La Chaya Bistro

Twin Cities, Minnesota


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rating star

The service was excellent - the owner/chef talked to us for a long time to tell us what was vegan on the menu, and what he could otherwise make. The food tasted good, but much of it was bland. The serving portions were small, and the prices were reasonable.

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rating star

I liked La Chaya but I think it has room to improve. The atmosphere is chic and romantic without being pretentious or intimidating. This is a good place to take a date though the restaurant seems to attract a slightly older crowd, for your information.

The service was extremely friendly and the chef/co-owner, Juan Juarez Garcia, came to talk to us extensively about what he could make vegan. I truly appreciated his attention and dedication. A few dishes on the menu were already vegan but Mr. Garcia was happy to make something from scratch (though he said it would take longer, and the dishes he thought he could make impromptu sounded a bit pedestrian).

We enjoyed the oyster mushroom appetizer which was cooked with a wonderful Mexican chili and roasted garlic. It came with grilled soft bread and the combination went well together, with an array of textures and flavors (soft, crisp, chewy, spicy, savory).

The penne pasta with wild mushrooms was tasty but seemed too slight and not very filling. It was also pricey at $14. The special salad we got, an avocado-tomato salsa atop a piece of grilled bread, was artfully presented but seemed a bit bland. Finally, our kiwi berry sorbet was quite good---it was refreshing with a subtle sweetness and fruit flavor along with the wonderful presence of tiny, crunchy berry seeds. One final option vegans might consider is the potato pizza, which we didn't get, but is easily made vegan sans cheese.

In conclusion, I liked the atmosphere and attentive, caring service. I like that they use mostly organic ingredients. Some of the food was excellent, but some seemed bland, and a tad expensive. I think La Chaya could stand to diversify its menu and add some bolder, spicier options; for a Mexican-Mediterranean fusion bistro, the flavors here generally seemed to fall short of the ideal produced of such a mixture. It was almost as if the chef were holding back the full potential of such a wonderful combination.

For vegans and vegetarians the joint could use a tofu or seitan dish.

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