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“Truly authentic Japanese food in Pittsburgh. What a treat!”

Chaya Japanese Cuisine
Ranked #363 of 2,178 Restaurants in Pittsburgh
Price range: US$1 - US$20
Cuisines: Japanese
Neighbourhood: Squirrel Hill South
Restaurant details
Neighbourhood: Squirrel Hill South
Cape May Beach
Level 6 Contributor
520 reviews
294 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 212 helpful votes
“Truly authentic Japanese food in Pittsburgh. What a treat!”
Reviewed 30 October 2011

I was in Pittsburgh on business and chose two Japanese restaurants that sounded good according to reviews. Before I give my review I just want to talk about reviews I have read. Most bad reviews seem to be about expense. Most good reviews are about really good food. I was looking for good Japanese comfort food including good sushi. The menu I found on line had some of my favorites such as shishamo, ika natto, maguro no yamakake, moro-Q, so I knew this was a Japanese run restaurant. I only had the chance to go to one and this was a gem. I understand they recently moved to a larger space. It was still full – a good sign. It is BYOB and the odd part there was a charge of $2 to rent an empty glass for sake or beer and $4.50 to rent an ice bucket. I had never seen this anywhere and considered it odd. Since my total bill was well over $200 just for food, these rental fees were a bit annoying. The only other “bad” thing may be just a personal opinion. There was a slight odor of grease in the air from fryers, which is still on my clothes and jacket this morning. I don’t like that, but it has nothing to do with whether the food is good or not. I think they need some different ventilation.
The service was also great - very attentive and helpful. They all worked as a team, so several came by to see if we needed anything or to make suggestions.
Finally, the food was excellent, just as I remember from all of my trips to Japan. The uni was truly fresh and was either California or Japan imported, since it was so sweet. They didn’t have another favorite (ika shiokara), but had a similar dish using baby (3”) whole squid. Just as delicious! The nigiri rice was perfectly formed and the nigiri were the correct/perfect size and all the fish was very delicious. The sauces were perfect (Japanese style to enhance flavors – not overpowering to hide flavors as is found in so many lesser quality restaurants). The hamachi kama was also wonderful. Even the wasabi was real wasabi, not the powdered kind. That was a real treat. If I really like a place I would try to sit at the sushi bar next and the sushi chef appears to have lots of personality. That also means the sushi bar was totally full. Perhaps I’ll have a chance next visit. If I am back in Pittsburgh, you can be sure I will go there again!

  • Visited October 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank DonCapeMayBeach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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46 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    23
    15
    4
    2
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 4 Contributor
16 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Good food, expensive”
Reviewed 22 May 2011

The restaurant served really good Japanese food despite being somewhat pricey. There was a notice posted in the restaurant which says: "Prices subject to change according to customer's attitude". I don't know if they're actually serious about this.

  • Visited May 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank NatJyo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pittsburgh
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Amazing Japanese food! FYI: moved just down the street.”
Reviewed 21 December 2009

I ate at Chaya back when it was at 2104 Murray, but it's moved just down the street and is now next door to Pinsker's Judaica. (up the hill, about a block from the original location) Great move, too: now they actually have space to have a decent-sized restaurant, whereas the original was TINY!

Sushi was amazing, service was attentive, green tea (like everything else) was fresh. Will definitely be back.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Helpful?
Thank selkirk27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, PA
1 review
“very good food, but a bit crowded”
Reviewed 25 August 2009

Of course, they're crowded because the food's very good. A tad on the expensive side, but definitely worth the money. The service isn't incredible (because they're busy, not because they're lazy), and there might be a wait, but I would absolutely recommend this place for some hella good japanese food.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank garthaginian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
“Yummy chicken katsu, nice atmosphere.”
Reviewed 25 March 2009

Yummy chicken katsu, nice atmosphere.

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This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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