1193 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
Advice: Be adventurous and take your servers recommendations. When you enter the staff will all yell “Irasshaimase” don’t be worried it means “come in”!
Izakaya is popular in Vancouver and Hapa Izakaya are the ones to credit for bringing authentic Izakaya (Japanese tapas) to the city. This is the third and most recent location and by far one of the stylish yet. The interior is dark black with a good selection of seats for a couple or for larger groups of diners and a great open kitchen to watch the chefs at play. My friend and I shared a bunch of different dishes all were unique in flavour and all were superb.
Beginning a meal here may include ordering a cocktail from their inventive list such as the Summer Love Martini ($9) – soho Lychee liquer, vodka, strawberry puree, pineapple juice; or one of the Japanese beers.
To start we had the Edamame ($4.35) marinated chilled soybeans; then the refreshing Ebi Avocado Salad ($8.95) prawns and avocado with organic greens in a citrus dressing; followed by the Yaki Kamo ($11.95) roasted duck breast, grainy mustard, miso pickled beets and cauliflower a great suggestion by our server; the Saba Yakisakana ($6.25) with ponzu and salt was something very different, I have never had Saba before and again the server strikes gold in convincing me to try it; next was my favourite Ebi Mayo ($7.75) tempura prawns tossed in a spicy mayonnaise sauce and here it was done to perfection lightly tossed in the sauce (without all the extra mayo that many of the other Izakaya places do); this then followed with the Yaki Udon ($8.50) thick udon noodles, stir fried with chicken and vegetables; Chan Chan Yaki ($9.50) local spring salmon, rice, miso mushroom sauce (daily Ishiyaki), I loved this dish, oh how I loved this dish.
For dessert, we had 2 selections that included the delicious Black Sesame ice cream ($4.50) and the Matcha Brulee ($6.25) topped with a goose berry.
Each day there is a fresh sheet with daily specials to go along with the regular menu, order a few dishes with your friends, share and enjoy!
Review by: Richard Wolak