At around 7:30pm on a Wednesday evening, Kevin and I took the subway down to Sheppard station to get to Han Ba Tang (4862 Yonge Street). I had heard about this place multiple times through different friends and was excited to give it a try!
Locating the place wasn’t immediately obvious since we had trouble seeing the name! The first thing I noticed was that the hangul reads phonetically as hon-ba-tang to me. Hmm, I wonder what the accurate pronunciation sounds like. The Instagram account reads 한바탕 which would indeed be han-ba-tang!
Anyway, restaurant inside has a casual-trendy-nautical theme to it – we dug it. :) When we entered there was one large group and several other pairs of diners. We were immediately seated by a friendly host. It so happened that our table was next to the counter of soju jars – looks amazing! Would have to come back to try these on a weekend evening. In any case, all signs already pointed to an enjoyable evening!
We looked over the menu choices (sorry! I neglected to take a photo of the menu), which were newer/seasonal, and ordered the following:
SPICY PORK TACO & LOBSTER TACO
Our tacos came out at a reasonable time and served to us together. Kevin and I agreed that we’ve both had better tacos in Toronto for cheaper, but these were good in their own right. The spicy pork taco was surprisingly a little spicier than I was expecting, but deliciously so! The lobster, which was a good portion, came with avocado and obviously gets my higher recommendation.
Around this time, the place started getting a little busier, and we noticed our food stopped coming. Eventually, one of the servers came to us and apologized for the slowness in the kitchen that night, and after about a twenty minute wait, brought out our next dish:
I really loved this take on grilled calamari with a garlicky black fungus sauce! We were getting a little hangry with the wait, but this was quite good and my favourite dish of the night. The pepper pieces were also super hot – be careful!
SPICY SEAFOOD SOUP
(WITH RAMEN NOODLES)
After another long wait, we were served our spicy seafood soup. It had been a cold night and we were looking forward to this one. Unfortunately, we found it only to be okay and weren’t really satisfied with it – there was just nothing that particularly stood out about it. While we enjoyed the other dishes we had at Han Ba Tang, this one wasn’t really worth the wait.
The long wait times really killed our appreciation of this place. The table of two girls next to us left before their last order came through because it was just taking so long. The place has good food and such a great vibe to it otherwise, with servers and the owner running around and clearly doing their best to make everything work. We were apologized to several times in the night, so that was appreciated as well. I hope it was just a really off night and wait times are more acceptable any other night!