Hapa the latest Vancouver izakaya to migrate eastward

Hapa the latest Vancouver izakaya to migrate eastward

Wagyu beef cooked, tableside, on a hot stone (Image: dreamoo) 

Yet more evidence that 2012 truly is the year of the Vancouver Japanese import: Hapa Izakaya announced yesterday that it will open a Toronto location this August, taking over Coco Lezzone’s old Little Italy digs. This follows on the heels, of course, of Guu’s triumphant Toronto takeover of 2009 and Kingyo’s announcement earlier this year of plans for an eastward expansion. Vancouver expatriates inform the Dish that Hapa takes a cue from, say, Earl’s or Joey—at least with respect to waitress-hiring practices and décor—and has a slightly less adventurous menu than Kingyo (in other words, it’ll probably fit in well on College Street). Indeed, it describes itself as “offering a winning combination of a sexy room, excellent service, outstanding Japanese tapas, cocktails and sake.” Still to come in this year’s spate of non-sushi Japanese imports: Nejibee, an izakaya, and Santouka, a ramen shop, which are both outposts of chains from Japan, as well as Raijin, a ramen bar from the owners of Kintaro and Motomachi Shokudo in Vancouver. Phew.

Hapa Izakaya, 602 College St., hapaizakaya.com