Hapa Izakaya Toronto: Japanese Restaurant in Little Italy

Hapa Izakaya is considered one of Toronto’s best Japanese restaurants.

The award-winning restaurant was voted “Top Five Izakayas in North America,” by Bon Appetit Magazine and “Best Japanese,” by Vancouver Magazine.

The friendly neighbourhood izakaya is located on College Street in the heart of Little Italy.

Hapa Izakaya Toronto is famous for its extensive sake list, Asian-inspired cocktails, Japanese small plates, sushi and noodles.

Hapa Izakaya Toronto is located on College Street in Little Italy.
Hapa Izakaya Toronto is located on College Street in Little Italy.

Step Inside Hapa Izakaya Toronto

Hapa Izakaya Toronto is a Vancouver-based restaurant brand that originally launched in 2003. Justin Ault founded the restaurant group with wife Lea over a decade ago, keen to Tokyo’s boisterous izakaya vibe on Canada’s West Coast.

Hapa means “half” in Japanese and is a clear nod to the restaurants two owners who are half Japanese. The Isobe family brought Hapa Izakaya Toronto to Ontario in September 2012.

The restaurant in Little Italy features a 3,100 sq ft space with interior designs dreamed up by Mackay Wong Strategic Design. Skip through the dining room and you’ll find dark black walls and a mural of colourful koi fish.

Hapa Izakaya on College Street has room to serve 120 diners, with the space split up between a street-side patio, bar, large communal table perfect for parties, and comfy banquettes that overlook the open kitchen.

Koi fish decorate the dining room at Hapa Izakaya Toronto.
Koi fish decorate the dining room at Hapa Izakaya Toronto.

Hapa Izakaya Toronto Bar

Having just returned to Toronto from a trip to Portland, I was looking forward to sipping Oregon’s finest sake at Hapa Izakaya.

SakeOne is the leading American owned and operated brewer of craft sake in the US and during my recent visit enjoyed a VIP tour by the brewmaster himself.

Hapa Izakaya is one of the few restaurants in Toronto that offers SakeOne on tap. Thirst quench on award winning Momokawa Organic, served to guests in a “kanzake” traditional bamboo carafe.

If sake ain’t your thing, you’ll also find a bar stocked with craft beer, wine and sochu.

Hapa Izakaya Drink Specials

  • Tuesday: 1/2 price bottle of wine and sake
  • Wednesday: draught day featuring Sapporo, Miller Lite, MGD, Lagunitas IPA
  • Thursday: Tiger Beer and Highballs
  • Friday: sip a flight of three sakes
  • Sunday: all signature cocktails at $10
Sake sips at Hapa Izakaya Toronto in Little Italy.
Sake sips at Hapa Izakaya Toronto in Little Italy.

Hapa Izakaya Toronto Menu

The restaurant’s menu offers a celebration of “hapa,” offering a playful take on classic Japanese pub grub with a West Coast flare.

Koichi Fujioka and Takayuki Sato flew from Vancouver to Toronto to help manage the College Street kitchen. The duos playful Japanese menu focuses on serving certified Oceanwise sustainable seafood. It also offers a menu for vegans, vegetarians and guests who follow a gluten-free diet.

If you’re dining in Little Italy from 5-9pm you can order a selection of Teishoku Bento Boxes.

The izakaya also offers a family-style Prix Fixe menu for two (or 4-16 guests). The chef crafted omakase allows diners to taste a selection of the restaurants signature dishes and seasonal menu items.

Japanese-inspired Fish Tacos at Hapa Izakaya Toronto.
Japanese-inspired Fish Tacos at Hapa Izakaya Toronto.

Hapa Izakaya Toronto Share Plates

  • Edamame: marinated chilled soybeans
  • Kimchi: house made spicy pickled cabbage
  • Goma-Ae: seasonal vegetables with black sesame dressing
  • Tuna Tataki: lightly seared Ahi tuna with ponzu
  • Sizzling Wagyu: self-sear American Kobe beef, ponzu, green onion, house-made garlic chips
  • Wagyu Meat Balls: American Kobe beef, king oyster mushrooms, pine nuts, sesame seeds, onion, garlic, maple syrup teriyaki sauce
  • Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps: crispy pork belly, apple yuzu jam, spicy miso, pickled red onion, red-leaf lettuce
  • Saba: seared marinated mackerel
  • Beef Carpaccio: thinly sliced beef tenderloin, parmesan cheese, arugula, olive oil, garlic chips, worchester aioli
  • Beef Short Ribs: grilled AAA beef short ribs, apple soy marinade, jalapeno coleslaw
  • Lobster Crudo: 3oz lobster grade sashimi tail, golden beets, cilantro aioli, yuzu red wine vinaigrette, tobiko
  • Grilled Ika: grilled squid, soy sake garlic marinade
  • Karaage: boneless Japanese-style fried chicken with choice of soy-honey garlic or Japanese mayo
  • Ebi Mayo: tempura-battered prawns, spicy mayo sauce
  • Mac & Cheese Motoyaki: classic mac & cheese topped with selection of lobster or sea urchin
  • Tempura: prawn and seasonal vegetables
  • Hapa Sliders: choice of seared salmon, ahi tuna or chicken karaage
  • Fish Tacos: tempura cod, lettuce, jalapeno coleslaw, tomato, shoestring potato, teriyaki sauce
  • Duck Breast: duck breast, seasonal vegetables, celeriac puree, teriyaki pomegranate sauce
Crispy Japanese chicken wings at Hapa Izakaya Toronto.
Crispy Japanese chicken wings at Hapa Izakaya Toronto.

Hapa Izakaya Toronto Salad, Rice and Noodles

  • Shabu Shabu Salad: pork slices, lettuce, poached egg, cherry tomato, cucumber, white sesame dressing
  • Avocado Tofu Salad: mixed greens, tofu, avocado, daikon, sesame dressing
  • Ishiyaki: hot rice bowl
  • Feature Ramen (egg noodle)
  • Featur Udon (wheat noodle)
Torching sushi at Hapa Izakaya Toronto.
Torching sushi at Hapa Izakaya Toronto.

Hapa Izakaya Toronto Sushi

  • Aburi Salmon: sockeye salmon, ikura, avocado, cucumber, asparagus, daikon oroshi, spicy mayo
  • The 6IX: prawn tempura, snow crab, tobiko, avocado, cucumber, wasabi mayo, teriyaki sauce
  • Hapa: ahi tuna, snow crab, tobiko, avocado, mayo
  • Fire Cracker: ahi tuna, tobiko, cucumber, avocado, spicy mayo
  • Chopped Scallop: tobiko, tempura flakes, cucumber, prawn tempura, spicy mayo, teriyaki sauce
Kakuni: soy, maple syrup, brown sugar braised pork belly, braised apple and roasted onion.
Kakuni: soy, maple syrup, brown sugar braised pork belly, braised apple and roasted onion.

Hapa Izakaya Toronto Hours

Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday: 5pm-12am

Thursday to Saturday: 5pm-2am

Monday: closed

Hapa Izakaya Toronto Reservations

602 College Street, 647-748-4272

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