Update June 8, 2016: CHAYA: Still the Best Japanese Restaurant in Baguio! (Revisited 2016)
In my search for the best restaurant in Baguio, I asked Mitos, the Hill Station owner, on where does she eat good food in Baguio. She shared me this secret home-based Japanese place called Chaya.
CHAYA stands for "authentic Japanese cuisine, wholesome food and healthy lifestyle" by CHAYA Chef, Sonoko Taguchi.
I was skeptical at first, but we were blown away by our Chaya experience...
CHAYA is located along Legarda Road in Baguio. You'll see an open gate which leads to a driveway.
It is a Baguio stone-wood house converted into a restaurant.
The main door itself has a lot of character with the door knob in the middle and a large 72 sign.
CHAYA MENU: Appetizer | Salad | Rice Bowl | A La Carte 1 | A La Carte 2 | Hot Pot, Sushi | Sushi, Sashimi | Sashimi, Light Meals, Soup | Sweets | Drinks
It is best to go early at around 11am or in between the peak meal times.
You can reserve this big round table for your family,
... or choose the corner tables for added privacy.
They sell see these cute hand-made bags, blankets and boxes.
They also sell their own Chaya coffee blend and wild honey.
They use a typical home kitchen where they prepare the food fresh after you order.
The meal starts with mini-appetizers of potato salad and vegetables.
✮ LEMON GRASS TEA (P120) served in a tea pot
Start with this refreshing serving of lemon grass tea. Even the tea is yummy :)
✮ KANI SALAD (P280). Harmony of fresh green vegetables with sesame dressing topped with crabsticks, cucumber and ebiko.
Nothing beats fresh Baguio greens and the boy's favorite sauce - sesame dressing, with Japanese Mayo, seaweeds, and fish eggs.
✮ AGEDASHI TOFU (P160). Fried Japanese Silk Tofu served in Dashi Soup base
The tofu was very smooth and clean tasting with just the right sweetness from the Dashi soup.
✮ KATSUDON (P290). Steamed rice topped with tonkatsu, thinly sliced onions, dashi soup, egg seasoned with Japanese ingredients.
The katsudon was also very good, not too commercial in taste, and the flavors are not overpowering. Recommended if you are looking for a good rice toppings specially for the boys.
EBI FRY (P350). Breaded Prawn with a side dish of salad served with tartar sauce
Aidan's favorite - shrimp tempura. But it's a bit expensive considering it's only 5 tiny pieces.
✮ TEMAKI SUSHI (P600). Good for 3-4 Persons. Enjoy rolling your own sushi! Plate of sashimi, crabsticks, egg, cucumber, and cooked shitake to mix your style!
Best of all, you can order a make-your-own sushi and sashimi! The tuna and salmon slices are fresh, vegetables are crisp and juicy, and even the egg and crabsticks taste very good on its own.
They would serve you a sheet of seaweed where you can put your own ingredients with rice. You can put some wasabi, and ginger for added spice :) Add some ebiko (fish roe) to complete your sushi.
One plate was enough for our family of 2 adults and 3 boys and we all enjoyed making our own sushi.
After the meal, they serve you a small portion of green tea ice cream and red mango or strawberry ice cream. It's just the right dessert for a happy ending to a Chaya meal.
✮ CREAM ANMITSU (P150). Sweetened Red Mango and Ice-cream topped with whipped cream.
We ordered the regular serving because the complimentary portion was a bit bitin.
Fruits Parfait (P150). Harmony of Ice Cream, fruits, corn flakes topped with whipped cream.
This was also good with the corn flakes and fresh strawberry mix with the ice cream.
OVERALL, it's one of the best Japanese meal we ever had in Baguio and the homey ambiance makes the experience more memorable.
Make sure to order the Make-your-own Temaki Sushi :) I love that they use the best vegetables from Baguio, and the best ingredients from Japan. Anything that you order in the menu is good (like Kani Salad, Agedashi Tofu, and Katsudon) but not necessarily good value for money (like Ebi Fry).
Budget about P500/head and some cash for shopping :)
Don't forget to make a reservation to ensure you have a table.
72 Legarda Road, Baguio City
Telephone: +(63 74) 424-4726
Mobile: +63 916 4394141
Facebook: Chaya Baguio
Operating Hours: 11.00 am - 9.00 pm, daily
Live an Awesome Life,
P.S. Parking is very limited along the driveway.
P.P.S. They offer a Bed & Breakfast accommodation.
Here's the bedroom with 2 single beds for 2 persons (P1,850/room) + P800 for extra person.
There's a Wi-fi Hotspot in the sala common area.
They have a Hot Water system and option for Laundry service for long staying guests.