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Hapa Izakaya is on my shortlist for an upcoming 8-person dinner. However, I've heard negative reviews about their service of late, especially since the expansion into the premises next door.

Does anyone have comments about a recent dining experience at Hapa? Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Well, it's one of my friend's favourite spots for dinner....but then you know about my non-Egullet friends.... :unsure:

The Boston Pizza/nevermind crowd?! :hmmm::raz:

Let me clarify my query by saying that I've been to Hapa a number of times, but only as a two-top. The food isn't an issue as we do enjoy it; rather, it's the consistency of service that I'm questioning.

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Went a few weeks ago and the service was great...very attentive and helpful. Our tea was never empty, our water always full and the saki kept flowing and flowing. We asked lots of questions about the food, and she was filled with knowledge and advice on what to pick. We weren't dissapointed by any dish.

Admittedly, we were a two top as well, but the table beside us was 8, and they seemed to be getting the same service we were.

Love that place...gotta go back soon...yummy. :smile:

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Coop, thanks for the reply. Our meal certainly isn't going to be quiet... since when is any meal of mine ever quiet! :wink:

sasskitty, did you go on a weeknight or a weekend? And was the restaurant full?

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Hi Joie,

The last time I was at Hapa was an early dinner on Valentine's Day. Even though the place was packed (line-up at the doors by 5:30), but found the service to be efficient and friendly. We never ran out of beer with our meal and tea was served promptly with the bill as we had a concert to catch. The food was yummy too.

I used to prefer Shiru-Bay over Hapa, but recently I've found the service at Shiru-Bay to be lacking and the portion of the food shrinking, (eg. the Soba Salad used to be served with a side veggie tempura, but the last time there was no tempura and the price was the same). It's too bad because I like the decor (blend of Japanese antique and modern) and ambiance of Shiru-Bay more.

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Even though the place was packed (line-up at the doors by 5:30), but found the service to be efficient and friendly.  We never ran out of beer with our meal and tea was served promptly with the bill as we had a concert to catch.  The food was yummy too.

Perfect. Just what I was hoping to hear... thanks Shelley!

On another note, I've never been to Shiru-Bay and was hoping to try it out sometime soon, if not for this dinner. Do they take reservations?

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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I've never been to Hapa, but I too would recommend Shiru-Bay - for a specific experience. The octopus carpaccio is awesome - even converted an otherwise "squeamish" eater. And where else in this city (or anywhere outside of Japan?) can you get natto ice cream? Mind you I didn't enjoy the taste, but the unique-ness factor sure did kick in. Watching them fold the gooey strands into the ice cream was cool - just like on Iron Chef.

Having said that, I agree with Shellback: the portions are pretty small, and the price is pretty not small. We left satisfied that we ate some great food, but unsatisfied in that we had to continue eating at the next stop to "fill up".

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I've never been to Hapa, but I too would recommend Shiru-Bay - for a specific experience. The octopus carpaccio is awesome - even converted an otherwise "squeamish" eater. And where else in this city (or anywhere outside of Japan?) can you get natto ice cream? Mind you I didn't enjoy the taste, but the unique-ness factor sure did kick in. Watching them fold the gooey strands into the ice cream was cool - just like on Iron Chef.

Having said that, I agree with Shellback: the portions are pretty small, and the price is pretty not small. We left satisfied that we ate some great food, but unsatisfied in that we had to continue eating at the next stop to "fill up".

Easy solution: start at Shiru-Bay and then have dessert at the HSG down the street!

:biggrin:

(been there, done that)

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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I guess there are two drawbacks to booking a table for 8 at Shiru-Bay on a Saturday night. One is subjecting 4 couples to the Yaletown weekend parking tango. Granted, it's not much more fun along Robson Street, but at least there's almost always parking along Alberni. And the "pretty not small" prices... from what I gather, it's a bit more reasonable at Hapa and I'm rather hesitant about obligating people to spend money on a bigger-ticket meal for a birthday celebration (Ian's, not mine!).

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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You could also try the guu in gastown. easier to get a table and still very good.

Guu in gastown is easier to get a table and the surroundings are nicer. I went when they first opened but some of my favorites from the Guu w/ Garlic did not make the menu (I am a sucker for the Ume Shiso Yaki Soba) in Gastown. Not sure if they have sync'd up the menus now.

Guu w/ Garlic is always a fun boisterous choice - but Hapa Izakaya is definitely a higher end experience - and perhaps more appropriate for a birthday dinner.

Have fun!

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It's very reasonable for the food quality/surroundings. Lets say dishes are 5-8 dollars. Ten dishes per couple is highly excessive/extravagant. Add couple drinks each and you're looking at a hundred bucks a couple. Less if you order a sensible quantity of food, rather than gluttonous.

For how good the cooking is, and how fashionable the room is, it's quite a bargin.

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Coop, thanks for the reply.  Our meal certainly isn't going to be quiet... since when is any meal of mine ever quiet!  :wink:

sasskitty, did you go on a weeknight or a weekend?  And was the restaurant full?

Weeknight, but the restaurant WAS full...reservations are a must I would say!

Enjoy! Can I come??? :wink::laugh:

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I went to Hapa Izakaya a couple of Saturdays ago and was very impressed. The only quibble I had was with the service. Basically, we were served haphazardly by various servers who we literally had to hail down as they rushed past our table. However, although the service was hurried, I thought the overall "vibe" and food made for an enjoyable night out. I also liked its dark, modern decor juxtaposed against the frenetic pace of the dining experience. The room was noisy but pleasantly so and did not inhibit conversation in the least. Rather, it created a nice background buzz. Also, depending on the size of your appetite, a meal there can be laughably inexpensive.

I believe that Hapa has a policy of not taking reservations between 6-8pm. Shiru-Bay does take reservations though. However, perhaps Hapa might make an exception for a large birthday group?

"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea."

~ Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Tara Lee

Literary and Culinary Rambles

http://literaryculinaryrambles.blogspot.com

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You were right on the no resos between 6:00 and 8:00, but I chose 8:15 p.m. over 6:30. Not a problem anyway, as this makes it easier for parents juggling babysitters and such.

Thanks everyone for your feedback! Birthday dinner's all set for Hapa... looking forward to it as I haven't been there for a number of months now. However, with any luck, I'm going to try and make it over to Shiru-Bay on Friday evening. :cool:

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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I just so hapa-ened to have been there last weekend. The place was packed and the four of us were ushered into the upstairs loft. It's hot up there, but the quick pace of service - our table was maintained by three different servers - was excellent and professional at all times. There are three tables up there in the loft and it was a wonderful experience watching all the different plates coming up - ours included. The blowtorch events are the most memorable. The flavours of the dishes, all different, all beautifully presented.

Stand outs for our table - Negitoro with chopped spring onions, Spinach salad with light soy sesame dressing and beancurd ribbons. Hapa Tofu - tofu given due respect on the presentation and flavour packed with cool julienned cucumber, shredded chicken with a ginger, green onion sauce. (This dish remained cool throughout the meal, did I say, it's out up there in the loft)?! Spicy eggplant ragout with minced pork servced on crisp rice cake (I could eat those rice crispies on a regular basis). Slow simmered beef tongue -very tender. Whole sliced squid and the hot stone bowl a simple mixture of mushroom and green onions.

We couldn't manage the blowtorch mackerel but it is on the list for the next Vancouver dining extravaganza. Would like to sit closer to the kitchen next time - fascinating rythmn.

On my way out, I took a break to watch the kitchen scene and observed a shaker of Kraft Parmesean cheese - mmmmm, wonder what they use that for???

I recommend it to anyone and the waits, considering it was 7:15 p.m. on a Friday night, were minimal.

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Stand outs for our table - Negitoro with chopped spring onions...[snip] and the hot stone bowl a simple mixture of mushroom and green onions.

We couldn't manage the blowtorch mackerel but it is on the list for the next Vancouver dining extravaganza.

Shelora, you hit the nail on the head for some of my favourite dishes at Hapa. I also quite like the korean-style ishiyaki: rice and other wonderful goodies in a hot stone bowl. And the negitoro is melt-in-your-mouth wonderful. Another great dish is the nama harumaki, which is their riff on a California roll.

I haven't had breakfast yet, so your dinner description is making me hungry!

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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