Main Street is my jam. It’s my go to for entertaining non-Westsiders for food and weekend festivities, as well as home to my all time favorite vegan restaurant Vardo. One of Main Street’s staples is Chaya Venice, upscale Japanese-French fusion from exec chef Shigefumi Tachibe. Chef Tachibe is the creator of M Cafe, a macrobiotic vegan staple in LA. Although Chaya Venice is far from vegan, they have some lovely veganizable dishes and a killer vegan entrée I’ve been dying to try. This weekend whilst in the area, my friend Griffin and I were trying to decide where to eat and Chaya perfectly fit the bill. I’m vegan, he’s not, and Chaya delivers for meat eaters and vegans alike.
110 Navy St
Venice, CA 90293
Located on a happenin block of Main St. (right down the street from Vardo
to be exact), Chaya Venice is in the perfect spot for a girls night out, date night, or “sceeney” expereince on the weekend. Chaya’s interior is super sexy and swank,with huge chandeliers and low lighting.
We were seated immediately and our waiter was knowledgable and prompt. Bread and olive tapenade was brought to our table with in seconds and being the famished vegan I was, I dug in.
After we devoured the bread and delish tapenade, the waiter quickly returned to take our orders. I ordered their one vegan entrée, which made choosing pretty easy. FYI they have a vegan daily soup as well as vegan or veganizable apps, so fear not of being boxed into only one menu item. We also ordered two veggie sides to share.
Our food came out so fast I was shocked. The restaurant was packed and yet we got our food in like 15 minutes TOPS. Cray cray.
My entrée was gorgeously presented. It seriously looked like art.
Grilled Organic Tempeh - Curried Coconut Lentils, Kale, Sweet Potato (although it was mashed potatoes and NOT sweet)
Although the menu stated this entrée came with sweet potatoes, mine was served with traditional mashed. However, once I took a bite I was thrilled with this mix up, cause those mashed potatoes were insane. OMG this whole order was BOMBBBBB. The curried coconut lentils were unbelievable and def my favorite part of this dish. The sauce engulfing the green lentils was perfectly spiced and super creamy with a hint of heat. The mashed potatoes, kale and tempeh were stacked on top of the lentils with charred onions topping it all off. The mashed potatoes were some of the best vegan mashed potatoes I have ever eaten. The kale was tender, modestly seasoned and super tasty with no hint of bitterness. The tempeh was a tad dry but really deliciously seasoned, and when I had it with every other ingredient on the plate it was STOOOOPID good. You can’t fuck up onions so clearly those were great too. Loved this dish and loved that it was incredibly nutrient dense, balanced and filling. I would 100% order this again. I would claim “must order” but it also is the “only order”, so there’s that.
We also ordered grilled asparagus and steamed veggies to share.
Nothing too crazy to report with these sides. Both straight forward, minimally seasoned and clearly, I love veggies. The steamed mixed vegetables were served completely plain so if you’re not into that )or at least dipping in your entree’s sauce) I’d ask for some dressing on the side. The asparagus wasn’t overly oily and lightly salted. Yum.
Although this restaurant is pricey, the ambiance, service and quality of food make it totally worth it. Loved everything about my dining experience and would totally go back with non-vegans again. Chaya is a great option for eaters of all backgrounds looking for an upscale, and dare I say trendy, spot. Give Chaya a try-ya (omg who am I…)
Your Vegan Girlfriend