Friday, August 29, 2014Mostly Cloudy 13°C
Restaurants

Happy Hooker

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on March 14, 2013 / review policy

Happy Hooker TorontoThe Happy Hooker is the newest addition to the thriving stretch of Dundas West between Bathurst and Ossington, offering an inexpensive seafood-centric menu that draws inspiration from the West Coast.

Happy Hooker TorontoTaking the space over from a 30-year old pizzeria (and more recently a bong shop), the new restaurant retains the original black and white checkered flooring, but makes over everything else into a charming, eclectic room furnished with mix-matched decor. The take-away counter perched at the back looks over the tiny space and somehow packs in at least a dozen seats without feeling too cramped.

Happy Hooker TorontoNevermind if you can't find a seat though - almost everything on the menu is conveniently handheld. For instance the playful Shrimp Corn Dogs (2 for $6) are made of hand-formed ground shrimp "sausages" crusted in golden cornmeal batter and served on a stick for easy dipping in housemade dill mustard, crema or chipotle adobo sauce.

Happy Hooker TorontoNext up, fish tacos, like the Grouper, Cali Baja and Shrimp tacos (each for $3.50) come piled atop soft corn tortillas and sauced with chipotle adobo, lime crema and bright toppings like pico de gallo, cabbage, or corn salsa. Each has its merits, the grouper is especially crisp on the outside, tender on the inside; the shrimp, succulent and well seasoned; the Cali Baja benefits from a dollop of creamy avocado. None pack any real heat, but a squirt of lime and extra chipotle adobo sauce add a little more kick when necessary.

Happy Hooker TorontoThe Surf N' Turf Sandwich is the lone meat entry on this menu and priced at $11, it's also the most expensive. Thin sliced steak and morsels of shrimp come slathered in lime crema and sandwiched between halved baguettes. Adding the Organic Kale Salad ($6) on the side provides some welcomed freshness via delicate purple kale, radishes, cherry tomatoes and tart vinaigrette.

Happy Hooker TorontoOwner, Attilo Pugliese (formerly of Tavolino and Queen Margherita Pizza) cites his love for the neighbourhood and a personal penchant for fish tacos as motivation to open this new casual joint. He also notes that all the fish is brought in fresh daily (there isn't even a freezer on the premises), and, that plans are in the works to introduce Ocean Wise approved sustainable seafood.

Happy Hooker TorontoOnce the liquor licence is approved (the plan is to serve craft beers, bourbon and whisky), hours might creep into later territory, but for now, the Happy Hooker is open Tuesday to Friday from 11am to 10pm and on weekends from noon until 9 or 10pm.

Happy Hooker TorontoPhotos by Morris Lum

Discussion

26 Comments

Rich / March 14, 2013 at 02:04 pm
user-pic
FINALLY, a place I can get a fish taco in the west end....
fish fan / March 14, 2013 at 02:21 pm
user-pic
Can't wait to check it out. And bravo for turning those hideous brick arches into a positive design feature!
Brandon / March 14, 2013 at 02:23 pm
user-pic
STOP WITH THE MINI TACOS!
tnt replying to a comment from Brandon / March 14, 2013 at 02:25 pm
user-pic
look on the bright side...at least they aren't also selling cupcakes
Will replying to a comment from Rich / March 14, 2013 at 03:06 pm
user-pic
I think you mean finally a place in the west end to get tacos where you don't have to wait more than 2.5 hours, Grand Electric I'm looking at you...
Mikey / March 14, 2013 at 04:00 pm
user-pic
How is this cheap?! These are GE prices (and I doubt GE quality!)!!

And ANY $11 sandwhich seems expensive in this post-Banh Mi Boys world... I don't care if you're putting ostrich in it.
Ethan / March 14, 2013 at 04:01 pm
user-pic
Sounds delicious - well written Liora, you're profiles are fantastic.
Roxy / March 14, 2013 at 05:16 pm
user-pic
I ate it, i loved it, can't wait to go back!
Berns replying to a comment from Brandon / March 14, 2013 at 05:21 pm
user-pic
Aren't all tacos mini?
Tyler / March 14, 2013 at 10:20 pm
user-pic
I ate there today for the first time and wow was I impressed, I had the surf and turf sandwich, it was the best sandwich I ever ate in my life,the steack,soooo tender wow, I also had a baja taco, loved it.. Good job happy hooker can't wait to go back!!!
Gabe replying to a comment from Mikey / March 14, 2013 at 11:05 pm
user-pic
I never realized there was a post-Banh Mi Boys world. You've opened my eyes, everything has changed...
Kidd / March 15, 2013 at 12:03 am
user-pic
Ate there today was really impressed with the place,Baja taco was fantastic,next time going on empty stomach.
John / March 15, 2013 at 02:13 am
user-pic
I had the shrimp and grouper tacos, and both seriously lacked in flavour, I would not go back.

There are much better alternatives out there.
Sergio Lia / March 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm
user-pic
A true delight to dine at the Happy Hooker. The food was fresh and delicious with prompt sevice. The staff was courteous and professional and ensured I was completely satisfied with my meal. I recommend the experience highly. Thank you.
Nims replying to a comment from John / March 15, 2013 at 10:36 pm
user-pic
Such as?
John replying to a comment from Nims / March 15, 2013 at 10:48 pm
user-pic
Seven Lives, Rebozos, Grand Electric
Jesse / March 16, 2013 at 09:04 am
user-pic
These comments are the worst.
Heather / March 16, 2013 at 06:38 pm
user-pic
I had the buttermilk oyster sliders and I was very impressed. I will be back for sure.
JC / March 17, 2013 at 03:47 pm
user-pic
Wow, this place is really terrible. Starting with the fact that the decor was such a feeble attempt at being trendy, followed by the shitty Bob Marley remix album on their gutless speakers, and then the tasteless cod sandwich I had accompanied by the saddest of limp and soggy fries. Left most of my meal unfinished. As a person from Vancouver, I must say this place in no way represents the vibe or quality of the food on the West Coast.
Brian / March 17, 2013 at 08:00 pm
user-pic
Ate there for the first time today loved it, loved it, loved it.. I had the oyster slider and baja taco, mmmmm so good!! Can't wait to go back!!
Shawn replying to a comment from Mikey / April 8, 2013 at 12:39 am
user-pic
I've never understood the hype behind their Banh Mi...its decent but not amazing (and needs more meat). Their steamed bao (namely, the fried chicken) is damn amazing, though.
JLL / April 27, 2013 at 05:01 pm
user-pic
The Surf n Turf sandwich with their chipotle hot sauce is AMAZING.
J Smiths replying to a comment from Rich / November 12, 2013 at 03:01 pm
user-pic
This place is disgusting. I am extremely passionate about food of all types and I would not recommend that anyone come here. Not only is it unsanitary while the cooks smoke every 10 minutes and do not wash their hands afterwards (just go and see for yourself), but the food is not worth the price. They promote sustainability yet they lie to the customers about the fish they are really using (too small of a shop to afford sustainable, high valued fish).

The food is extremely dry and does not taste good when you think about the fact that the chef handling the food just smoked seconds before.

The owner is a crook and I wouldn't recommend using your credit card at the establishment as it is likely they will be tracking your information.

It's just a matter of time when it collapses.
John / January 30, 2014 at 10:39 am
user-pic
Happy Hooker re-opens today with their new liquor licence and new menu.
Jonathan / February 25, 2014 at 10:26 pm
user-pic
@Rich What about Grand Electric!? It is in the west end, and has excellent fish tacos. You need to get out more ;)
Catorina / July 2, 2014 at 06:07 pm
user-pic
I ate here once and liked it, then I went again and ordered three tacos and paid. Immediately after paying, the girl informed me that they were out of tortillas... They served my pieces of fish and toppings on a bed of cold fries. It was disgusting. I stayed away for months after that but folded when I was starving. The fish sizes have shrunken to the size of a q-tip, they serve melted cheddar cheese on their tacos with both the cali baja fish and cod... It's really just pathetic. Don't go.

Add a Comment

Search

Find a restaurant

Or use the options below to assist you in locating a restaurant in Toronto.

Search Results

Please select criteria from the dropdown menus above to start your search.

Reviews

Recent Reviews

Refine the list using the categories below:


Loading...
Other Cities: Montreal