Cha-Ya Japanese Vegetarian Restaurant Review

October 2, 2014

Cha-Ya Restaurant Review by Culinary Guide Corinne Sykes

Cha-Ya Vegetarian Japanese restaurant is a true comfort food on those foggy San Francisco days.  

The Place: Right in the heart of the Mission, on Valencia between 18th and 19th, Chaya is an oasis of steaming soups and delicious rolls.  The service is lovely and feels like home, even in the spacious, sparse, brightly-lit dining room.   The family-owned restaurant is inspired by “Shojin Ryori” Japanese Zen Buddhist cuisine.

The Dishes: Begin with Dobin Mushi “tea pot” soup – it comes it a weighty, warm cast iron tea pot, filled with delicious broth, mushrooms, and other veggies.  Small but mighty, this soup will wash away even the toughest San Francisco day.  Another appetizer favorite is the Vegan pot stickers – Gyoza.  My stomach rumbles with delight whenever a restaurant offers vegetarian dumplings, so I was in heaven with these cabbage-carrot-corn pot stickers.  The sake tasting flight was a perfect companion, along with the requisite green tea.

Gyoza at Cha-Ya Restaurant
Tea Pot Soup at Cha-Ya Restaurant

Key Ingredients:  mushrooms, sake, vegan

Other Menu Musts:
  Vege-Tofu Curry.  I have dreams about this dish – noodles, curry, broth, mushrooms, what more could a girl want?

Little Known Fact:  Cha-Ya’s second location on Shattuck Ave in Berkeley is equally to-die-for!

Insider Secret:  Cha-Ya’s family vibe extends to their cash-only stance.  But don’t worry, there’s an ATM.

The Details:  Tea Pot Soup (Dobin Mushi)  $6.75,  Pot Stickers (Gyoza) $7.50, Sake flight $8, Vege-Tofu Curry $11.

762 Valencia St, SF
(415) 252 – 7825
M-Th 5:30-9:30pm
W-Th 12pm-2:30pm
F 12pm-3pm, 5pm-10pm
Sat 12pm-10pm
Sun 12pm-9:30pm