Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour – Happy Hour Under $5

Hapa Izakaya version 4.0. By now Vancouverites should be very familiar with Japanese tapas. Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour formerly known as Hapa Umi, is popular amongst the after work crowd just happy to relax with cheap food and drinks.

hapa umi

Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour used to be a upscale hapa but, I guess Vancouverites got so used to Hapa’s original menu and prices that it just did not fly. Now they have a menu very similar to all the other Hapa’s

Happy Hour Details:

3- 6 PM

Monday to Friday

Everything on the Happy Hour menu including the house wine and beer is under $5. I know UNDER $5!!!

Now the food…

Starting with my favourite dish the Ika, grilled squid, sake soy garlic marinade. The smoky flavour really came through. It was cooked perfectly, the texture was still crunchy.
Ike

Ebi Mayo, was overcooked and the batter was too thick.
shrimp Tempura

Chicken Karaage, it was juicy and tender on the inside but the outside was not as crispy as I would have liked

Chicken karage

Beef tataki, lacked flavor, I’m not a big fan of any dish squirted with a thick blob of chilli sauce.
Beef tataki

Rennkon Gyoza, minced pork layered with lotus root and tempura. This was surprisingly nice, the lotus root added a crunchy texture.
Deep fried gyoza

Overall, it stood a little above pub food but, the atmosphere and service was so fun. The servers were hot. We sat in a booth so I was eye level with the server’s busty boobs. I couldn’t help staring at them, they were everywhere.  It may be raunchy but, take it as it is, Hapa Izakaya doesn’t claim to be a Michelin star restaurant, it’s more along the lines of Cactus Club. If you are complaining about girls and guys flaunting their bodies (I might add, it wasn’t distasteful) go somewhere else.

Hapa Umi on Urbanspoon

Ki Modern Japanese & Bar

**updated: closed** July 25, 2013
Upscale and modern Japanese Tapas Bar at the Shangri-la. The space is very spacious and modern, reminds me of Tao in New York. Definitely would not mind lounging here for a couple of hours. On a Wednesday night this place was pretty empty.

Now the food…

Keep in mind it is a tapas bar so the dishes are fairly smaller and meant to be shared. Dishes range from $12 – 23 per dish.

Toro Tower, it was nicely seared but, maybe we were just too used to toro sushimi. I don’t think I have ever eaten any toro that was as fatty as this. My friend’s piece was 80% fat. 3/5

Toro tower

Kiwi Tuna Rolls, you could barely taste the mango sauce but, it was decent. Nothing out of the ordinary. As one of the more creative rolls being offered this was barely mundane.  3/5

kiwi tuna roll
kiwi tuna roll

Sake Porkbelly with Ponzu Chilli Sauce. Porkbelly is THE ingredient of the season. To be fair we had high expectations.  This was a major let down. The meat was ridiculously overcooked to the point that my jaws began to ache.

The meat was stringy. Out of the 6 pieces of porkbelly only one was not overcooked. Aside from the doneness the flavour of the dish was good, so I’m throwing in an extra 1/2 point 1.5/5

sake porkbelly with ponzu chilli sauce
sake porkbelly with ponzu chilli sauce

Rock shrimp with wasabi mayo, we agreed this is far better than the regular shrimp tempura. We debated for a while whether it is better than KFC popcorn chicken – now that is good! 3.5/5

Rock shrimp with wasabi mayo
Rock shrimp with wasabi mayo

Black Cod, the fish had a chewy texture. The sauce on the other had been what saved it. The mango sauce, I could drink that 3.5/5

black cod


Creme brûlée lemongrass and chamomile infused and sugar cookies, well I liked the sugar cookie. Yet AGAIN! Another dish that was overdone. The texture was lumpy, which meant the eggs and the cream began to cook. 2/5
creme brûlée lemongrass and chamomile
There is one plus the service was impeccable. My friend went out to feed the parking meter. He was attentive, informative and always kept our table cleaned and refolded napkins when needed.
We were so disappointed with our meal we went across the street to a bustling Coast Restaurant and drowned our sorrows away with some fine wine and oysters.
Ki Modern Japanese & Bar on Urbanspoon

Damso Modern Korean – Next Korean Neighborhood Gem

I dub this the next neighborhood gem in the West End. Their restaurant front is inconspicuous and can be easily overlooked. Their menu is very varied, from traditional Bibimbop to 12 hour braised beef tongue and chicken gizzards. Everything looked delicious. It is a smaller restaurant. We went there around 8PM on a Tuesday and, about ¼ of the restaurant was filled.

Now the food..

We started off with the 12 hour braised beef tongue –$ 7.85, garnished with radishes and green onions. This was out of this world. It is the best beef tongue I’ve had in Vancouver so far.

12 hr braised beef tongue
12 hr braised beef tongue

Seafood Waffle, it was good although drenched in soy sauce which made it very salty.

Seafood Waffle
Seafood Waffle

Chicken Gizzard was good but, the portion size was too small.

Chicken Gizzard
Chicken Gizzard

Hot Stone Beef Bulgogi Bibimbop, assorted veggies and egg came with 3 side dishes and a soup – $11.95. It also came with a choice of white or multigrain rice, we choose the multigrain. It was very flavorful and there were a few pieces of crispy rice.

hot stone bibimbop beef bulgogi
hot stone bibimbop beef bulgogi

Side dishes, seaweed dressed in sesame, potatoes and I believe crab cakes, don’t quote me on the last.

side dishes
side dishes

Another of the popular dishes dbok kalbee $12.95– eight beef meat balls. It comes with a side of rice, and 3 small side dishes, mentioned above. We really enjoyed this, no wonder it is a popular item. The meat was so juicy. If I really want to be a superhero, I will try to re-create the recipe, so I can enjoy it every day.

dbok kalbee - beef balls
dbok kalbee - beef balls

Overall, it is now one of my favourite Korean restaurants downtown. The value and the quality of the food was superb. I am persuaded.

Damso Modern Korean Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Chau Kitchen and Bar – Traditional with a Modern Twist

Chau Kitchen and Bar – Traditional Vietnamese with a modern twist

Food Persuasion Level : [rating=3]
Value: [rating=3]
Service : [rating=4]
Ambiance: [rating=3]
Price: $$
Cuisine: Vietnamese Tapas Restaurant
Location: Downtown Vancouver, Robson St
Chau Kitchen and Bar

Chau Kitchen and Bar – Traditional Vietnamese dishes with a modern twist. If you ever have a hankering for Vietnamese food, which seems to be only a handful downtown Chau is your restaurant. The prices of the dishes are probably 10-15% more expensive than the usual traditional Vietnamese restaurants in East Vancouver. The portions are also smaller but, the plates are meant to be shared.

This is coincidentally my secret hangout for UFC fights. Their projection system is decent, picture and sound quality is passable. Of course, Chau will never have the rowdy atmosphere of a sports bar but, at least you’ll have a seat.

We started off with their paper rolls aka rice rolls in two varieties:

Black Cod & Mango with garlic-lemon sauce with nuoc cham sauce $3.50, the black cod was so small you could barely see taste it. Nem Pork & Mint with apple-lemon sauce $2.95, this was a bit too bland, either forgot to add the mint or the amount was so insignificant that my taste buds were unable to register it.

Paper Rolls - Chau
Paper Rolls - Chau

Crispy Pork & Prawn Wontons $5, were served hot and crispy.

Pork & Prawn Wontonw - Chau
Pork & Prawn Wontonw - Chau

Pacific Octopus – sautéed with grilled pineapple & onions $10, were slightly overdone which meant they were tougher. The pineapple added a hint of tang and a nice twist to  what otherwise be a very traditional and average

Lemongrass Chicken – vermicelli noodles & herbs $6, this was my fave dish in terms of taste and value. The chicken was juicy and tender, the vermecelli was a bit too undercooked for my tastes. All in all this dish was great with a lit of hers that added layers of flavour

Lemon Grass Chicken - Chau
Lemon Grass Chicken - Chau

Crispy Chicken Spring Rolls – lettuce & fresh herbs $10, came out steaming hot and were very crispy.

Crispy Spring Rolls- Chau
Crispy Spring Rolls- Chau

Coconut Pineapple Creme Brûlée, this was delish, with pieces of pineapple that added an interesting tang to it. The coconut was the highlight ingredient bringing a different texture and an exotic flavour to the dessert.

Coconut Pineapple Creme Brulee - Chau
Coconut Pineapple Creme Brulee - Chau

Chau Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon