The Spot: Roka Akor
7299 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale
The Hours: Happy hour is daily from 4:30 to 7 p.m.
Perfect For: Japanese fare with a twist, including sushi and sliders; plus discount cocktails, house sake, and Japanese beer.
The Interior: Smack dab in in the middle of a busy stretch of Scottsdale road, Roka's got a modern atmosphere in a huge space. Yet, somehow, the restaurant's bar area feels cozy, with flourishes of Japanese design. If you're looking for a quieter happy hour, go in the early evening, as Roka tends to get crowded, especially during the busy winter months.
The Food: We've been to Roka for happy hour before, but it always seems like the menu is revolving. And, boy, is this happy hour menu expansive. Appetizer-type plates range from $4 edamame to $10 sushi rolls. On Thursdays, Roka offers an extra treat: $1 oysters from 4:30 to 7 p.m..
The oysters-on-the-half-shell served the night we came hailed from Washington. Paired with the traditional horseradish and cocktail sauce, these tasted fresh and buttery. Next, we went with a single scallop ceviche taco with fresno chili ($3), where the fish had a melt-in-your-mouth quality that paired well with a crispy taco shell.
To top off the meal, we tried Roka's crispy butterfish roll with wasabi aioli ($8). This roll hit the spot, topped with a dab of creamy aioli and packed with the butterfish. When in doubt at Roka, order anything with seafood.
The Drink: Here's where we ran into issues. Roka's happy hour menu offers $6 cocktails with certain liquors, and when we asked about cocktails, the server listed a Moscow mule. As such, we were a little surprised when the bill listed the mule—a pretty standard version of the classic—as $10. According to the server, this wasn't a mistake and the mule is NOT included in happy hour. Maybe we should have been more specific in our original question, but we really would have liked a heads up or clarification.
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Otherwise, the happy hour menu offers a decent range of drinks. You can never go wrong with a $3 Kirin or Sapporo, and house wine or sake comes in at $6.
Conclusion: Roka's food menu for happy hour knocks it out of the park, but the cocktail snafu put a damper on the whole experience. Still, the restaurant is typically pricey during regular dinner service, so the happy hour is an impressive deal for quality seafood.
Don't Miss: Dollar oysters on Thursdays. These oysters were terrific for the price.
Skip This: Confusion over what drinks are included in happy hour. Stick with a simple, happy hour beer or be VERY specific when ordering.