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Vancouver: Small Plate/Izakaya Crawl for 8 on a Sat in Oct?

It is my wifes 40th this October and as a tradition, close friends from college back East and a few friends acquired along the way, celebrate the fourth decade by torturing our livers and treating our stomachs somewhere in the Americas.

Given that we have landed in Seattle, we are planning on taking the train to Vancouver and I wanted to treat the party to an Izakaya crawl but am fearful that trying to get 8 people stuffed into some of the tiny Izakaya locations may be daunting and frustrating. I'm in love with Izakaya in Vancouver with Hapa and Guu my favorites. I know Hapa takes reservations, but do any others? We will have access to a driver (given the drink) and a Saturday night/Sunday afternoon at our disposal if that helps. Which other small plate venues may take reservations or can easily accomodate a large party? There were a few in Yaletown that I have experienced in the past but again I'm worried that a Saturday night may prove to be more waiting than eating.

Suggestions/Experiences would be great!

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  1. Kingyo and Zakkushi take reservations. Not really a small plate place, but Chambar has great apps. Another place to look at is Cobre. I don't know if they take reses.

    5 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      Cobre takes resos on Opentable. Definitely good food... but a bit of a walk away from all the izakaya restos. Chambar is also a bit far from the izakayas.

      Guu with Garlic and Hapa also take reservations (though Hapa is pretty restrictive about times)

      1. re: twinkienic

        To make the crawl more compact - Tapastree is close to the izakaya zone. It was given a good review by friends of susaninsf (Chowhound from San Francisco) recently.

        1. re: fmed

          The review was a somewhat qualified one if you read the post carefully. I've eaten there and been less than impressed.

          I just spent a week up in Vancouver, ate at Hapa, Zakkushi, Kingyo and Legendary Noodles in that area. Definitely start at Hapa, it's large enough to accomodate your party comfortably with what we thought was the best menu. The next in line would be Zakkushi, the robata grill items would be different enough to warrant a visit. Kingyo was fine, but menu-wise very similiar to Hapa. We liked the food well enough, but one of our servers stank of cigarette smoke form a uniform that hadn't been cleaned
          in a long time.

          If you've got a chance try Legendary Noodles, they couldn't get 8 people in with a shoehorn and KY, but it was one of the best places we went to up there.

          One other point, there was only one non-working and non-bank ATM at the train station when we arrived, have a little Canadian cash in your pocket when you get there.

          Food pics from Hapa, kim chee and tofu salad, agedashi dofu, stewed pork belly, all of which I would order again.

           
           
           
          1. re: Scrapironchef

            huh? are you talking about my review?

            If you are referring to Tapastree, I was only passing along second hand information; I haven't been.

            If you are referring to Hapa, I LOVED it! It is true that I did say I was primed for good food by not having eaten any for ten days, but I was really just setting the stage: didn't mean to imply that we thought it was a qualified success: everyone in the group thought the food is great and one of my friends is still talking about the tendon. As I said in the report, I'd go back in a heartbeat.

            Here's the actual report:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/543116

            btw, in response to another post: I love Chambar too, but don't think it is really a fit with an Izakaya crawl...and is quite a ways from some of the other places discussed.

            1. re: susancinsf

              Yes, your secondhand review of Tapastree was the one I was mentioning, you didn't seem to place a lot of value on it. I get that you loved Hapa, and I can see why.

    2. >> we are planning on taking the train to Vancouver<<<

      I believe Amtrak still makes you get on a bus from Seattle to Vancouver, @ 3 hrs, iirc, or is their Canadian rail service from White Rock?

      1 Reply
      1. re: PolarBear

        Amtrak still runs their Cascades train up to Vancouver once a day. If you can't make that train, they put you on a bus (which they have several scheduled per day).

      2. Thanks all. Hapa is a definite and I haven't had a chance to try Kingyo, so maybe I will do those two and see how the crowd responds. We may actually try to catch a Giants game prior for the true Canadian experience so hopefully later reservations will be easier to come by. Amtrak has one train per day each way between Seattle and Vancouver and I highly recommend it. I have eaten at Tapastree a few years ago as we stayed at the TimesSquare Suites above the restaurant. It was very good but not memorable. I will post after the trip. Any suggestions for a good experience lunch around Stanley Park on Sunday? I was thinking of one of the restaurants in the Park or on Davie near the water.

        1 Reply
        1. re: TacoBusHound

          The only resto in the Park itself I can recommend is the Fish House. It can be very pleasant indeed for a fall lunch, especially if the weather cooperates. The location is beautiful and the old clubhouse itself quite lovely. Stick to the fish and seafood as the name suggests for best results.

          If you are set on being near the water, it's a bit on the chainy side -- Milestones or the Boathouse, neither of which thrill me. Raincoast gets good reviews but my several dinners there with out-of-town rellies have not left me overly happy, especially for the price.

          I wonder about going further around toward Yaletown to get the food on the waterish experience. Maybe Fiddlehead Joe's or the Quaglias' place, Provence Marinaside?