- Quality: ★★★★ – Delicious!
- Type: Omnivore (but vegan-friendly); European
- Location: Isetan Building, Shinjuku, Tokyo
- Hours: Monday-Sunday, 11am-10pm. Lunch: 11am-4:30 , Dinner: 5pm-10pm (last order at 9:15pm)
- Price: $$$ – Slight Expensive (Lunch Set about ¥2625)
- Website: Restaurant Website, HappyCow Page
- Menu: Click Here
About & Location:
Chaya Macrobiotic (Shinjuku) is one of 3 Chaya Macrobiotic locations throughout Tokyo (Click the following links to see reviews for the Hibiya Location and the Royal Park Hotel Shiodome Location). It is not a strictly vegetarian restaurant, but more of a restaurant focused on healthy, macrobiotic cooking. No eggs or dairy are used in their meals, but fish/seafood are. They are located on the top floor of the Shinjuku Isetan building, a large and expensive shopping center off of the East Exit of Shinjuku station. A Google map can be found on Happy Cow.
Address, Train Access & Contact:
- English: Isetan Department Store, Main Building 7F, 3-14-1 Shinjuku, Tokyo 106-0022
- Japanese: 〒160-0022 東京都新宿区新宿3-14-1 伊勢丹 新宿店 7F
- Train Access: JR Shinjuku Station, East Exit or Kabukicho Exit
- Phone Number: 03-3357-0014
NOTE: Before you order here, please remember: This is NOT a strictly vegan or vegetarian restaurant. They have some dishes that include seafood, so please double-check with the server before ordering!
Chaya Macrobiotic currently ranks as my one of my favorite restaurants in Japan, and also one of my favorites in general. It’s a bit pricy in comparison to the modest cafes that I typically visit, but each time I’ve visited the experience has been well worth the additional money. Usually, even at what I consider a “good” restaurant, I can come with a few reasonable criticisms: the salad has a bit too much dressing, or the main dish is a bit too starch-heavy, or the cake is too dry and crumbly. I haven’t yet been even mildly disappointed by anything at Chaya. I’m not culinary-trained, of course, and I’m sure someone with more expertise could take issue with something – it’s not a Michelin-Star Restaurant. But for an average consumer, I have consistently found the food to be exactly the way that I wanted it to be. It’s clear that whoever developed the dishes experimented tirelessly until they got exactly what they were going for, and their effort shows.
Because of the price tag, I couldn’t visit it nearly as much as I wanted too. However, I got to go 4 times for meals, and several other times just for cake, coffee and tea. The first time, I ordered the lunch set. The “CHAYA Lunch” set is ¥2625, and includes an appetizer, main, drink, and cake. It ended up being such big meal I couldn’t even finish it all. I received a fairly large salad with vegan dressing, followed by a large tomato & mushroom dish (unfortunately, I can’t quite remember what it was called), which was served with a side of bread. I actually had to sheepishly stuff the bread in my bag because there was so much food I couldn’t eat it, but it looked way to good to leave behind.
Then, after dinner, I was served rose herbal tea and a vegan Mont Blanc dessert!
I ended up putting the bread in my purse and taking most of the dessert to go, I just couldn’t eat everything in one sitting! However, the meal was absolutely perfect – nothing was overcooked, or too dry, or too bland. The cake especially was surprisingly amazing – the creamy filling had a bit of a “soy” flavor but it was so beautiful and still tasted very good. I’m not really a baker, and this is the only place I’ve seen that serves such an unusual vegan dessert! That said, it was quite small, so be prepared. It’s definitely meant to be savored.
The next time I went, I simply got tea and their Strawberry Cake, which they appear to have year-round. While the slice itself is, like the other desserts at Chaya, very modestly-sized, it makes up for it with it’s light cream, perfectly spongey cake delicious strawberry flavored icing. It ranks as among the top 3 vegan cakes I’ve ever had.
In October 2013, I went for dinner. I ended up splurging a bit and went for the “Meat”loaf with a mushroom sauce, for about ¥1800. It was absolutely perfect. Not quite as sweet as I remember my grandmother’s meatloaf being, but very hearty and the mushroom sauce used was absolutely delicious. The small sides of steamed vegetables just added to the enjoyment. Sadly my photo doesn’t do it any justice – they employ very gentle lighting at night, which is very romantic but terrible for taking photos with my aging point-and-shoot!
I visited again in February 2014, and got a vegan quiche and vegetable linguine, both of which were, as always, absolutely incredible (but pricey – sadly I can’t remember the exact price).
And I had an opportunity to visit one last time, and get vegetable and soy nugget dish in a creamy sauce.
Chaya Macrobiotic is definitely a bit more upscale than the other restaurants I’ve visited. Most of the places I’ve reviewed are casual cafes who get most of their business during lunch hours. Chaya is located at the top of the Isetan building in Shinjuku. Isetan is a very swanky department store, and so the restaurants in the building are definitely catering to a slightly more well-to-do clientele. The front area has more of a bright “cafe” atmosphere, while the back area (where they generally seat dinner guests or larger parties) is lined with glossy black tables and feels more like an upscale restaurant. I don’t think you necessarily need to come “dressed up,” but you might feel quite out of place if you show up with a backpack, jeans, and flip flops.
As for the service, the staff are attentive and polite. Each time I’ve been to Chaya Macrobiotic (Shinjuku Location), the staff have been incredibly friendly and more than willing to answer questions. They appear to know exactly what veganism is are quite happy to answer questions. I did ask in Japanese, so I’m not quite sure how good their English is. But I’m sure they’ll do their best to be accommodating.