Hapa Izakaya on Robson


Thursday, June 24th, 2010 — 10:59am PST
Comments 165

Despite living in the West End with access to a plethora of restaurants and ethnic eats, John and I usually stay home to eat. It’s a nice treat to head out for food, drinks, and good times with friends. We just so happened to have one of those nights last week as Keira joined us at Hapa Izakaya on Robson Street.

An “Izakaya” has been described to me as a place that serves Japanese tapas, share-plates that are accompanied with an extensive and creative drink menu. As such, the three of us each ordered drinks; John with the giant bottle of Sapporo, Keira with the pink Hello Kitty cocktail, and I tried out the Hapa Caesar with wasabi. The following are the dishes we all shared (including the beef tataki that we had twice since it was so good).

Edamame (which Keira noted due to their smokey flavour, were probably the best she’s had)
Hapa Izakya Robson

Beef tataki x2 (seared beef carpaccio with a sesame-chilli sauce)
Hapa Izakaya

Spicy tuna
Hapa Izakya Robson

Ebi mayo (tempura prawns in a spicy mayo sauce)
Hapa Izakya Robson

Gyoza (minced pork with slices of lotus roots, tempura style)
Hapa Izakya Robson

Maguro sushi (bigeye tuna marinated in ginger soy sauce)
Hapa Izakya Robson

Tiramisu & cheesecake
Hapa Izakya Robson

Our bill (for three people in total) came to $110 for all of the above including 3 drinks and the 2 big bottles of Sapporo.

<Hapa Izakya Robson Hapa Izakya Robson

When you enter the restaurant you are greeted by the entire staff in unison, making you feel welcome. While the setting is dimly-lit, it adds to the atmosphere that, while teeming with conversations and chatter fueled by good eats, is mellow and easy-going. This makes Hapa a great neighbourhood hangout as well as a happening spot for a date or night on the town.

Hapa Izakaya has three locations in Vancouver that are now open for lunch (starting at 12:00pm). Hapa Izakaya Yaletown (1193 Hamilton Street), Hapa Izakaya Robson (1479 Robson Street), Hapa Izakaya Kitsilano (1516 Yew Street). You can also follow them on Twitter for deals, menu announcements and updates @HapaIzakaya.

Disclosure cmp.ly/2 I was not paid to write this post however our meal was covered by Hapa Izakaya

Update Hapa Izakaya has offered up a $50 gift certificate (good at Yaletown for lunch or all locations for dinner) to one of my readers. Please leave a comment on this post (as others already have) stating why you like Hapa or why you would like to give it a try. I’ll draw the winner Tuesday June 29th.

Update The winner of the gift certificate is Amanda R – congratulations and have a great time at Hapa!

Current contests on Miss604.com

165 comments

  1. ds says:

    Great to read the experience downtown is same as what we had Kits location. H-I instantly shot to a top 5 fav for us for dining out with friends. People should step out of their Earl’s/Milestones/Cactus Club (all good but…) routine and head to Hapa Izakaya. Thanks for pics and descriptions too cause now I have more reasons to return to H-I and sample!

  2. Claudia says:

    I enjoy their location in Yaletown- next time, try something in one of their stone bowls- delicious!

  3. Kyla says:

    I’ve eaten at all their locations & would recommend every one! But Robson will always be my favorite. When I have out of town guests I always bring them for dinner. Good for 2…or for a group of 12!

  4. bekki says:

    I would love to try it out. I’m always looking for new restaurants to try in Vancouver whenever I go downtown

  5. Teresa says:

    One of my favorite restaurants! I love their food and their Harajuku Girls drink!!

  6. Angela says:

    Yummy! Those photos definitely want to make me try Hapa. Love the food presentation!

  7. Lynn says:

    I’d like to give Hapa Izakaya a try! I love Japanese food but don’t know places that well so I rely on recommendations and word of mouth.

  8. Melinda says:

    I am in LOVE with izakaya food, and hapa does it well! great atmosphere, great drinks and delicious food. I haven’t been back in a while and would love to go try it again! As the person mentioned above – their stone bowls are great too!

  9. Stina G says:

    My boyfriend and I tend to go to the same three or four places for our dinners out, and I’d love to try someplace new! The food looks delicious and fun there.

  10. Ninan says:

    Hapa Izakay is great restaurant. Great food and great ambiance. I have recommended the restaurant to lots of people.

    I would give the gift card someone who has never been to Hapa Izakay.

  11. tabulaarasa says:

    I would love to try this place place out with my friends because it sounds like it has a great atmosphere and food. Yummy share plates and creative drinks sound like the perfect way to catch up with the girls!

  12. Michael says:

    Great! Can’t wait to try out Hapa Izakaya in Yaletown.. New location!

  13. Mitchell says:

    Love Hapa! Especially since they opened one up in my hood – Yaletown. Great addition to the neighbourhood!

  14. sue says:

    Went to H I when it first opened!Had a great time. There was six of us (3 being Chefs) and loved the food, atmosphere, service ,even thou we were seated @ the very back near the service side.Our bill was much larger than yours as we had it seemed to me one of everything, & a couple of offerings twice! Have been back only a couple times but always one of my faves, there are just sooo many great places to eat in Metro Vancouver!Hallelujah!!!!

  15. Adam says:

    It’s one of the best places to eat in Vancouver… for the food, but especially for the atmosphere. I love the welcome they give every customer. The sake is great too, and served in bamboo.

    I took a friend who had lived in Japan for two years and he said it was the most authentic Izakaya he has been to outside of Japan.

  16. Cinnamon says:

    I love Hapa Izakaya! I have been a regular since they only had one location and the food and service is always outstanding. Can’t remember the name of the fish that they sear with blowtorch at the table…but I love it, it’s so impressive! I actually had my wedding rehearsal dinner at Hapa because it’s one of my favorite places to eat!

  17. Kate says:

    I can’t wait to try – it’s been on my list for a while! Thanks for the photos & review for bringing HI to the top of my list.

  18. paulo says:

    love hapa. stylish and great food. different from your run of the mill japanese joint. havent been to the yaletown location for lunch/dinner. been to the robson one a few times.

    keep creating great dishes, hapa peeps!

  19. Hank Lewis says:

    I’ll be visiting Vancouver again in August of this year. The pictures you posted of the great variety of colourful dishes that are well plated made my mouth water. I always spend a fair amount of time on the West End when I’m in BC, and this is one place I will definitely be trying. While there are some Japanese Tapas places in Houston, I know the Vancouver Japanese Tapas restaurants are more authentic. I’d love to give Hapa Izakaya a try!

  20. Grace Cheung says:

    The expanded location on Robson has a great lounge-y vibe…love it!

  21. Alex Cameron says:

    I haven’t been to Hapa in a while but I really like the whole izakaya style of dining. That and some of their food is really terrific, I always have to get their gyoza. It’s really really good.

  22. Karen says:

    Love Hapa Izakaya! How fun is it to be yelled at when you enter/exit? Answer: very fun.

  23. Yvonne says:

    I like hapa because its not your typical Japanese fare IE sushi, udons, ands sashimi. Small little dishes to try, perfect

  24. Ursula says:

    I had the best squid I’ve ever eaten at the Robson location. I love the ambience too.

  25. PCL says:

    Haven’t been and would love to experience it myself.

  26. rose says:

    Looks yummy. Love to try them out.

  27. will says:

    would be interested to try it…i like guu a lot and it seems like the same kind of thing!

  28. aria says:

    Haven’t been to a Izakaya. Looks very trendy. Makes me want to venture out there.

  29. ying says:

    Very fresh and colourful food. Definitely a place on my to try list.

  30. A H says:

    Thanks for the introduction. Love to try it out.

  31. deni says:

    I would love to try Hapa Izakaya because your photos are making my mouth water! Yum!
    denimc{at}gmail{dot}com

  32. Sue says:

    I’m an ex-Vancouverite in town for a visit. Would love to try Hapa Izakaya! I’ve been really interested in this kind of resto and would love to treat my sis.

  33. Angie Schick says:

    I love izakayas, but haven’t tried the Hapa in Yaletown yet, so would love to.

    Thanks!
    Angie

  34. jessvonrotten says:

    I would love to try this restaurant because Im always looking for new things to try and places to go!

  35. Helen says:

    Looks delish, would love to try it.

  36. Pete says:

    Haven’t Hapa. Would love to.

  37. alo says:

    Your photos look amazing.

  38. Brenda says:

    I’ve never been to Hapa Izakaya except for takeaway from their Kits location once! Isn’t that terrible? I have been meaning to go back but sometimes I get in a bit of a rut when it comes to my sushi places. This would give me a good kick to go back and try it again!

  39. alo says:

    Your photos look mazing.

  40. Vivian says:

    I love the small bites! Gives everyone a chance to try something different all at the same time!

  41. Pet says:

    The colours! Looks delish.

  42. aylo says:

    Beautiful presentation! Fresh-looking. A place to impress, I guess.

  43. Van says:

    Yum! I love the food at Hapa and the atmosphere there is always great.

  44. Courtney says:

    Hapa is one of my favourite places to take friends new to Vancouver. The staff is fantastic — AND they hosted an amazing Driftwood beer event at a very affordable price during Craft Beer Week!

  45. Samantha says:

    I’ve been meaning to visit and now I will definitely stop by during the weekend! It would make the experience extra special if I won the gift certificate.

  46. Micaela says:

    Japanese + tapas = perfect combo! πŸ™‚ Love the look of the tempura prawns & dessert!!

  47. Alan C says:

    When I discovered Hapa a few years ago, it became my #1 place to take out-of-town guests. The friendly atmosphere was definitely a factor, but I definitely go for their great food. Their ebi mayo IS THE BEST.

  48. Lia says:

    I would love to try Hapa Izakaya, the ebi mayo looks SOOO good! πŸ™‚

  49. Ryan says:

    Its the best place to eat and drink, so I can easily spend the night there – from dinner time to the wee hours of the morning!

  50. I would love to try out their Yaletown location!

  51. Navida says:

    The food is tasty, fresh and the ambiance is always welcoming and fun.

  52. CG says:

    Besides the food, the atmosphere at DT is amazing. When you walk through the door you feel like entering a restaurant in Fukuoka or any other japanese city. Can’t wait for them to reopen!

  53. Lara says:

    I am visiting Vancouver for the first time soon and would love to try out a great local restaurant.

  54. Jeremy says:

    I love sushi and Japanese food! I would love to give them a try πŸ™‚

  55. Jen says:

    I can never say no to a new restaurant, this one sounds fabulous!

  56. Dee says:

    Looks yummy! I’d like to try the Robson location.

  57. Ebi Mayo and Hello Kitty are my must haves there.

  58. Tracy says:

    I always have a great time when I’m there w/friends – it’s practically guaranteed w/the big bottles of sapporo bottles! Not to mention their AMAZING ebi mayo!

  59. Katie says:

    I love going to Hapa. I went there with all my family for my bday dinner and the service was amazing. I would love to go again.

  60. Veronica says:

    I keep hearing about this restaurant in reviews, on dinehere.ca, etc… I’m tired of hearing about it, I should just go!

  61. Alex says:

    The food is great and service is extraordinary. I should try out the newest branch.

  62. Monica says:

    I love Japanese food. I’d be great to give this place a try.

  63. Tracy says:

    I’ve been to Hapa Izakaya once before and it had great atmosphere and food. The one dish me and my friends remember is this great mackeral dish.

  64. Jeanie says:

    I love this place!

  65. Amanda R says:

    Your pictures alone have convinced me to give this place a try – the spicy tuna looks fantastic

  66. ashlee says:

    the food looks awesome…i would love to give these restaurants a try!

  67. E. Tang says:

    Great food and great drinks. So happy it’s now ‘close to home’ in Yaletown.

  68. Landon says:

    I took a friend from out of town to Hapa Izakaya Yaletown earlier this month. We began with a cocktail; I ordered the shochu (Japanese vodka) martini with muddled cucumber – very nice, with a mild sweetness. We selected three dishes to start: short ribs, marinated cod, and spot prawns. The local BC spot prawns were in season and we ordered them simply grilled – amazingly fresh and very tasty. We decided to order another three dishes to share: ishiyaki (pork and rice in a hot stone bowl – outstanding!), prosciutto-wrapped halibut, and baby eggplant gyoza. Having sated our hunger and delighted our tastebuds, we couldn’t have asked for more. The staff were all welcoming, helpful, friendly and efficient. I look forward to going back.

  69. Brenda says:

    I love trying new restaurants all the time and Japanese cuisine is one of my favorites!

  70. FMC says:

    My partner and I love Japanese cuisine. We would love to try Hapa Izakaya. Your pics look great and the restaurant just might become my favorite.

  71. acey says:

    Hapa Izakaya has been on my list of places to try forever!! Love the pictures you posted. Everything looks so purdy πŸ™‚

  72. Sharon says:

    This is the best place for Japanese! Love it.

  73. Norm says:

    The food looks fantastic. I’m always on the look out for a new place to eat. Definitely want to try it. Have heard so many great things about Hapa Izakaya.

  74. Maria says:

    Food looks so inviting and yummy.

  75. Linda says:

    Love the pictures! Japanese tapas and share-plates- sounds great. Would love to try this.

  76. Jeff MacLeod says:

    Looks like an interesting meal

  77. Tawcan says:

    I love Japanese food, you can probably tell from me having Japanese 5 times out of the last 7 days. Surprisingly I haven’t tried Hapa Izakaya yet. I’d love to go and check it out seeing how delicious the food is there from your pics.

  78. Heather berry says:

    I heart Hapa because their seared tuna sashimi is to die for!

  79. Wilson says:

    I like Hapa because it was one of the first izakayas to bring this style of cuisine into the mainstream 8-9 years ago.

  80. Rachael says:

    Oishii ne…gyoza to edamame to tempura o tabetai imasu. That’s about the limit of my Japanese.

  81. Sean says:

    Looks like good food. I’d love to try it.

  82. Holly says:

    Seems like great food….AND…Hello Kitty Cocktail!! Sign me up!

  83. Roshena says:

    Those pictures are making me ravenous!

  84. Janie says:

    I love Japanese food, especially at Hapa. King crab roll is my favorite, and Mmmmm this post makes me crave for it.

  85. liv says:

    wow this post is making me really hungry. i love Hapa b/c they were one of the first (besides Guu) to bring the izakaya style of food to vancouver. They really made it a hip scene that wasn’t just about style but substance too. Hope I get the gift cert!

  86. Linda S says:

    Mmmmmmm i love their ebi mayo. Its too delicious.

  87. Leigh says:

    I have never yet been to an izakaya restaurant in Vancouver, how I don’t know. I’ve only been to one in Seattle, where our waiter gushed about how great the izakaya selection is in Vancouver. I’d love to have the chance to try our Hapa soon, especially if I can do it with a gift certificate!! Thanks for the great post Rebecca!

  88. Al says:

    Very interested!

  89. Serena says:

    I love Japanese Tapas, Hapa Izakaya, here I come

  90. Cheryl says:

    I love Hapa Izakaya. My favourites are the ebi may and negitoro. Mmmmmm…so good!

  91. Christine says:

    I’d love to check out the one in Kits!

  92. Ceci says:

    I’ve never been to this Izakaya restaurant but have always wanted to try. The food looks awesome! It would be nice if I win but I’ll still try it out. Thanks!

  93. Bunnie says:

    The mention of Hapa Izakaya makes me squeal and giggle with joy and excitement. Let me be full and happy!

  94. Jeffrey says:

    I look forward to going back to Hapa Izakaya again. It’d be great to have this G/C to go along with it πŸ™‚

    I love almost everything on the menu. There’s only a few more things left to try on the menu..:D

  95. i’m such a fan. i love that you can have a huge group of people, and taste just about everything on the menu, and it’s crazy affordable.
    most of the time we just tell them to bring us enough delicious things for everyone to share and they always take care of us.

  96. Trevor says:

    I would love to give Hapa a try. I’ve been to Globefish Izakaya in my hometown of Calgary, so an opportunity to try Hapa Izakaya in Vancouver would be great. I visit Vancouver a few times a year simply for a Left Coast get away. I usually stay at the Opus so either the Yaletown or Robson (I like Sutton Place as well) locations are perfect!

    Cheers,
    Trevor

  97. Sanaz says:

    Hapa is one of my favourite places to eat in the West End. Would love to go again:)

  98. Brenda says:

    I love Hapa!

  99. Gina says:

    I’ve always wanted to try Japanese tapas!

  100. Helena says:

    This looks wonderful! How come I didn’t know about it. Will be making a visit there soon – hopefully with a $50 gift certificate!!

  101. Mimi says:

    I would love to try out a new restaurant! Thanks for sharing your insight and great pics, looks wonderful!

  102. Pat says:

    Thanks for your coverage of Hapa. Whenever guests come visit us from out of town we like to take them to Hapa on Robson. Justin (Hapa owner) and his team take the izakaya concept to another level in Vancouver!

  103. Mylene says:

    Hapa is the BEST Izakaya in town! I go there at least once a month. Everything is special there… The service is awesome (very cool greeting when you open the door), the food is to die for and the ambiance is loungy yet sophisticated. Everytime we have visitors, we make sure we take them to Hapa Izakaya so they can see for themselves what’s so special about Vancouver’s food. It’s definitely something to experience!

  104. Leanna says:

    I love the photos of the food – prepared in not quite in the usual way. mmm- delicious, I would love to visit.

  105. Richard says:

    I’m in for lunch.

  106. Steve says:

    been there before and i like the cute servers πŸ™‚

  107. Anita says:

    My favorite is the grilled mackerel…deep fried fish bones…not to mention beautiful raku bowls…the server’s black aprons….the music…everything about Hapa is inspiration for the palate, eyes and ears.

  108. Xing says:

    From the comments, it seems like a good restaurant. I like trying new things and here is an opportunity to do so!

  109. Lori says:

    I’d love to try it simply based on your photo of the Maguro sushi – yum!

  110. Ellen says:

    The food at izakaya/tapas style restaurants are more interesting and varied than the predictable food over sushi/noodles/tempura joints.

  111. Danyka says:

    I love Japanese food!

  112. Julieanne says:

    Looks amazing! Been hearing about Hapa for awhile now, been to Guu, but would love to go here! Thanks for the photos!!!

  113. Beth says:

    I’d like to try it out because you are giving away a gift cert! Free food always tastes better! πŸ˜‰

  114. Janet says:

    The dishes look so tasty and I would love to try them out!

  115. Lisa Brigham says:

    looks good, will try them next weekend with friends from LA!

  116. patti millard says:

    We are sushi addicts and like trying places that are recommended by others; are a little skeptical to pick a place out of the phone book! We’d love to try it even more if it’s free!

  117. Michael Kwan says:

    Having lived in Vancouver pretty much all my life, I have yet to go to any of the izakaya places that have popped up in the last 5-10 years. I’d really want to give them a try since I already like sushi places, ramen places (having blogged about at least two of them from the Denman/Robson corridor), and so on. It’s about time I get in some izakaya.

  118. safiq maje says:

    I love their version of Agadeshi Tofu even though it may seem simple plus with a few Harajuku Girl’s im good to go.

  119. Jenn says:

    I love Japanese food so I definitely want to give this restaurant a try next time I’m on Robson.

  120. Erin says:

    Best edamame around was recommendation enough.

  121. Jeanie says:

    Started the whole izakaya trend and still remains tops on my list πŸ™‚

  122. Dilara says:

    I absolutely love Hapa! My fiancee took me to the Robson location on our 3rd date, almost 4 years ago. It was then that I realized he’s a foodie just like me!

  123. Stephanie says:

    The ebi mayo is my favourite!

  124. Kim says:

    I LOVE HAPA! I can order 8 dishes and know I’ll enjoy every single one! Great drinks too. Reminds me of Japan.

  125. Bonnie says:

    always up for new new sushi find

  126. Amy says:

    Cause its my birthday!mmmmm!!

  127. Rachel says:

    Their seared mackerel is awesome!

  128. jp says:

    I like it because it’s open late and ebi mayo.

  129. Nicolb says:

    1) because my birthday’s coming up!
    2) they probably have the best beef tataki ever.

    Delicious!

  130. Nicole says:

    Such a great restaurant! Great hours and some of the best japanese food I have had!

  131. Aggie says:

    Your review made me hungry for HI! (I hope I win the G.cert.) Thanks!

  132. Stephanie S says:

    I have never been, and would love to try their edamame and spicy tuna also!

  133. Alex says:

    The ebi mayo prawns are the best!

  134. Jewels says:

    I’ve always walked by this restaurant and never even entered. i think it would be fun to try a new restaurant in the west end

  135. Renn says:

    I love Japanese cuisine but have never tried Hapa! Would love to try!

  136. Meera Bennett says:

    I adore Hapa Izakaya! it is one of the few restaurants in Vancouver that is both delicious and has a good selection of vegetarian food. Pick me!

  137. Liza says:

    I’ve heard good things about this place. Would love to try it.

  138. Intox says:

    I love sushi and would love to add this to the many sushi restaurants i have been to in Vancouver.

  139. tvlife says:

    I love the style & techniques Hapa Izakaya uses to create their foods…who else blowtorches a mackeral at your table? Never an un-tasty experience!

  140. Robin Leung says:

    Have heard of Hapa but never tried it, dater reading this post, would definitely want to give it a try.

  141. Sheree says:

    Have been to Gu with Garlic, would love to try another place that serves “japas.”

  142. limekwok says:

    I love hapa most for their atmosphere… I’ve been only to the one on robson, and it’s always the “it” place- young, fun people, there to enjoy yummy food and cool drinks. I’m thinking of trying hapa in kits next.

  143. Charlene says:

    Heard this place is great! Would love to give it a try. Gift certificate would be great as I’m on a tight budget these days looking for work.

  144. Caio says:

    I would love to give it a try because I love Japanese food, but I’ve never been to a Japanese restaurant like Izakaya. I am going through treatment against Cancer and would be really cool to have dinner at Izakaya and forget about chemo! πŸ™‚
    Great article!

  145. Karen says:

    It looks fantastic – I would love to go!

  146. Jeremy says:

    I’ve been to Hapa Izakaya a few times over the years and the food is always consistently good.

  147. Mary says:

    I love Japanese and I’ve never tried it? Your pictures look so yummy!

  148. Erin O says:

    Japanese tapas is the way to go and this place looks amazing. I am dying to try it!!

  149. Marina says:

    Would love to try Hapa Izakaya based on your pictures!!! The food looks so good!

  150. Ashley says:

    The only restaurant in Vancouver that I would go to several nights in a row! So fresh and delicious; love the service and culture of Hapa.

  151. Lyndsey says:

    I have always wanted to try Hapa Izakaya! I absolutely adore Japanese cuisine and sushi, so this would be a wonderful place to dine for lunch. I have heard the decor and atmosphere at the three locations is soothing and that the menu offers crisp, fresh ingredients (your pictures made my mouth water!), as well as thirst quenching drinks. Most excited, please count me in!!!

  152. Erin says:

    Two words….Ebi Mayo. Oh Hapa, how I love you so! I would also love to win because my stagette was at Hapa and my anniversary is coming up and my hubby and I need a date!

  153. Mike W says:

    Wow, Hapa looks amazing! I don’t get to eat out much, but I will definitely try it out!

  154. Cassie says:

    I love izakayas and we’re so lucky to have quite a few here in Vancouver. YUMMY!

  155. Hapa offers an atmosphere that is quite diverse. I’ve had dates there, gone for casual group meals, and all out messy parties. In the end the venue suited all of these situations. The food is fantastic, and best when shared with others. The drinks are creative, but if you’d rather just down lager and sake shots that works as well. The long and the short of it, Hapa has been host to some of my most entertaining evenings in the past few years.

  156. I took my boyfriend to the Robson St. location on one of our first dates — almost a year ago. Would be great to celebrate a one-year anniversary there. I Love Hapa and I Love Him!

  157. Joyce Lo says:

    I love their ebi mayo.

  158. Ranelle says:

    Looks good!

  159. D says:

    Yes please!

  160. Karen T says:

    I’d love a chance to go. The review sounds so good.

  161. Cameron W says:

    This sounds like a great restaurant. I hope I win. πŸ™‚

  162. I’ve only been there once but was blown away – that’s my kind of Japanese food – yummmm…

  163. Lesley says:

    Don’t think I’ve ever been there, would love to try it!

  164. Jean says:

    Thank you… I know where I’m headed next time I’m downtown (beautiful presentation of fare)! Ebi mayo and tiramisu both look scrumptious! ~.~

  165. Jenny says:

    I like Hapa Izakaya because they have the most interesting menu, good-looking waitresses and you can’t see a thing inside XD

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