Many of the complaints about vegan cooking revolve around limited options or dishes that try to mimic (often unsuccessfully) chicken or beef. Cha-Ya suffers from neither of these disadvantages. The vegan Japanese restaurant offers more than 40 original items—none of which feels like it would benefit from the addition of meat. Dishes such as curry udon with vegetables in a hearty broth; stuffed eggplant, tofu and mushrooms with miso-dengaku glaze; and taka-sui—gyoza dumplings with vegetables and noodles in broth—are richly flavored, supremely fresh and satisfyingly filling. The generous sushi menu features creative specialties such as the Cha-Ya Roll, filled with asparagus, avocado, yam and carrots, then lightly battered and fried, tempura style, and topped with a house sauce.
762 Valencia St
|Cross street:||at 19th St|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu noon–2:30pm, 5:30–9:30pm; Fri, Sat noon–3pm, 5–10pm; Sun noon–3pm, 5–9:30pm|
|Transport:||BART to 16th St Mission/bus 14, 33, 49|
|Price:||Main courses: $10–$12|