually not dinner, since it was during Hapa Izakaya's Happy Hour menu, on offer daily 5.30-6.30 pm. Everything is super cheap, all prices listed are their Happy Hour prices! I'm a fan of Hapa Izakaya's various Vancouver locations; Robson, Coal Harbour and Yaletown! IMG_3524 First up, Chicken Karaage ($4.49)! Deep-fried pieces of breaded boneless chicken. The ginger soy glaze is fairly mild, but too much of this would result in soggy chicken, and no one wants that. This is a great deal during happy hour, there are at least five juicy pieces of chicken. Squirt some of the lemon on the chicken as you're about to eat it to lighten up the oiliness.  IMG_3522 Continuing with the chicken theme, we also got the Spicy Hapa Hot Wings ($3.99). The breading on this is lighter than the karaage, it's barely a light dusting. The chili dip helps to add heat to the sauce, but these are nothing like the buffalo hot wings you might expect. A harder dusting of the chili flakes would be better.IMG_3526 More deep fried goodness? Sure, let's give the Ebi Mayo ($4.49) a try! The prawns are very heavily sauced, and this makes the coating a bit soggy. The heat is good though, and the prawns themselves are very big and have a great bouncy texture. I liked the pairing with the shrimp chips too. IMG_3528 Okay, this is the last deep fried thing, I promise. This is the Renkon Gyoza Tempura ($3.99). A half dozen of pork filled lotus root sandwiches, all breaded and then deep fried. These are really good, and very different from your normal gyozas. The lotus root gives the gyozas a great crunch, supplemented further by the tempura breading. The touch of a deep-fried lotus root slice as a garnish is cute.  IMG_3537 The one item we ordered that wasn't part of the Happy Hour is the Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps ($9.49). The platter is super vibrant visually, with bright green butter lettuce, crispy pork belly, with a bit of fried wonton skins and deep pink pickled red onions. There is also a bit of apple yuzu jam to tie everything together. The pork could be a bit crispier, but overall, there is a lot of flavours and textures here. And it's a great dish for sharing. IMG_3534 And this is probably the best deal of the bunch during Happy Hour, the Spicy Pork Ishi-Yaki ($4.99). Served in a Korean-style hot stone bowl, this entree is similar to BiBimBap. The rice is mixed tableside, and has minced pork, chives, egg and a bit of spicy miso sauce. Tomatoes are usually present, but we decided to skip it, because I find it makes the rice too wet. Once mixed, it's best to leave it alone for a few minutes so that the rice has a chance to get a bit crispy from the heat of the stone bowl. As for a bit of hot sauce on the side and you're all set.
All this for about $35, and there are drink specials too!
As for my second dinner, take a look.

Take Note:

  • Staff from the Robson and Yaletown (Vancouver) head the front of the house
  • They take reservations, even during Happy Hour
  • Very friendly and knowledgeable staff

 Hapa Izakaya Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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