Before we started our blog, we had always frequented Alpha because of its reasonably priced dishes for izakaya in Yaletown. The restaurant sits about 10 tables and we suggest to always make a reservation. There’s room for a large party, and plenty of room for couples. In the corner there’s an area with a raised platform, maybe meant for more romantic seating. They also have a bar (not pictured, but to the right). Like other popular Vancouver izakaya places like Guu, for example, they offer weekly drink specials.
Christmas Dragon – $6.00
Raspberry Sour Puss, 151, 7up, Cranberry, Sugar Rim
Since it was around Christmas time when we went, they had holiday drink specials. This drink was a pleasant accompaniment to my meal. It was a bit too sweet for my liking and the alcohol was not very noticeable. At $6, I would have rather much spent my money on another dish. That might be the case for myself personally, since I enjoy eating varieties of food at the same time.
Italian Spring Roll – $7.50
mozarella cheese, tomato, and basil in a deep fried spring roll
Of the many times I’ve eaten at Alpha, I always seem to stick with the same dishes because they have yet to disappoint. For once, I was set on trying something new and I decided to give these spring rolls a try since it was listed as one of their suggested dishes. In retrospect, it did not disappoint; the cheese was hot and gooey. As much as I am not a fan of tomatoes, its fair portion managed to complement the cheese very nicely, and also with the nice touch of basil. This is definitely a dish you need to eat right away while the cheese is still hot.
In this case, I recommend that you share this dish with another person so you can devour it quickly without any struggle. The food service was pretty quick so there were many dishes at hand to finish. Also, I didn’t feel that $7.50 was a reasonable price for a dish that only had mozza cheese, tomatoes, and basil.
I much prefer the Chicken Breast Tender Roe Spring Roll at Kingyo which contains the same cheesy element, but has chicken, roe, and seaweed included in it as well.
Agedashi Tofu – $4.75
Definitely one of my favourite places to go for Agedashi Tofu. In my opinion, the restaurants with the best Agedashi Tofu serve it in small, bite-sized cubes that have a light and gooey batter texture, and use soft-firm tofu. Alpha does all of this and that is why I can never resist ordering these delicious tofus whenever I come here. I opted for the regular agedashi, but their spicy agedashi is also very tasty as well. It’s too bad that they don’t serve more pieces, since they charge this dish for almost $5.
Chicken Karaage – $8.00
This is always a dish that jeremyjudelee orders, and it is definitely one of the places to go to for karaage on his list, and on mine. The portion is reasonable for its price, as well as its tastiness! The chicken is very juicy, and coated with a light batter. Unlike some places(like Zakkushi on West 4th) that has that juicy element but lacks a reasonable size, Alpha fulfills both characteristics, making it a place to go to if you’re craving for some yummy karaage!
They serve it with ponzu sauce, but ask them for a side of mayo. And try dipping them with that instead, or, mixing the two!
Mango Vancouver Roll – $9.00
mango, avocado, mayo crab meat wrapped in smoked wild salmon and tobiko with plum wine mustard mayo sauce
Another dish of jeremyjudelee‘s, I cannot give it a fair review; however, Alpha makes their own special “plum wine mustard mayo sauce” that they like to serve with their sushi rolls (like this one pictured). It really is such a sweet and distinct sauce that makes their sushi rolls taste so delicious. I didn’t order a sushi roll this time but I definitely recommend that you try their Alpha Roll (mango, avocado, crab meat, mayo, tobiko, cucumber wrapped in boiled prawn with original plum wine mustard mayo sauce).
Unagi Rice Gratin – $9.75
baked unagi (fresh water eel) with creamy white sauce, seasoned rice and cheese
This is the second time I ordered this dish, and there’s a very good reason why I did! It’s baked unagi on rice, topped with loads of cheese! It’s a very creamy dish that may be too heavy to consume on your own (unless you have a good tolerance for dairy). My only discretion is that it’s hard to tell if the unagi is very fresh, it does have that distinct eel taste that perhaps is strengthened in its mixture with cheese. Definitely a good dish to sample if you have yet to try something like this.
- consistent dishes
- friendly staff
- authentic Japanese
- bar seating
- romantic seating
- takes reservations
- variety of unique izakaya dishes
- variety of drinks
- TV — able to watch popular sports games (Vancouver Canucks, for example.. watched Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final here)
- fast service
- a bit of a walk from Yaletown station
- meter parking
- may need to book almost the whole restaurant if you have a huge party
Will we return?
Definitely!! Always looking for a reason to come to Alpha and always looking forward to our next visit!