Chaya - a Famous Japanese Restaurant in Baguio

Chaya Japanese Restaurant in Baguio
Chaya Japanese Restaurant in Baguio
According to a site my friend checked out, Chaya is one of the top recommended places to visit in Baguio. With the severe traffic condition in mind, it took us some minutes to decide on whether to check it out or just stay at home during our first night in Baguio. After a few rounds of debate, we eventually decided to give it a try. Enk. Not a smart decision.

Normally, the entire ride from where we stay to Chaya just takes 15 minutes. However, for this case and for that duration, we were just a fourth from our destination. Thankfully, after a close to an hour ride, we finally arrived at the place.

Interior of Chaya Japanese Restaurant in Baguio
Upon entering the restaurant, we felt lucky because the place wasn't full yet. Perfect, or so we thought.

Friendly tip: Chaya makes all the tables subject to reservation even during peak season, so book in advance.

Much to our surprise, all the seats were reserved. We pleaded and raised the possibility that someone might cancel or fail to make the 15 minute grace time. However, the effort was futile as we became desperate, and remained so.

Thinking it was hopeless, we decided to just reserve for tomorrow lunch and leave the place in search for a another restaurant that can accommodate. My golly. It was yet another not-so-smart decision. (This is another story, which you may read here - Cafe by the Ruins in Baguio)

The home turned restaurant -- Chaya Japanese Cuisine in Baguio
The home turned restaurant -- Chaya Japanese Cuisine in Baguio
Fast forwarding to the next day, we came at the place practically early to avoid traffic. Everyone was in a better mood now. Because of this, we were now able to appreciate the home-like ambiance of Chaya.

Salmon Sashimi || P280
Salmon Sashimi in Baguio - Chaya Restaurant
Salmon Sashimi in Baguio - Chaya Restaurant
With its generous serving, this salmon was something that we all practically enjoyed.

Chaya Salad || P280 
Sprinkle of fruits over greens with fruity dressing
Fruity and excessively sour Chaya salad
Fruity and excessively sour Chaya salad
This salad could have been a winner with its diversely rich fruit selection and surprising crunch from the passion fruit seeds. However, it was heavily drenched in the excessively sour vinaigrette that destroyed everything.

Chawan Mushi || P130 
Japanese Custard with shrimp and vegetables - served hot!
The bland chawan mushi of Chaya Japanese Restaurant
The bland chawan mushi of Chaya Japanese Restaurant
Although this Chawan Mushi was able to capture the excellent silk texture, it was considerably bland on the first few spoonful. Fortunately, upon successive sip of the soup-like egg custard, it developed more flavor. However, I'm still not a fan of the chawan mushi here.

Tonkatsu || P280 ala carte || P340 with rice and miso soup 
Breaded pork fillet served with cabbage salad
Tonkatsu of Chaya Japanese Restaurant
One of the good ones here in Chaya Japanese Restaurant in Bagion
This was one of the few dishes we really enjoyed here in Chaya -- all thanks to its tenderness, tastiness and satisfying serving size!

Yakisoba || P260 
Japanese Stir Fried Noodles
The star of this dining experience in Baguio - Yakisoba!
Everyone didn't expect that the Yakisoba will be a superstar during our lunch experience here in Chaya. We just love how tasty it was and how harmoniously diverse the flavors are.

Gyoza || P180 for 6 pieces
The greasy Japanese dumplings, Gyoza, of Chaya Restaurant
The greasy Japanese dumplings, Gyoza, of Chaya
Due to the Gyoza's severe greasiness, the attention was driven away from its taste. Almost everyone declared this as a "not-so-good" dish.

Katsu Curry || P350
Katsu Curry of Chaya Japanese Restaurant
A dish for curry lovers -- Katsu in Japanese Curry Sauce!
Although I am not a fan of curry, I was able to appreciate this dish due to its soft and balanced flavor. It also featured the same goodness of the Tonkatsu mentioned above.

Tofu Hotpot || P280
Tofu and vegetables simmered in konbu seaweed base. Served with Ponzu sauce. 
Japanese Tofu Hotpot in Baguio -- Chaya Restaurant!
Japanese Tofu Hotpot in Baguio -- Chaya Restaurant!

Gyudon || P280 
Steamed rice topped with thinly sliced beef loin, onions, dashi soup, egg seasoned with Japanese ingredients
Tasty Japanese Gyudon of Chaya in Baguio
Tasty Japanese Gyudon of Chaya in Baguio
This Gyudon featured an authentic Japanese sticky rice mixed with savory sweet sauce, and topped with tasty beef strips! Admittedly, this is one of the great Gyudons I've tried so far.

A Sweet Memory in Chaya Japanese Restaurant
Free dessert to refresh the palate - Green Tea Matcha Ice Cream with Red Beans!
Lastly, a free dessert was served to each of us. It was nothing but a two-spoonful of Green Tea Match Ice Cream with Red Beans. It was delightful, but admittedly bitin!

CHAYA - Overall Ratings and Summary

Note: Unshaded stars are equivalents of half-stars. The ratings apply solely to this dining experience.
Place ★★★ 
Taste  ★★
Service ★★☆ 
Value for Money ★★
Budget: At least P550 per head to enjoy a portion of sashimi, appetizer, salad and main dish (consisting of about 4 foodies)

Chaya was generally okay, but there was nothing significantly special among the dishes that we had. Not unless we failed to order the special ones here. Despite such remark, I admit that the food here is more than decent; however, if you are looking for something different, you may want to re-evaluate your options. Nevertheless, if you are really craving for some Japanese dishes in Baguio, by all means, check this place out!

How about you - do you recommend this place?

CHAYA Contemporary Japanese Cuisine
Location: 72 Legarda Road, Baguio City
Service Charge: None

Store hours: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm daily
Reservations are accepted

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