Hapa Izakaya Restaurant

Hapa Izakaya         647.748.4272   open daily for dinner, late night      http://hapaizakaya.com/

It’s Blowfish meets Guu in the newest Japanese pub to hit the Toronto scene.  The space has a loungy club feel complete with a large backlit bar playing the latest hits over the speaker.  The prices at College Street’s  newest Izayaka is higher than most,  but most don’t seem this hip. 

Starting out with the best selling Futsu sake in Japan – Tozai Typhoon –  crisp and clean, nutty with hints of apple, served chilled in Hapa’s signature Takezake (a frozen bamboo flask).

Hapas original edamame ($5) is served chilled with an undertone of smoke – a nice touch.  Fermented Kimchi is spicy but not a standout at $5.  The specials tonight include Salmon Yukke ($8.99) served with playful tempura nori chips, and an under seasoned salmon tartar that tastes more canned than fresh.   Ishi yaki ($10.99) combines rice, minced pork, garlic, spouts, egg, tomato, lettuce and spicy miso in a hot stone bowl.  The dish is tasty but doesn’t compare to others I’ve tried in the city.  Finally, I can’t go without an order of crunchy deep fried Karaage ($9.99.) Boneless morsels of chicken with a soy ginger sauce is an almost perfect dish –  just needs some spicy mayo – ask you server.

Hapa seems to be a bit too westernized for my liking.  The drink menu is wonderful but the food lacks authenticity and punch.  I would say that’s it’s a great first date place.
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