I went to Hapa Izakaya (1479 Robson St) in downtown on Friday night. The location of the restaurant is quite hidden – although located on Robson between Nicola and Broughton Street (those names don’t mean anything to me – just know it’s closer towards Denman Street), the outside of the restaurant is quite dark. The first time I walked in, I was amazed to see such a small opening expand into a fairly spacious cavern of a restaurant.
Hapa Izakaya is known for its Japanese-style tapas. We were a group of 6 and didn’t make reservations (couldn’t until 8pm) and we ended up waiting almost an hour for our table. While we were waiting, we were seated around a small table and we had the option of ordering drinks and looking at the menu. Prices range from about $3 for edamame beans or octopus sashimi to about $7 for “ebi mayo” prawn tempura (highly recommended) to $10+ for featured appetizers consisting of seafood and meats. These dishes are meant to be shared but if you want to get an individual portion of something filling, try the “ishi-yaki”, a Korean rice bowl with egg. We watched the servers madly beating the raw egg into the rice and watched it cook against the inside of the hot stone bowl it was served in.
So go see for yourself – check out Hapa Izakaya. There is also a location in Kitsilano.
Les Faux Bourgeois (663 East 15th Avenue) is a dimly lit French restaurant located in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood by Fraser and Kingsway. The restaurant is a partnership between the former co-owners of Jules Bistro in Gastown and Go Fish near Granville Island. I have had my eye on the place before it even opened its doors and I extremely excited to finally visit Les Faux Bourgeois for dinner last night. When we went, the 50-seat restaurant was completely full and bustling, with a few empty seats at the bar. The rustic and relaxed feel to the place makes it unpretentious French dining despite the restaurant’s seeming success. A chalkboard marked the “poisson du jour” and wine glasses were abundant at every table. It was a pleasant surprise to still be seated comfortably with a fair-sized gap between us and the next table. A few tables were left open for walk-in’s and even those were constantly being filled.
I had previously been turned away for weekend sittings, and have read only positive reviews about Les Faux Bourgeois. Perhaps these two things raised the bar just a bit because I was disappointed by what I ate. The fausse nicoise ($10) was overdressed with vinegariette, while the lamb tenderloin ($18), although tender, was too salty and there was nothing special about the french fries. The bread for the table was cold and hard. Despite all this, I must admit I would still return for another visit. Considering the value, location and atmosphere of the place, it is worth a second shot.
They are now open on Sundays for dinner, and just recently opened their Cafe side, which serves local organic and fair-trade coffee in the day time.
Looking for something to do? Every Monday morning, we present to you “Modern Mix Monday”, a brief but link-filled one-liner review of our past weekend loaded with suggestions to inspire you for your next!
I had lunch on Sunday afternoon with Miranda Sam of Style By Fire at Moderne Burger (2507 West Broadway). It’s such a cute little diner! The restaurant recently went through renovations and an expansion, but the joint has still managed to maintain its retro feel with mint-green walls and aluminum paneling. There were booths against the wall and windows, paper placemats and stools for sitting placed around the counter… As Miranda brought up, if this was in New York, the area would be much more crowded and less laid back with people rushing to eat their burgers while multitasking and reading the newspaper with a coffee in hand. The burgers were pretty good too – not much menu selection, but about $7.45 for a burger (ie. veggie, ground turkey, steak, etc.), and $1.25 for additional toppings including mushrooms, cheese or fried onions. I got a turkey burger, plain as can be, and it still tasted good. No fries, no milkshake ;).
Liberty Merchant Company is once again hosting Taste BC to gather British Columbia’s food and beverage industry in an effort to raise money for the BC Children’s Hospital’s Oak Tree Clinic which specializes in providing care and services to sufferers of HIV/AIDS. The second annual celebration of local food and drink takes place:
Date: January 22, 2009
Time: 4:30-7:30 p.m
Location: Hyatt Regency Hotel (655 Burrard Street)
Event goers will not only indulge in tastings from some of the finest restaurants, wineries, breweries and cheese purveyors in BC, they will also benefit one of the province’s most vital medical institutions. Along with the great food and drink, the attractions include live music, door prizes and a silent auction that features luxury items, including local experience packages and delicious products made by British Columbia’s own.
According to Regan Schwartz, the Director of Marketing at Liberty:
I know dieting is a new year’s resolution for everyone, but I think all of us would agree that Taste BC is one event the diet can be put on hold for. Not only is it a gastronomical celebration of all that’s great about British Columbia, the gathering also benefits people in our community who need our help more than ever
Tickets can be purchased at all Liberty locations for $49.99 each.