Hapa Izakaya has got to be one of the best izakayas I’ve been to: they’ve got the flavours and creativity of the drinks and accompanying food down to a science. What makes Hapa especially great is that they are serious about using local, seasonal ingredients as well as Oceanwise seafood in their food, like BC spot prawns which are currently in season. I particularly like either a Hello Kitty or Hapa Sour (or both) alongside a combination (if not all) of mentaiko udon (udon with spicy cod roe), any of their ishi-yakis (except chipotle beef curry), ebi mayo, grilled ika (squid), tuna carpaccio, and bintoro (lightly seared albacore tuna with ponzu).
On Sunday, I met up with some of my favourite co-workers for an early dinner at Hapa’s Kitsilano location. Because Kitsilano is a beachy, yoga-loving neighborhood, Hapa there is a little more laidback, which is what I want on an early Sunday evening. Anyway, we had kinoko ishi-yaki (rice mixed tableside with mushrooms and iwanori in a hot stone bowl), ebi mayo (battered and fried prawns in a spicy mayo sauce), grilled ika, halibut risotto croquettes, and their tuna avocado salsa dip with plantain chips. It was a great end to the weekend.
[kinoko ishi-yaki; kits beach; ebi mayo; ika; halibut risotto croquettes]