We're pretty sure Hapa Izakaya can do no wrong. From the moment you arrive to exclamations of "Irasshaimase!" (welcome) from all the staff to the joyous arrival of every single one of the many dishes you're sure to order – trust us on this, you couldn't leave Hapa-er.
The restaurant is almost constantly busy but still maintains a chill atmosphere where it's pretty clear that everyone in the place is having a good time. With quick service and good food (plus it doesn't hurt that all of the staff are super attractive), how could you not?
The menu is always changing to reflect the season's best and if you're planning a visit, be sure to come between 5:30-6:30pm for Hapa Hour. They offer a special selection of dishes all under $6 including but not limited to Ishi-Yaki, Hapa Hot Wings, Karaage, and a special tapas of the day. We highly recommend ordering the Karaage, it's basically a steal at $5.50 and one of the more filling tapas dishes.
Salmon Yukke ($9)
To start off our meal on the right note, we ordered their Red Sangria offered for $6.50 a glass or $20 a pitcher as a Thursday special. Definitely one of the stronger sangrias we've tried, the drink kept us happily refreshed throughout the night.
Red Sangria ($6.50)
Despite missing Hapa Hour by a couple minutes, we ordered the Karaage ($8.99) at regular price and still declare it worth the cash. Deep-fried boneless chicken with soy ginger sauce that's fried to a perfect crisp, it might actually be good we missed the deal or we might have ordered 10.
Next up was the Salmon Yukke ($9), a mix of salmon tartar, raw quai egg, caper, dill, and salsa with some Nori chips on the side. Each bite is as refreshing as the last and provides the perfect combination of flavour and texture that makes the dish dangerously addictive.
We weren't too keen on the Smoked Sea Foie Gras ($9) – the plate came with house-smoked monk fish liver, Wakame seaweed, and Ponzu jelly that while still good, was overshadowed by its more impressive tapas siblings.
Smoked Sea Foie Gras ($9)
On a whim, we ordered the Fish Tacos ($5) and man, are we glad we did. Filled with B.C. halibut tempura, house-made bacon bits, shoestring potatoes, and roasted jalapeño tartar sauce, this bad boy alone might just be able to give La Carnita a run for their money (okay, that might be an exaggeration but seriously, that taco was good).
Fish Tacos ($5)
Seeing this dish arrive at the table next to ours, we knew we had to order it too and it might have been a sign from heaven because it ended up being our favourite of the night. The Lobster Motoyaki ($11) is a baked lobster tail and king oyster mushroom with sweet miso mayo sauce that'll have you picking the plate clean.
Lobster Motoyaki ($11)
Be warned: visiting Hapa is basically an agreement to relinquish complete control over your wallet and we're willing to bet that it might not be such a terrible thing. Despite walking in with a pretty strict budget that was disregarded seconds into our meal, we have 0 regrets and would do it again in a heartbeat.