I vaguely remember visiting this little curry restaurant when I first came to Okayama, and I remember that the food was good and the atmosphere pleasant. Nearly 20 years later and nothing has changed; it’s still one of the best curry restaurants in town.
Chaiya’s signature dishes are Indian-style curry and Indonesian-style fried rice, and chai and lassi drinks. You can also get a wide variety of side dishes, salads, and desserts; the menu is a full three pages. My favorite entree is the Coconut Shrimp Curry.
Coconut & Shrimp Curry / Mango Lassi
All entrees come with a serving of yellow rice and a small side salad. The salad vegetables are super-fresh lettuce, a slice of tomato, sliced cucumber, parboiled carrot, and saffron-boiled potato; the dressing is a plain yogurt, which I admit sounds strange, but it actually very good in its simplicity.
Oops! I ate the tomato…
The Indonesian-style Nasi Goreng (friend rice) looks like this:
This dish is my friend’s favorite; I am in love with the Coconut Shrimp Curry, but I will have to try the Nasi Goreng sometime, because it does look really delicious.
For dessert we had a banana fritter and coconut pies, which we shared. Both were good but we agreed that the banana fritter was better.
Banana fritter with yogurt
The restaurant is located on a backstreet near Okayama University; the interior is natural and cozy, and the wood floors and furniture give it a very welcoming feel. There is a good selection of magazines (in Japanese), which is nice for people who want to relax for a while. It was great to rediscover this place (thanks to my friend!) after so many years.
In addition to having lunch / coffee ・chai / dessert, etc, Chaiya offers a small selection of teas, breads, and spices for sale.
Chaiya was recently featured in this local publication, which highlights area restaurants and cafes that have been in business and have been popular / well-loved for more than 30 years (Chaiya has been in business for 36 years, since 1979, in case you were wondering).
+ What I like about this place: Great food, inviting atmosphere, has a “hidey-hole” feel, loads of free parking, loads of menu selections–this makes me want to come back again and try something different next time.
– What I don’t like about this place: no separate areas for smokers & non-smokers, staff could be a bit friendlier.
Address: 岡山市北区津島南1-6-17 / Okayama-shi, Kita-ku Tsushima Minami 1-6-17
Hours: 9:00am～10:30pm; closed Fridays
Dates visited: September 19, 2013 & February 16, 2015