San Francisco vegan restaurant serving Japanese food. Menu features various vegetable sushi, appetizers like gyoza and fried tofu, udon and soba noodle, rice bowls, vegetable tempura, seaweed salads. Its first location is in Berkeley. Simple setup with minimal decor. Price: Moderate more-less
Vegan, Japanese, Take-out
762 Valencia St (18th, Mission District)
San Francisco, California 94110
415-252-7825

Mon-Thu 5:30pm-9:30pm, Tue-Thu 12:00pm-2:30pm, Fri-Sat 12:00pm-3:00pm, 5:00pm-10:00pm, Sun 5:00pm-9:30pm

more-less
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Cash only
reviews

Reviews

First Review by Baza
Star the magic vegan
Star the magic vegan
  • vegan
Contributions
+42

The Best Restaurant In California

5 Posted on 08 / 19 / 2014

When you understand the subtle complexities of the authentic Japanese menu and find your favorite choices, Cha Ya is by far the best restaurant in California. It is a true ethnic experience of vegan gourmet delight. There are lines outside the restaurant to get in most evenings, and it is worth the wait. Use your smart phone to search some of the dish's names because unless you have lived in Japan it is confusing. It is cash only so bring your wallet. You will not be disappointed. I like the deep fried sushi rolls, but it is all good. They can do NOGO (No garlic, no onions) but you must work with them.

Pros: Taste of food, Authentic Cuisine, Nice atmosphere and service
Cons: busy with lines to get in sometimes, cash only, parking
dkinjer
dkinjer
  • mostly-vegetarian
Contributions
+68

I'm sure I would have liked a different dish

4 Posted on 08 / 05 / 2014

OK - so I'm not an expert on Japanese food. I ordered the Moon Garden, described as steamed tofu custard with broccoli, shimeji mushrooms, kabocha, snow peas, atsuage tofu, broccolini, carrots, asparagus, zucchini, soybeans and gingko nuts.
I expected a lot of vegetables, and as it turns out it was almost all tofu custard and just a little bit of vegetables. The custard was OK, but not to be the whole meal - I wanted more vegetables. The menu looks very interesting and I'm sure I would have enjoyed something else. I guess you have to try different things, but since I live thousands of miles away from SF, I won't have a chance for quite a while. A shame! My spouse ordered Cha-Ya Nabe, a vegan sukiyaki, and he was very pleased. The atmosphere of this restaurant is very nice, the service was good, so I wish I came out feeling more satisfied.

Pros: interesting menu, nice atmosphere, good service
Cons: not accurate enough description of food
bianchina
bianchina
  • vegan
Contributions
+80

Enjoy Japanese food again without the worry!

5 Posted on 08 / 30 / 2013

What a treat to come here and know that no dead fish of any kind is lurking in any of the food! Vegan sushi is beautifully presented. All had a fresh, delicious and healthy taste. Excellent!

Pros: Vegan Japanese!, Delicious and healthy, Aesthetically pleasing
Cons: Seems like no brown rice

nzlndr00
nzlndr00
  • vegan
Contributions
+25

Some of the best vegan Japanese food I've had...

5 Posted on 08 / 27 / 2013

I was between Cha Ya and Gracias Madre for lunch during a trip to San Francisco recently. A friend who was meeting had been to Gracias Madre, so we decided to go to Cha Ya. A friend recommended the following- The namesake Cha Ya roll is pretty great: a sushi roll, filled with asparagus, avocado, yam, and carrots. lightly battered and deep-fried, tempura style. served with a special house sauce.

We had a delicious lunch to say the least. We got seaweed salad, gyozo, tempura on the outside inside out sushi roll, and miso soup, all for about $12 a piece. The staff were all very friendly and patient as we tried to decide what to get.

The presentation was lovely as well, so much so I had to take photos. A little culture, great food, at a reasonable price makes for a win in my book!

Pros: friendly staff, great presentation, delicious food
Chia
Chia
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+3960

Healthy, Delicious Japanese Vegan Cuisine

5 Posted on 10 / 07 / 2012

I had first read about Cha Ya San Francisco on HappyCow, and have eaten here 3 times. Was just here in October 2012 for lunch. Here's my Cha Ya Vegetarian Japanese review.

It's moderately sized (as far as San Francisco restaurants are considered where is high) staffed by several Japanese members of what seemed like a family. The menu is extensive with many selections of Japanese food that's all vegan.

My husband have had the hot soba noodle soup (rich, satifying broth + mushroom slices and veggies), the seaweed salad (okay), and the Cha Ya roll (rice and veggies sushi roll coated in light batter and fried). We also had a lunch special, for $9.75, you get white rice, miso soup, and choice of two appetizers or salads--we got the gyoza (pan fried dumpling) and the spring roll (it's fried).

This food is authentic Japanese and very delicious. I like it.

Clean space with minimal Japanese decor. Nothing fancy, just good food.

Pros: healthy and delicious, authentic flavors
Cons: needs better ventilation
SynthVegan
SynthVegan
  • vegan
Contributions
+2506

Cha-Ya

2 Posted on 09 / 09 / 2012

My experience here was quite the opposite of my experience at their Berkeley location - this location was terrible. Everything I ordered was a huge disappointment, and the staff recommended the items I ordered. For starters I had the spring rolls (which were tasteless and the sauce accompanying them actually tasted like vomit) and the pot stickers (which were very greasy and flavorless). I was really hopeful for my entree given my experience with the entrees, but alas it was no better. Per the staff's recommendation, I ordered the vegetable tempura with potato noodles, so I had thought this would be a winner. The veggies just did not taste good and the tempura was bland and greasy. The soup was the same and I just couldn't stomach any of it. Given my displeasure, I doubt I'd ever return to this location.


sglcklch
sglcklch
  • vegan
Contributions
+768

Needs improvement

2 Posted on 10 / 10 / 2010

I had the takusui, which was potstickers with veggies in a light broth served in a pot. Nothing to write home about, maybe other dishes are better. Prices are a bit high, service slow.

Pros: big menu
Cons: slow service
Kumquat
Kumquat
  • vegan
Contributions
+37

Good food

4 Posted on 03 / 18 / 2010

My daughter and I ate dinner here while visiting SF and really enjoyed it. We ordered way too much food because we just couldn't decide (so we also had Cha-ya breakfast). The food was very good, the servers were very nice when you could get ahold of them. Don't expect lightning fast service. I sat there for a long time after we had finished eating trying to flag someone down to get our check. I finally walked up to the counter and I think that might be what you're supposed to do. Cash only. We initially tried to stop in for late lunch a few minutes past 2, but they had just closed. So don't go at odd hours.

Pros: All vegan, Tasty
Cons: Crowded, Cash only, Open limited hours
iwoof4u
iwoof4u
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+60

Perfect

5 Posted on 01 / 26 / 2010

This was our second stop on our vegan tour of san francisco and definately did not disappoint. The mushroom miso soup I could eat every day! We had mostly vegan sushi rolls which were a delight. Nice knowing that you can get these without worrying about a regular sushi resturaunts "veggie" rolls being prepared with the same utensils as the fish. WE will definately make is here next time we are in San Francisco to try some entrees.

Pros: Vegan Sushi, Awesome Miso
Cons: Cash Only
kennyp353
kennyp353
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+220

Great cheap informal dining option in Mission

4 Posted on 11 / 08 / 2009

Been past it many times, never went in - wish I had before today. I had a lunchtime special: $9 for miso soup, sushi and a fried tofu dish. Decent food, friendly service, a total bargain.

Pros: good food, cheap, friendly
Cons: opening hours, location a bit of a faff
VeganTex
VeganTex
  • vegan
Contributions
+156

Cha-Ya

4 Posted on 10 / 10 / 2009

Another quality veg*n restaurant in San Francisco's Mission district. If you're a short timer, definitely check out a veggie friendly place in the Mission.


stokedonspokes
stokedonspokes
  • vegan
Contributions
+48

Amazing Vegan Japanese

5 Posted on 09 / 06 / 2009

If i could afford to eat here everyday, I would. The lunch combos are a really great deal

Pros: lunch combos!, great sushi, friendly staff!
Chef Kati
Chef Kati
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+53

WHAT A FIND!!

5 Posted on 02 / 22 / 2009

As a chef specializing in Japanese Vegetarian cuisine, I normally don't even bother with Japanese restaurants (fish broth and food that is overly salty or sweet). During our recent stay in SF, my husband, daughter and I went to check out Cha-ya and boy do we wish it was in our city! I lived in Japan for 8 years and certainly am well-acquainted with authentic flavors. Cha-ya is CLEAN food with dishes that are creative and perfectly seasoned. It was packed when we arrived (always a very good sign) and we were seated in less than five min. The dashi (broth) of the Mushroom Udon was superb as was the Tofu Cream. We can't wait to go again on our next trip to S.F.

Pros: Speedy service, All dishes were amazing!, Wonderful Staff
Cons: No branch in Seattle
Umakins
Umakins
  • vegan
Contributions
+17

What a treat!

5 Posted on 12 / 05 / 2008

I really enjoyed eating here. I am vegan and it was such a pleasure to be able to order anything on the menu! The food was grand. I loved the seaweed salad and soup with dumplings. YUM!!!

Pros: Vegan Japanese food!, Great taste, Good price
Humanicide
Humanicide
  • vegan
Contributions
+90

good

3 Posted on 09 / 21 / 2008

I'd never had japanese food before, but i really liked what I got. I got some eggplant sushi (eggplant was very very very good). I don't know if we ordered incorrectly or what, but the portions were tiny. I left hungry, and it was a tad expensive, and service wasn't the greatest.

Pros: Location, Japanese food
Cons: Small building, tiny portions?, loud
yoshidasam
yoshidasam
  • vegan
Contributions
+21

So, so.

3 Posted on 07 / 28 / 2008

Very slow service, apparently due to the language problem with the waitress. We arrived there at around 1:45 on Saturday and there were only few diners, yet it took very long time for the single waitress to get to take our order and I saw others having the same problem. Food was OK, but not great.

Pros: Vegan food
Cons: slow servcies
Mimi710
Mimi710
  • vegan
Contributions
+193

Good food, bad service

3 Posted on 07 / 19 / 2008

I went here on a Saturday night when I was starving. The place was packed - no open tables - and there was only one server. The server didn't acknowledge me at all until she had a table for me. She sat me at a table with three empty chairs, when I was only one person. I had made friends with the people standing behind me in line (a non-vegan couple) and waived over for them to sit with me. They talked to the waitress and then came to me and told me that the waitress said that she couldn't sit them at my table b/c I might not like that. So I told a busboy it was okay and the couple sat with me - but that was definetly odd. There was a lot to choose from on the menu. The soup that I got came in a cute traditional clay pot. I got to sample a lot of things because the couple let me try their items - and they got a lot (they really like Japanese food). The mochi and azuki bean dessert was different, but amazing. I would not recommend the deep fried eggplant dish if you don't normally eat deep fried food. My stomach felt weird for three hours after I ate it and I wans't sure if I was going to throw up or what. The sake was served hot was good. It was only my second time having sake so I can't really rate it as amazing or not. It was my first experience at a vegan Japanese restaurant, and besides the bad waitress it was a good experience. Definetly check this place out if you are in SF, but go to Herbivore first (on the same street, a few blocks up). If you are staying at Elements Hostel Herbivore is one block over from you and just a few doors down from the corner. This place is just down the street a bit from there. Oh yea, and some of the menu items are small so you'll need to order a few things to feel full.

Pros: lots to choose from, yummy food, near Hostel
Cons: deep fried eggplant made me sick, unfriendly waitress
diva
diva
  • vegan
Contributions
+39

Seaweed Salad Bliss

4 Posted on 07 / 14 / 2008

They have two locations in the Bay Area and they both are great!
I like their Seaweed Salad a lot. It is very refreshing. Also the soups are great.
The lunch menu is much less expensive then the dinner one and you get the same amount of food.
The down side is that it can be really loud in there and the tables are a bit close together.

Pros: Soups, Seaweed Salad
Cons: Loud when busy
soma
soma
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+61

Cha-Ya SF visit

4 Posted on 06 / 21 / 2008

Clean and cozy restaurant serving decent Japanese vegetarian food.

Pros: large portions, stunningly hot (temperature wise) noodle, awesome vegan desserts
Cons: not kid friendly, wait long time to be seated, cash only
atandt
atandt
  • mostly-vegetarian
Contributions
+130

japanese cuisine with a difference

3 Posted on 01 / 20 / 2008

if you want non-traditional Japanese veg food, try this place. never had maize in my maki, or a vegan chocolate cake at an asian place before! interesting concepts for your plate and your palate.

Pros: old favourites
Cons: non-traditional
Seitan_Nic
Seitan_Nic
  • vegan
Contributions
+162

Great Japanese goes vegan!

5 Posted on 10 / 29 / 2007

This place is great! I've had almost everything on the menu and have had very few disapointments. My favorites include the Cha-Ya nabe (vegan sukiyaki), the Shattuck roll and the seaweed salad. Also, it is a fact: they have the best Miso soup ANYWHERE! Fanstastic service, too!

Pros: Great food!, Great Staff!
Cons: Can get crowded.
craigmc
craigmc
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+591

japantastic

5 Posted on 10 / 10 / 2007

i went to japan about 11 years ago, in those days there was no happy cow, and guide books were not that clued up.
i wish i found somwhere like this when i visited. this place had great service, both the starter and main were fantastic. big portions, but filled with lots of veg as well as noodles. if your in san francisco, you must visit here!!!!


Guest
Guest

my favorite restraunt

5 Posted on 07 / 01 / 2007

this is my favorite restraunt. great food friendly staff. when i have been gone overseas...all i want to remember home is cha ya. the seaweed salad is a staple, the vegan roll is awesome and oh dont forget the fried bannana for dessert. great food and you do not leave hungry.

Pros: value for sushi, great staff, best sushi food around
Cons: bigger restraunt... but, the small atmostphere is, part of the experience
Baza
Baza
  • vegan
Contributions
+92

Please open in Japan!

5 Posted on 04 / 19 / 2007

I wish there was a Japanese restaurant as good as this in Tokyo for a vegan like me. I really hope they open a branch here in Japan one day.

Pros: reasonable price, not `in your face waiters, best Japanese food
Cons: bit of a wait to enter, not in Japan

 

This business supports the service that HappyCow provides :o)

 

If you are the Owner of a listing on this site, we invite you to join our highly successful Priority Friend program today. click for details >>

 

Close

Dear Owner and Manager of Cha Ya:


While your business is currently a free listing on HappyCow, there is so much more we can do to further promote your business to the millions who visit this site every year.

Enjoy more...

Here's how you can take advantage of HappyCow's Internet popularity:

Your sponsorship will keep the HappyCow service strong on the Internet. Thank you.

Close

 

Last updated: 2014/09/11

 

Added: 2007/08/01

 

Added by: Guest

 

Close