Hapa Izakaya

Arubi Saba ($8.99) - seared mackerel, always one of my favorites
Kinoko Ishi-Yaki  ($9.99)- rice, mixed mushrooms, iwanori served in hot stone bowl
Found this to be a tad salty for my taste, but it's very hot so good to eat on a cold day. The burnt/hardened rice (飯焦) on the bottom/sides is very crispy!

Spicy Pork Ishi-Yaki ($9.99)- rice, minced pork, garlic sprouts, egg, tomato, lettuce, spicy miso, served in hot stone bowl
A little spicy, a little tomato-y, a little soggy. The only thing I could taste/see was the tomato. Not as good as the mushroom one.

Karaage ($8.99)- deep fried boneless chicken, soy ginger sauce
Six large pieces of fried chicken. Inside was moist and tender but I wish the skin was crispier. I always thought karaage was like 雞軟骨 (chicken cartilage or salty Taiwanese style popcorn chicken)

Negitoro ($8.99) - chopped albacore tuna, spring onions, toasted garlic bread
Japanese-style bruschetta? The tuna was too mashed up that I couldn't really taste it (was expecting something with more bite like Moxie's tuna tartare). The sauce was a bit spicy and overpowered the tuna.

Halibut Taco ($7.49)- BC halibut tempura, house made bacon, shoestring potatoes, roasted jalapeno tartar sauce, wrapped in flour tortilla  
The tortilla was very soft!

I was really excited to try this new izakaya from Vancouver. It's recognized as top 5 izakayas in North America along with other food magazine/newspaper awards. The food seems more fusion and the restaurant itself is much more Westernized than I'd expected. Although the staff do welcome guests with a loud Japanese greeting when they enter, the decor and ambiance is more upscale/modern and the waitresses are all tan and speak fluent English - reminds me of something like Moxies or Joey. Overall, the food was alright but nothing really stood out.


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  1. We had the saba, negitoro and karaage as well and our experience matched yours. For all we know, they could've substituted the toro with a cheaper fish and we wouldn't know -- the negitoro was only detectable by its texture.

    We also had gindara, ebi mayo, scallop tartare (also overwhelmed by sauce), pork belly wrap and the ishi yaki bowl. They had the right idea but the execution was off. Given the size of the food menu compared to the drinks list and the waitresses, I got the impression that they're focused on the 酒 part of 居酒屋.

    Ironically, the grilled saba was easily the best and only standout dish for us despite it being the "easiest" to prepare.

    1. Thanks for your comment! I agree, grilled saba was probably the best, but I like the one at Fin Izakaya more.