A buddy of mine mentioned about going to this izakaya on Bathurst and College Street called Hapa Izakaya. He told me it was very popular in Vancouver and that they had recently expanded their name to Toronto. He also claimed that the owner only hires cute waitresses, so obviously being guys, we decided we had to go check it out. He also mentioned something about the food being good too. LOL we’ll get to that bit soon enough.
Since the place is located downtown and parking there is just so easy to find (NOT!), we met up at his place and took one car. While we were driving we decided it was probably a good idea we call ahead to make sure there were tables available. It was a good call, as the guy who picked up the phone told us that the place was pretty much fully booked. He did manage to find us a table for three.
I probably should have taken pictures of the food, but I was feeling lazy at the time. Perhaps if I go back again I will take pictures.
When we got there we were immediately greeted by the Dan, the host, who wrote us down for the table for three. The interior of the place looks very nice and welcoming, and the staff working there were very responsive and energetic. They would occasionally come by and when they saw our cups were empty, refilled our cups with sake. We ordered a 500ml of chilled sake which at first tasted weird but got better later on. I guess it’s because I’ve never really had sake, let alone chilled sake so I wasn’t used to it before. Or the alcohol was making me drunker. Who knows.
One of the waitress told us none of the waitress were full Japanese. They were all a mixture of either Chinese or Korea. The cooks were Japanese. They’d occasionally come to our table to see how everything was or to just chat, which is a good thing. It shows enthusiasm to make the clients more comfortable which in return means more tip for them. More tip = more money. simple strategy. Not caring about your customers and showing dislike for your job in this environment usually means less tip. Less tip = less money obviously.
Anyway, on to the food.
We started off with Sashi Mori, basically the chef’s daily section of fresh sashimi. So, I’d assume it’d be different each day. When we went it was Salmon, Tuna, Scallops, Ebi and another fish which I forgot the name to. lol. It might have been a different Tuna. I wish I had taken pictures now.
Our second dish was the Tuna Avocado Salsa Dip “Chopped Ahi tuna, avocado, tomato, plantain chips” as quoted from their website.
Third dish was the Renkon Gyoza Tempura. “Minced pork layered with lotus root, tempura” It wasn’t my favourite dish, but it was still pretty good.
Fourth Dish was the Beed Tataki.
Me and another buddy decided to get rice and noodle. I got the Yaki Udon which is Thich udon noodles, stir-fried chickens, and vegetables. My buddy got the Chipotle beef curry ishi-yaki. “Rice, slo-braised AAA beef, chipotle curry, egg, served in a hot stone bowl.
The portions of the sashimi wasn’t too big. It divided evenly to 2 piece per person. So we ordered more. We ended up getting the Sockeye Salmon Sashimi, and Bintoro which is Lightly seared Albacore tuna sashimi with ponzu sauce.
We thought we had to leave as my buddy had to pick up his brother at Yonge and Finch. Right after we finished paying the bill, we got the BBM message saying he got into the apartment and we can take our time. lol Luckily we haven’t left the place yet so we decided to go to the bar area to order more drinks.
I ordered the Wasabi Cesar which is basically classic cesar with wasabi in it as well. Tasted really good and apparently very popular. My friends ordered the Hello Kitty drink which is “A sweet mix of strawberry pruee, Calpico, Alsolut Vodka and soda. They said it tasted good, I didnt try it. Another drink that was ordered was the Harajuku Girl. “Evoking flavours of cream soda, this cocktail blends Absolute vodfa, BUtter Ripple, Sourpuss Raspberry, Calpico and soda.”
Luckily I wasn’t the driver so it was fine. lol
The overall experience I must say went very well, from being shown to our seats to when we left, the servers were very friendly even with a friend constantly trying to get them to sing. It was a very interesting experience.
It’s a place I’d consider going back again but probably not very often as it was a little on the higher priced area. Everything included was around 215 dollars. divided 3 ways so around 70 dollars per person. Luckily I start my new job soon so I’ll be making money again.