Exciting news... Hapa Izakaya is following the footsteps of Guu and Kingyo and moving out our way to Coco Lezzone's spot at 602 College. Targeted opening date is August. I love this place and would say I favored it over Guu just because it was more spacious and less loud.
re: Wench Foraday
Went there last week. My wife and myself enjoyed the meal and service. The stand out dishes for ourselves were the burrito, pork bell and flamed mackerel. I liked the food there better than the Guu dishes (we've been to both locations) as I've found the Guu dishes more oily and heavy (it's been a couple years since being there though). Unfortunately, no Guu pics as i've only recently started taking pics.
Black Cod, Torched Mackerel, Grilled Ika, Halibut Burrito, Pork Belly Lettuce Wrap, Tempura Shrimp and Wild Salmon Sashimi
I am probably biased because I hate the college st crowd but I hated this place. hate the decor and music. staff got on my nerves (please don't grab my teacup and tilt it to see if it's empty or not. I understand they are trying to be helpful but just don't do that.
only tried a couple things but food was not good. mackerel was nothing special however I did like the knife skills used to cut it. Pork belly dish was dry. Best part about that was fresh Boston Bibb lettuce.
I know they just opened but I would not go back. I actually went there to have a full meal (I usually order way too much food) but after trying those two dishes we just wanted to leave.
oh yeah they have these weird high benches at the front of the restaurant that have no footrests. its extremely irritating to sit there and have your feet dangling.
Guu is way better.
Hm I tried Hapa but still prefer Guu. I like that at Hapa you can talk to your dining companions without yelling and they seem to have a more extensive drinks menu than Guu. But I like the food better at Guu. Some of the dishes we got at Hapa were really similar to ones I've had at Guu, like the kinoko bibimbap and the seared albacore tuna with ponzu - but Guu's versions seemed more flavourful. I liked the fish burrito (taco?) but if I wanted to eat something like that I'd probably just go to one of the taco or burrito places around town. Service was pleasant and attentive though, and price was similar to Guu. Oh and we tried the pork belly dish that szw had too - same experience, I liked the lettuce but the pork seemed a bit dry. And my shiso mojito just kind of tasted like pop. I didn't hate it but nothing really made me want to go back.
The shiso Mojito at this location needs more shiso, and it's a lot louder than the Robson version. Also the sake selection is somewhat unfortunate. Still an awesome izakaya by the Toronto standard though. Best Oshinko I've had in town, and a great cocktail list overall. I only tried a few dishes, but my fav was the ebi mayo, since it's a great version and another item that's hard to come by in Toronto.
Well finally got to try this place. We were a large group so got to try the 11 course omakase menu seems like a great value as its only 29$ but the results left a lot to be desired.
Here is my take
Edmame. I don't know how to rate this course as it boiled soybeans for crying out loud.
Tuna with Avacado served with plantain chips. Initial idea seems good but the execution left a lot to be desired. The tuna was chopped so fine that it was devoid of texture. Needs a bit of zing.
Beef Tataki. One of the better dish on this set menu just the right amount of zing to elevate the beef. Garlic chips provided the crunch and hot sauce and onions provided the zing.
Tuna Sashimi; Beautiful presentation and nice color on the tuna. Visually appealing.
Tuna Ball with garlic bread. Tuna belly was wasted on this dish as this as it was chopped too fine to lend any texture or taste for this prized delicacy.
Ebi Mayo: A very good version of this signature Izakaya dish. Nice crunchy crust and nicely spiced mayo. Top marks here.
Halibut Taco: A surprising dish for an Izakaya. It was good taco but unexpected for a Japanese place.
Beef Ribs: First thought when I saw this was oh goodie Kalbi! but its not the Korean take on beef ribs rather a mundane take on beef ribs
Chicken Karage: Nothing special here folks lotsa batter and the chicken could have benefited if dark meat was used.
Noodles with Chicken. I could have this dish at any place as it was bland.
Pork Gyoza and Ishitaki. I didn't try these dishes.
The service is top notch and beer selection is decent. The drinks are apparently weak though I didn't try any.
I would say a decent place for a drink but unless the food improves there a is a lot of room for improvement.
Here's Chris Nuttall-Smith's review of the place:
I've been to the Vancouver location of Hapa many times, and visited the Toronto location for the first time about a week ago. I have to say I agree with Nuttall-Smith. Whereas I've always enjoyed the Vancouver Hapa, the Toronto restaurant left me wanting.
The menu is filled with items like the tuna avocado "salsa with plantain chips, or the halibut "taco" (served with a disappointing store-bought type tortilla) that make it feel like the Toronto location is trying a little too hard to play to a "western" crowd.
And the ambience - the Vancouver restaurant on Robson, for example, is a warm, beautiful space - is lacking in TO too. The front area is filled with televisions playing sports games, which really takes away from the overall atmosphere.
For my money, I'd take either of the Guu locations over Hapa any day.
went here last night on the whim of a friend as we were driving by. it's pretty bad. i had the kaki udon, which was entirely bland from the noodles to the veg to the chicken, almost saved by a dash of soy sauce but it still couldn't quite cover up the fact that it tasted like nothing. i also had a yuzu slush (w/o booze) that was really the highlight of the whole meal. rest of the table had pork belly lettuce wraps (boring, better versions available at any number of places), volcano roll (ditto, probably, i don't usually eat rolls), karaage (not well fried, not delicious, so much better elsewhere) and veg gomae that was basically just a bunch of cauliflower and turnip or something, a bunch of boring white vegetables, with a mediocre gomae (am i correct in thinking the gomae is the sauce? or is it the whole dish?). and it was all really expensive. like, $10 karaage that isn't even in the same ballpark as the offerings around town.
i highly recommend not going to this place. although it was bumpin around 10 last night with girls night/birthday party/first date lookin people so i'm sure that they're not doing terribly.
oh, and they started playing "ain't no fun" by snoop dogg and then switched tracks like 15 seconds in. big deduction in my books
Had a very underwhelming dinner here last night. Kind of disappointing. Most of the food just didn't have enough flavor - very poorly executed dishes. Our server was fantastic however, and service in general was pretty good, but the food was just fine. There was nothing, of the 5 things we tried, that we would go back and order. Disappointing!
Can anyone comment on the Ritz hotel location? Anyone been yet?
I will be in the area of the Ritz tonight and looking for a later meal (around 8:30pm) and was kind of in the mood for ramen. Worth going?