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Posted by aaron at 01:01PM, Sunday, October 31st, 2004

Hapa Izakaya (restaurant review)

1479 Robson Street, Vancouver, British Columbia

We got a recommendation to visit Hapa Izakaya (our friend Jimmy tells us it translates as "Half-breed neighborhood townie-pub," although the internets say "Leaf bistro") if we wanted to partake of the West Coast tapas sushi trend while we were in Vancouver. The place was bustling. All dark and sleek, the decor is ultra-mod: hi-tech tiny lights, lots of polished metal and slate and dark, smooth, grainy wood, and the occasional piece of velvet. We waited a while for a table, drinking cocktails in the lounge. When we finally got seated, we had an excellent view of the food prep area.

We had some nice sake, and a bunch of great little dishes. Brian saw someone being served something that caught his fancy, and ordered it for us: a mackerel on a banana leaf, blow-torched at our table by our waiftress. The meat was wonderfully seared, the sauce was perfect. I plucked away at the meat on the cheeks with my chopsticks. Very nice.

Service was... leisurely, but not unpleasant. The locals seemed to enjoy the drinks; we certainly did. The food was quite nice, and I'll always praise decor that I simply do not see at home in Boston. Prices were reasonable by Boston standards: you'll do just fine with $100 for two.
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