Hapa Izakaya in Calgary serves modern Japanese food and drinks in a young, fun, upbeat atmosphere.
Last month I had the opportunity to travel to Calgary for work. Since I had made this same trip last year and had met up with my blogging friend, Tara of Noshing with the Nolands, for lunch when I was there, I made sure to contact Tara to see if we could meet up for dinner this time.
Tara picked the restaurant, and she definitely picked a winner! We went to a Japanese restaurant called Hapa Izakaya in downtown Calgary. It was very conveniently located since it was only a few blocks from my downtown hotel.
I have to admit that I was a little leary of trying Japanese food. I love to try all types of food but had not really tried much Japanese. So I was worried that I may not find something I like at this restaurant. Boy, was I wrong! I loved everything I tried. I will definitely be eating more Japanese food in the future now.
I learned that Izakaya (ee-zah-KYE-yah) is a style of restaurant where beer and sake are part of the culture, and smaller, sharable dishes are ordered in several courses.
Therefore, Hapa Izakaya has an extensive list of sake and cocktails, served in a fun, upbeat atmosphere. Tara tried this Pear Saketini Moonstone with Pear Infused Sake, Absolut Pears Vodka, Triple Sec, and fresh lemongrass.
For my first sushi, I tried the Dynamite Roll Sushi with tempura shrimp, cucumbers, kaiware, wasabi mayo, teriyaki sauce. They named these little sushi right because they explode with flavor in your mouth. It was amazing to have so much flavor in each bite.
Then we tried the Gravlax Roll Sushi with smoked sockeye salmon, cream cheese, cucumber, topped with prosciutto, teriyaki balsamic sauce, fried onion, and dill. I loved the addition of the creamy cream cheese with all the other flavors.
For our next order we had Wagyu Steak Bites, which are perfectly sautéed cubes of Alberta Brant Lake wagyu beef chuck steak, served with maple polenta, fermented serrano sauce, and parmigiano reggiano. I have had Wagyu Steak before, but it was nothing like this. This was perfectly cooked, tender and flavorful.
For the finale, we had a cute little dessert called Cheese Tofu. However, there is no tofu in this dessert. It is made with mascarpone cheese with strawberries, honey and almonds and served with toasted slices of bread. It was delicious.
Hapa Izakaya, you made a believer out of me. I will no longer be afraid of sushi! I loved it! However, I failed with the chopsticks. Yes. I admit it. I had to ask for a fork. Next on my to do list …… chopstick lessons!
Don’t delay! Be sure to check out all of Hapa Izakaya locations in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary meal in exchange for writing a review. However, as always all opinions and photos are my own.