The name Umi, which means ocean in Japanese, is inspired by the restaurant’s downtown waterfront location, which will create a different ambiance than its sister eatery, Izakaya. “Hapa Umi will offer a more sophisticated and upscale version of the Hapa Izakaya experience with a sustainable seafood-forward menu, sushi bar and more refined service standards,” reads a company press release.
Long-time Hapa chef Tomoki Yamasaki will lead the kitchen brigade, which will also include new recruit Tetsuya Shimizu, a kaiseki-trained chef who was most recently sous chef at Blue Water Cafe’s raw bar.
The 150-seat restaurant will feature a large bar, lounge and private dining room as well as a 50-seat patio. It will boast several windows offering outside views, a departure from the underground and insular design of the existing Hapa restaurants.
Construction of the new restaurant is already underway, at 200 Burrard in Vancouver. It’s expected to open March 2011.