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. Open Wed-Fri 12:00pm-2:30pm, Wed-Sun 5:00pm-9:00pm, Sat-Sun 12:00pm-3:00pm.

Venue map for Cha-Ya
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73 Reviews

First Review by Baza


Points +129

12 Aug 2023

Good place

Pretty good food here. Friendly staff. Portions were a bit small, but I guess that’s SF.



Points +1544

06 Jun 2023

Traditional Japanese Vegan Cuisine in SF

I grew up in a martial artist family. I started teaching karate in Japanese at the age of 13. I have backpacked around Japan. I would love to visit Japan again.

One of the most challenging things traveling in Japan was the language. There is Western Comforts like in the West yet followed Happy Cow in Japan to get some amazing vegan meals as don't think Yelp was in Japan when I was there.

Enter Cha--Ya! Cha-Ya might be my new favorite restaurant in San Francisco. A few years ago when I lived in the East Bay went to Cha-Ya there yet now in the Mission went here today for lunch.

I went with the Cha Ya Delight seasoned brown rice bowl. It comes with carrots, kombucha pumpkin, broccoli, lotus root, cauliflower, shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, atsuage tofu, hijiki seaweed, yamamoto, shinzo and ginger.

The ingredients are fresh, well presented, and found the dish nourishing. It was healthy and came with a miso soup. The cuisine is based on traditional Japanese cooking popular in Buddhist centers in Japan I found and reminds me of that. So you might find the food a bit bland yet don't worry you can easily add a little soy sauce and chili powder like I did to give it a bit more flavor.

Vegan, vegetarian, and vegetable forward is the wave of the future right Now. I have been vegan 22 years now and seen the evolution of the movement. Many fast food restaurants now offer Beyond meat and the impossible burger yet it is refreshing to find places like Cha-Ya offering healthy and wholesome traditional cuisine.

For a trip to Japan in San Francisco come here. I look forward to coming back with friends to explore more of the menu that includes various sushi, noodle soups, tempura, and traditional salads that would be good to order family style.

Thank you Cha-ya! Arigato. I look forward to returning soon.

Updated from previous review on 2023-05-31

Pros: Traditional Vegan Japanese in SF, Friendly Service!, No reservations needed

Cons: Food is a bit bland yet can spruce it up, portions could be bigger


Points +94

04 Jun 2023

Amazing curry udon

One of my favorite spots in the Bay! The vege tofu curry with udon noodles is my go-to order, with delicious broth and fresh veggies. Definitely worth a visit!


Points +313

03 Jun 2023

100% vegan homestyle Japanese food

This is the SF outpost of the original Berkeley Cha-Ya -- everything is equally delicious and amazing to the Berkeley location.

I highly recommend that you order the avocado tempura urumaki - it's my favorite dish. They also have an outstanding kinoko miso - and the kinoko noodles are also really good.

Do not miss Agadashi Tofu! Berkeley Roll & Shattuck Roll are also amazing - along with the Goma Ae.

This is the Mission - parking can be tricky. Weekends they have this section of the block closed for "slow streets" - and you can eat outside but people are generally oblivious and rude, I had pedestrians cutting past the back of my chair and a dividing marker - bumping my chair while I ate despite there being plenty of space to go around.

Pros: Agadashi Tofu, Avocado Tempura Urumaki, Goma Ae

Cons: Parking


Points +124

14 May 2023

Delicious, Fresh, Filling!

Really enjoyed eating at Cha-Ya. The Mission location offers a few sidewalk seats that are great for people watching. The service is amazing and the food is spot-on. Had the miso soup, Cha-Ya roll and hot pot. Everything tasted fresh and yummy. This will definitely be a new SF favorite!


Points +103

22 Apr 2023

Awesome Japanese. - most dishes vegan

Ordered a very filling 3 course lunch special for $16. Well worth it. The food was great and the staff were very friendly and helpful.

Updated from previous review on 2023-04-22


Points +146

14 Apr 2023

Great lunch spot

I don't know why we were the only people in this place for lunch, it was so good! We all had the lunch menu ($16 for 3 dishes) and each had a mixture of sushi rolls, tempura, miso soup, gyoza and agedashi tofu. I really liked the fact that the sushi rolls weren't just the regular cucumber/avocado you get as a vegan; one of them had tofu in and both had a mixture of veg. 3 dishes plus a miso soup was almost too much for lunch so seemed like good value to us (for SF!).


Points +671

27 Jan 2023

I never was a sushi fan. But this place is incredible.

So many places offer process vegan food. This is definitely not one of them. Fresh vegetables and flavors

Pros: All vegan. Something for everyone , No processed vegan meats. , Incredible flavors.

Cons: A little heavy on the ginger root


Points +3612

27 Nov 2022

Yes to Cha-Ya!

Cha-Ya was an amazing experience incorporating heart healthy Japanese cuisine that happens to be vegan. It goes back to its plant based roots with fresh ingredients and amazing flavors.

I came upon this by accident as another vegan shop in the Mission was closed the day I visited. I started with their Goma-ae with Broccoli Florets ($6) which was a fantastic, light appetizer. Who doesn't love steamed broccoli with a sesame-tahini dressing to go on top?

Our mains included their Cha-Ya Sukiyaki Nabe ($18) which was a medley of vegetables, tofu, and glass noodles in a sweet-savory broth very reminiscent of the former meat sukiyakis that I had consumed. The presentation was gorgeous, the flavors from the vegetables infused with the broth was a delight, and it made for a very satisfying meal. We also ordered their Sansai Soup Noodle ($15) not realizing we already had noodles in the sukiyaki. It wasn't bad but was too similar to the sukiyaki for it to stand on its own. If I were to go back, I would've ordered a Zaru Soba or something similar.

They have a few outdoor tables available for seating which is perfect on a nice day. Thank you Cha-Ya for your incredible dishes and focus on healthy, fresh ingredients that just happen to be vegan.

Pros: Fresh, seasonal ingredients, Comfort Japanese food


Points +344

07 Nov 2022


If you want a large healthy meal full of veggies and tofu, this is your place. Fast and friendly service.


Points +61

27 Oct 2022

Kitsune tofu Udon!

Highly recommend the kitsune tofu udon and Chaya roll. Staff are so friendly!


Points +68

10 Sep 2022

Cute, but food is not good

I gave this place a few tries, and each time it was equally bad. The idea is great, as there is so much great vegan food in Japanese cuisine — I SO wanted to love this place as a vegan Japanese who lives nearby — but can’t really take their food, sadly. Flavoring is so off, sometimes I was confused what dish it was supposed to be.


Points +1448

12 Jun 2022

Will come back!

We had a great meal at Cha-Ya. As with other vegan restaurants, it was so exciting to have SO many choices! We ended up getting the gyoza appetizer and four sushi rolls which were all delicious. Different plates were brought out one at a time giving us time to enjoy them.

The restaurant is beautifully decorated and comfortable. The staff was attentive and helpful.

I had read in reviews that they accept cash only and made sure to have cash but they do have an ATM machine in the restaurant if you don't have cash on you.

I'll definitely come back again!

Pros: great choices, indoor or outdoor seating, pretty atmosphere and dishware


Points +564

06 Feb 2022


Delicious unpretentious Japanese food.

Updated from previous review on 2022-02-06

Pros: Good wholesome food, Kind staff, Many options


Points +56

29 Nov 2021

Very good vegan Japanese. Traditional dishes well made though not bold flavors

Very good vegan Japanese. Traditional dishes well made though not bold flavors

Pros: Tons of vegan options, Large sale list

Cons: Traditional flavors lack boldness


Points +60

21 Nov 2021

Yummm 💚🌱

Rolls, sake, tea, soup, tempura. Everything vegan and done so well.


Points +242

14 Aug 2021

My favorite vegan place

This is my favorite vegan restaurant in the area. My favorites are the Hanagamoku, mushroom noodle soup and Japanese curry. Everything is delicious and full if veggies. Family run Japanese business with another location in Berkeley.

Pros: Food is amazing

Cons: They are not available on delivery apps , Parking is kind of hard at SF location


Points +68

12 Jun 2021

Food that brings Happiness and Health. Love Everything there.

Always welcomed and never disappointed..


Points +18

19 Nov 2020

Reliably good

Just a solid, no-frills, nothing fancy but dependably good Japanese V fare.


Points +5977

25 Sep 2020

Great experience

Staff is very nice, outdoor dining is cute and convenient with pretty flowers on the table. Food was amazing and we got it super quick, within 5-10 minutes.


Points +215

09 Dec 2019

Did not care for

I did not care for this place at all! It gets 2 stars because it’s all vegan, but that’s it. I’m glad others seem to like it, not my taste.


Points +36

03 Nov 2019

Extensive variety of delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes

Cha-Ya was a great spot for vegan and vegetarian sushi and Japanese dishes! There is an incredible variety of options from sushi to hot pot to noodle bowls. We had an udon noodles with a mushroom medley (Kinoko) and a vegetable hot pot with mushrooms and gyoza (Taku Sui). Both had a great depth of flavor in the broth and the veggies were very well seasoned and delicious. We will definitely be going back the next time we're in the mission to try some of their other offerings!


Points +902

28 Sep 2019

Go Here! My new favorite restaurant in San Francisco-clean and NOT OILY YAY!

I was accidentally in San Francisco and had the opportunity to eat out.
Now I have a new favorite restaurant in San Fran, yay!
It was after 8pm and I was looking for a healthy vegan Asian place with non-oily food. Golden Era and Loving Hut both closed at 8:30. I was on the prowl.
I landed at Cha Ya on Valencia, Vegetarian Sushi, and now I’m in love love love with this cozy gem of a spot.
I actually think in all the years I’ve been veg, this was my first all veg sushi place. It’s so fantastic!
It was not cheap, but the service was top, and the seemingly all female wait staff did easily understand and accommodate, “No oil please, no sesame seeds please and no nuts please.” My table only drank water which tasted wonderful (obviously filtered)
My plan was salad, soup and sushi. I was pre-warned that their food comes out very basic, so I knew it was up to me to it up. Each table had shakers of spicy Gomasio with seaweed and soy sauce.
I started with edamame. I asked for the salt shaker. It arrived quickly.
The summary order was edamame to start, then shredded salad (dressing on the side), then soup with “the most veggies” and silver noodles, skewers, then a bunch of varied rolls and some with brown rice.
The menu and the wall featured their specials*.
Not a discount place. My order was enough for three people, but note that it cost like $150. They only take cash and there is an ATM inside, but also there are ATMs nearby in the city too if you want to plan ahead.
Senroppon Shredded salad. I could eat 10 of these. This is a great salad to just load up on. (If you’re a purist, this salad did have a few strips of fried tofu decorating the plate’s edge but you can pull them out easily.)
Cha Ya Nabe Vegan Sukiyaki Hot Pot. This was as expected. Very warm, and earthy. Their broth is very tealike and you can tell it’s made with care. Next time I might try the Curry Soup, recommended by the wait person.
Robata (skewers). This was awesome. It featured a lot of a miso bbq-ish glaze.
*Special skewer featuring asparagus that was even better than the Robata. Less sauce, more flavor.
Each skewer plate was 2 skewers.
Rolls_all notable and I’d order them all again. Each came with wasabi and very fresh tasting ginger:
Vegan Roll
Garden Roll
Nigiri Brocollini---what an adorable idea. This was super enjoyable and the only photo I took.
Starlight roll—so great with brown rice and avocado.
A guest ordered the Veggie Tempera Roll. It was the only

Pros: Understood special allergies & not oily, Healthful and fresh and clean, Excellent food and friendly staff

Cons: Be prepared, cash only


Points +124

26 Sep 2019

Flavorful and beautifully presented

I was overwhelmed by the number of choices on the menu. Eventually I decided on the Dengaku, which was grilled eggplant, portobellos, and tofu with miso barbecue sauce. The vegetables were grilled perfectly, the sauce was delicious, and it garnished with edamame and plated beautifully. The gyoza starter was also very good. The servers were friendly and attentive. I thought the prices were reasonable - $7 for house hot sake, many entrees $16-18.

Pros: Lots of choices, All vegan - no worries about egg in tempura, Vegetable-centric entrees

Cons: Cash only


Points +19871

15 Sep 2019

Good Japanese food at high prices

Cha-Ya offers vegan Japanese food that is nicely prepared. I got mushroom and tofu fritters after a miso soup and ice cream for dessert. The miso soup was good but not exceptionnal, the fritters were very tasty, plenty of different flavors but the portion was not huge for the price. The ice cream were good, made in the Asian way. The place is quite pleasant and the staff is friendly. The major critic I could give is that prices are quite high for what you get. But depending of what you choose in the menu, it can worth it.

Pros: 100% vegan, nice place, friendly staff, good food

Cons: pricey, cash only, not huge portions


Points +36

02 Sep 2019


Not bad, but it sucks that it’s cash only and I thought it was pretty pricey for the portions. Not great if you are gluten free also.

Pros: Interesting cuisine, Authentic Japanese food

Cons: Small portions for the price, Cash only, Not many gluten free options


Points +88

30 Aug 2019

No organic

Even the tofu is not organic. Almost nothing gluten-free.

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