Through its original menu that mixes different cuisines, its use of organic produce and its neo-Japanese atmosphere, Hapa holds a special place in Toronto’s Little Italy.
Thinly sliced, local AAA beef, lightly seared and served with house-made sesame chili sauce and three different kinds of onions—green, raw and fried. This light appetizer is a great way to start a meal.
Hungry for more? Let’s dig in!
Originally hailing from Vancouver, this izakaya chain opened its Toronto restaurant nearly four years ago. Hapa’s owners take pride in the fact that the restaurant uses only locally grown organic produce and is part of the Ocean WiseTM seafood conservation program—meaning it offers all wild, not farmed, seafood choices.
The menu consists mainly of cold and hot tapas rooted in the Japanese tradition, but with a hint of international flavour. Hence the name of the restaurant: Hapa, which, besides its translation from Japanese meaning “leaf,” also means “half and half” or “mix” in Hawaiian. Moreover, the Italian influence on dishes such as the delicate Tuna Carpaccio and crispy Japanese Arancini is quite fitting considering the location of the restaurant—in the middle of Little Italy. The house-made dressings mix Japanese flavours with unique ingredients such as capers and asparagus, giving a new personality to each traditional dish. The wide variety of flavours is capable of satisfying even the pickiest of eaters as well as those who prefer gluten-free options.
Besides its intriguing menu, Hapa charms with its modern yet simple design filled with raw timber and a bar-style, widely open seating area over-looking College Street. The late-night kitchen is a bonus—it’s open every day until 2 am—and the daily Hapa Hour between 4 and 6 pm is not to be missed.
Crispy, deep-fried halibut risotto balls and creamy dill aioli sauce, topped with tender BC trout carpaccio and capers.
This delicately sliced ahi tuna with yuzu dressing has a refreshing, citrusy flavour.
This hot stone bowl comes with rice, minced pork, fresh vegetables, garlic, a raw egg—and a spicy kick.
Hapa’s Chef & Manager
Bar Manager Mackenzie Isobe (right) is one of three siblings who share management duties at Hapa. When they asked Japanese-born Chef Takumi Saito (left) to help improve the menu at Hapa, he did not anticipate that he would be staying in Toronto permanently! The team shares a passion for Japanese dishes with added international flavour.