Hapa Izakaya

by Lauren Mote

I have been trying to find this particular restaurant (but obviously not looking that hard…) for about 3 weeks. Making my way up Georgia St to Denman, turning left, walking along, seeing several “— Izakaya” restaurants, not one I passed by was the one I wanted. I was under strict instructions to find Hapa Izakaya.

Finally, I found it. Just near Broughton and Robson St, it’s hard to really notice it’s there. The facade is all black, exterior and interior, dim lights, and high posters on the windows facing the streets, so you would never see anyone dining on the inside while standing on the sidewalk.

It was a completely different atmosphere inside then we had originally expected. An open kitchen, servers dressed in all black, wearing black flip-flops, and yapping back and forth to one another in Japanese. You were immediately welcomed by a slew of staff, having your choice of seating arrangements – at the sushi bar on pillows or chairs, or at a table. Frankly, we like to be close to kitchen, it’s where all the action is for us.

This menu really showcases the kitchens’ flare for appetizers, or Japanese tapas as it is sometimes called. We ordered drinks, followed by a number different appetizers, all of which were amazing. Try the sablefish, the fried chicken and gyozas – they’re all really delicious.

The entrees on the other hand, not so amazing. We should’ve known, as no one else was ordering them! Both John and I had the Udon noodles, John’s with chicken and I had the noodles with vegetables and tofu. The tofu in my dish was crumbled and mixed into the sauce, which was just as unappetizing as it sounds. The taste and texture was reminiscent of “nothing” – it becomes eating for no reason. It was remade without tofu. John was equally unimpressed with his choice, although more satisfying then my entree.

I concluded that this was a great place for sharing tapas and meeting friends, but stick to page one of the menu, otherwise you’ll be ordering imperfect filler-food.

Hapa Izakaya

1479 Robson St.

Vancouver, BC

(604)689-4272

Hapa Izakaya (Robson) on Urbanspoon

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About Lauren Mote

Lauren has been an intricate part of the food industry for many years. Whether it’s behind the bar, in the kitchen, tasting and learning about wine, or sitting with her laptop writing food stories and reviews at the local coffee house, it was clear at an early age that Lauren’s professional and personal life would be completely consumed by the joy and passion of edibles.
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