Aside from Chinese food, Japanese food is also my favorite. I appreciate the subtlety and complexity of its flavors very much. Sadly, I don’t have the budget to fly to Japan to eat the best Japanese food whenever I feel like it—at least not until a lottery winner would freely donate some % of the cash prize to me. 😛 So for now, Tonchaya Japanese Kitchen and Bar トン茶屋 at The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City will do. And it does so pretty well!

Last Sunday during lunch, we were told that stepping into Tonchaya (or Ton’s Kitchen, when translated to English) is about as close as entering an izakaya in Japan. Its design and arrangement are inspired by traditional Japanese drinking establishments where everyone enjoys food and drinks.

When asked about Tonchaya’s specialty, various Japanese food came as reply. Their menu is huge and it includes teishoku sets, bento meals, ramen, sushi, curry rice, teppan, agemono, yakimono, etc. With that much to choose from, I thought it will be inevitable that dish selections here can be hit or miss. Let’s see how it fared on the taste test.

Review of Tonchaya Japanese Kitchen and Bar トン茶屋 (The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City)

Ambiance: ★★★★★

The festive red walls must have said it all. Tonchaya’s ambiance is stimulating and awakening. It isn’t razzle-dazzle but it can be buzzy at peak dining hours of the day. The interior design was tastefully made and the setting looked modern, with touches of Japanese-inspired arts and paintings displayed throughout. I especially liked the accented brick wall with shelves of wine bottles that make the place even more attractive.

Service: ★★★★★

We were warmly welcomed and served by Tonchaya’s polite and courteous service crew. The staff knew what to recommend and how it’s best to introduce dishes with fervor.

Food: ★★★★★

Topped with fresh salmon slices and crisp toasts with wasabi dressing, Tonchaya’s Cruncy Salmon Salad (PhP 295) was pretty hard to go wrong. The salad gave quality fresh lettuce and a dash of seafood sweetness that bounced in each mouthful.

One bite into Tonchaya’s Special Okonomiyaki (PhP 320) got us all nodding with satisfaction. Tagged as Japanese pizza with pork and shrimp with cabbage and eggs, the okonomiyaki had just enough mayonnaise to make it sweet and creamy. We also loved the generous serving of bonito flakes for that added savoriness.

Craving for some hot soup to go with your meal? The Spicy Seafood Ramen (PhP 380), which has a base of spicy soup stock with mixed seafood, is a good choice. I liked that all kinds of seafood in the ramen were fresh and tender with a light lingering taste. The broth was spicy but not to the level that makes you sweat.

If you prefer “rich, salty and porky” and can’t take the heat, a bowl of the Shoyu Chashu Ramen (PhP 350) would do you good. It consisted of soy-based soup stock with slow-cooked tender chashu slices, onsen egg and vegetables. First mouthful got me cringing at the saltiness, but for ramen lovers, this might be a safe bet.

For me, a Japanese meal won’t feel complete without sushi. That’s why having been served with the Spicy Salmon Maki (PhP 280) made my day. Filled with salmon and sprinkled with mayo, it had the perfect level of spiciness and crispiness brought in by the crumbs in between. Yummy! 🙂

Next, we had Beef Teppan (PhP 395) cooked with juicy US beef cubes marinated in teppan sauce and vegetables on the side. Thinly sliced and nicely done, the beef was beautifully tender. It’s great that it didn’t have fatty pieces but lean meat all the way.

Light golden brown in color, another winner was the Ebi Fry (PhP 275, 3 pieces). The shrimp was soft yet it was complimented well with the fried breading on the outside. The tempura was also remarkably greaseless, good to be eaten with rice.

Speaking of rice…the Seafood Gomoku Chahan (PhP 295) came in the right time. It’s Japanese-style stir fried rice with seafood, egg, and mixed vegetables. This chahan seemed somewhat Chinese soy rice, as both has a distinct flavor that’s not strong but still good with a faint sweetness to it.

Lastly, for desserts, we had the Chocolate, Coconut and Strawberry Mochi with Grenadine Sauce. Humble in appearance, the mochi balls were superb! They were delightfully soft and chewy like marshmallows served cold with creamy and silky ice cream fillings taking the center stage within. I want more of these, please! 🙂

Price for Value: ★★★★☆

Because this restaurant sits in The Fort Strip in BGC, my initial assumption was that prices of food are supremely high and possibly will burn a small hole in the pocket. But no, prices, considering the quality and taste of food, excellent service and comfortable seating, are fair. As always, it’s wise to bring a larger company when deciding to dine here so you can try more food and split up the bill as much as possible. 🙂

Tonchaya Japanese Kitchen and Bar will be expanding to more locations soon. There’s no word yet on where exactly the upcoming branches will be placed but immediate plans revealed include bringing its delectable Japanese dishes to the doorsteps of its clientele via a delivery service and catering service for corporate banquets. Wherever they’d be, I’m sure that Tonchaya restaurant branches can be regarded as places where people can decently “eat, drink and have a good time”—just like in a true izakaya.

Fort Bonifacio The Fort Strip, Katipunan Circle, 7th Ave. cor. 26th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Philippines
For inquiries, contact (02) 703 6110
Date Published: 12/19/2014
19 / 20 stars

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60 Responses

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      You’re welcome, Terri! Hope you enjoy dining at Tonchaya, too. The restaurant offers a wide variety of Japanese cuisine and Japanese fusion fare that gives Filipino dishes a unique Japanese twist. Aside from well-known Japanese dishes such as sukiyaki, sushi, sashimi and donburi, its bestsellers include the okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza), crunchy crab maki, kata yakisoba, and the seafood hotpot ramen.

      Reply
  1. mr_jeng

    JAPANESE food is one of my favorite cuisine…. Iingitin kita.. mag JAJAPAN ako next year!! WOHOOOOO! 😀 😀 😀 If i know you could go there anytime you want eh!!! hehehehe Kidding.. anyway, I LOVE how this particular restaurant is actually affordable to think that it is in BGC. I have been looking for a cool Japanese resto in BGC… and I might try this one next time.

    Although, I haven’t seen where this is and I frequent the place almost every other day. What restos / bars are near tonchaya? Hmmm.. definitely my next project hahaha!! see you soon Rok i mean Roch 😀 hehehe JOKE JOKE JOKE.. Have a blessed and Merry Christmas Dear.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha I’m super duper excited for your Japan tour, Jeng! Well, Tonchaya is just near us so it deserves to be visited sooner than your flight. 😛 It’s located at the back portion of the Fort Strip (near Fitness First when inside or Gourdo’s outside). It was also my first time to see this restaurant actually. Tonchaya is developing dishes continually so you really have to check it out! Merry Christmas!

      Reply
  2. Cherri Megasko

    Oh my goodness … now I’m starving! That fresh salmon salad and the ramen look amazing! Japanese cuisine is also one of my favorites – I think I could live on sushi, sashimi and ramen. Now I guess it’s off to the kitchen to make up a bowl of ramen for myself!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Anything with salmon makes me drool, and these two dishes featured above are no exception. 🙂 Yeah, you can absolutely living eating just Japanese food though of course trying out other cuisines is great from time to time. A bowl of ramen feels comforting!

      Reply
  3. Anne Younger

    I haven’t had a lot of Japanese food, sadly the extent of my knowledge is what I’ve eating at a local hibachi place here in Green Bay. I do have to say, I tried quite a few things I’ve never tried before and seeing these dishes makes me want to try more. Looks like I will have to find a good Japanese restaurant near us.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I feel lucky that there are several great Japanese restaurants that are near our place so we can just walk a few steps or drive a couple of minutes to reach those delicious food. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Sara

    I love Japanese food! I don’t do sushi but I love just about everything else you can find on the menu. I worked in Japan for a few weeks and had the opportunity to try many dishes. This restaurant looks fantastic, I’m going to have to find some Japanese for dinner tonight!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I rarely encounter people who dislike eating sushi above all Japanese food. Maybe it’s because of the raw fish on top? 🙂 Anyway, it’s great that you had that opportunity to work and live a few weeks there! I would be overjoyed if I were also given the chance to relocate to Japan even for half a year at most.

      Reply
  5. Natalie

    I LOVE Japanese food! From sushi to ramen and everything in between, I could eat Japanese food every single day and be delighted about it! Sadly, I’m allergic to shellfish, so I have to be VERY carefully about what goes into my sushi and stirfrys, but I’ve found that most chefs are very accommodating. This looks like an amazing place, and if I’m ever near, I’ll definitely stop by! 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Ohh having food allergies especially when the food you’re allergic is something tasty and fine is such bad news. Well, the good news is that there’s more to Japanese food than sushi and shellfish! Absolutely, drop by at Tonchaya anytime they’re open. That’s until after midnight on weekends for its guests to enjoy their signature shochu and sake-based Japanese cocktail drinks. 😀

      Reply
  6. Leon Bailey

    I can honestly say that I have never seen salmon used like that on a dish. Interesting indeed! I like the colorful look of the restaurant and the wooden structures on the wall. Makes for a unique look!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I’m glad that you noticed the wooden structures there. The whole place looked very clean and welcoming. You should try both the Crunchy Salmon Salad and the Spicy Salmon Maki! They have interesting textures and flavors that are worth exploring.

      Reply
  7. MollyMia

    everything looks so yummy! the spicy seafood ramen reminds me of kimchi jjigae though. hahaha! and those daifuku mochi, i’ll love to gobble them down! Ramen and mochi are the 2 japanese food I love alot!

    Reply
  8. Michelle Hwee

    This looks so good! I love Japanese food 🙂 The restaurant looks pretty and overall a nice vibe. My fave foods from your pictures would probably be the tempura and the ramen 🙂 I absolutely love it together or separately! Thanks for sharing, makes me hungry:)

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      You’re welcome! Those two are never out of my order list whenever we dine in a Japanese restaurant. Tonchaya’s dishes are fairly priced and totally worth it, so we’ll definitely go back. 😀

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thanks, Shilpa! You’re like my dad. When we eat out in Japanese restaurants, usually we just ask for the chef or the staff to remove all meat from the agedashi tofu dish. He can also have the salad without meat or seafood and chahan. 🙂 We’re fortunate that most restaurants comply without a problem at no additional cost.

      Reply
  9. Keneth

    The ambience in this restaurant is just pleasing and well represents the culture it serves. Those dishes look delicious tho, too bad I can’t go binge eating various Japanese dishes because of my Shrimp allergy.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Having food allergies is a pain as it only makes eating out more difficult. I have friends who also are allergic to shrimps as well. It’s either they ignore it (and just take medicine afterwards) or follow the doctor’s advice (which is hard if the shrimp dish looks so tempting). 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      You’re welcome, Akinlonu! I believe that we all have the urge to have Japanese food and nothing satisfies us until we get it. When that happens, at least now you know that you can count on Tonchaya Japanese Kitchen and Bar. 😉

      Reply
  10. Myrabev

    I can not honestly say i have had japanese food before, i have had korea, chinese, indian, carribean, african and usual western food but i can not remember ever eating japanese food and i see i have been missing out a lot. like you i can not travel to japan just yet to eat there amazing food so i need to start searching the uk for a close enough restuarant serving of these delicious foods.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup, better do that soon. Check out online sites that recommend the nearest Japanese restaurants that have plenty of raves. This time, make sure that you will have the best tasting Japanese food that you won’t forget. 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yeah all these we had were yummy. If you want to get excellent ramen though, I suggest that you go to ramen houses that specialize in only ramen since the quality and taste evidently are far more superior there. Here in Tonchaya, you can nonetheless try out everything and be satisfied. 😀

      Reply
  11. Ronni

    Growing up in Chicago, we always had some of the best foodie places to chose from. Now, living in Vegas we have a few world class places if you head towards The Strip, but being in the ‘burbs not so much. I’d really love a bowl of that spicy ramen. I miss eating true authentic foods like that.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh yes, thanks for reminding me about authenticity. Here’s a short story: The owner of Tonchaya, Agnes Abad, was inspired by the Japanese dishes her friend, Satchi Kojima, wife of a Japanese expatriate, would prepare herself and serve at home. Under the strict supervision of Kojima, Abad and her sons created a menu of Japanese dishes like ramen, salads and other modern Tokyo standard dishes, including Japanese steaks. That was how Tonchaya came to be. 🙂 Thus, you’d know that the Japanese food being served here indeed taste authentic!

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      You’ll have a good time here, I’m sure, as there’s a lot of pretty items on the menu. For instance, a variety of rolls expands your options, and bento boxes are available if you want to ease the decision-making process. Sushi is definitely the draw, but you’ll also find tempura dishes and other cooked entrees enticing. 🙂

      Reply
  12. eri

    I would say that I am not really fan of janapese food but the food in the pictures you took looks great. So something is telling me that I should give it a try again!

    Reply
  13. Stephanie

    All the food sounds amazing and the presentation is very well done! I love going to Japanese restaurants, they are so serene, and the food is such a nice diversion from the rich and heavy American food. I’m thinking of the dinner we had last night, while it was a great burger, I regret it this morning. I never regret Japanese food.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I also feel good when eating Japanese food and feeling full after and this is different when I eat Western food. Maybe it’s in our thinking that Japanese food are generally healthier as the ingredients used consist largely of fresh and raw vegetables and seafood. 🙂

      Reply
  14. Louise

    It makes me wonder sometimes why there seems to be an increasing number of Japanese food in the country. Is it because there are more Japanese or because most Pinoys are not into eating foreign food?

    Anyway, I’m not a fan of Japanese food but they did look very delicious on the photos.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Wow, good question! Thanks for raising that up, Louise. I actually don’t know the answer but I guess that it’s because more people feel that introducing foreign cuisine to our taste buds is good and that the locals now are more welcoming of other delicacies and dishes from other countries than Filipino food alone. It’s great to have a variety of options when dining out, especially if one is eating in restaurants every day. 😀

      Reply
  15. phyliciamarie

    That maki looks so delicious! I always pass by this resto in High Street and always find the interiors cute, but never had the chance to dine in it. I may get to try next time. 🙂

    Reply
  16. Vanessa Ally

    This place must be amazing, indeed, cause it got 5 starts in all of your charts, moreover, I love traditional Japanese drinking establishments. The love for food and drinks is truly appreciated there. The dishes seem mouthwatering!

    Reply
  17. Eliz Frank

    The spicy salmon looks really delicious… All the dishes were nicely plated and looked fresh. Yum.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup, order the spicy salmon maki alone and your tummy might already be full. It’s so delicious that you can finish everything in one sitting by yourself. 🙂

      Reply
  18. Fi Ní Neachtáin

    The decor of this restaurant and bar looks amazing, such a great place to go and eat and enjoy a drink. The tattoo style drawings on the walls are great, it gives it such a unique stamp. I’ve never had Japanese food before but I love how it’s been presented, it looks really delicious! I know my fiance would love to try Japanese food one day.

    Reply
  19. Raymond Vasquez

    I am a fan of Ramen. 🙂 Not much with sushi and sashimi. 🙂 I’ve had a chance to taste several sushi menu but didn’t enjoy it that much. Ramen was my type. So I take it, this is quite expensive? You gave the food and the service 5 stars but only 4 stars for price for value? hehe I must say though the ambiance is close to a real Japan scene set-up.

    Well, this is still something I might visit as I go to BGC. 😀

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Sushi and sashimi for me almost taste the same in every restaurant I visit. The difference is only in a matter of freshness and variety of ingredients in the rice roll. Ramen, on the other hand, is something that brings flavors spot on. It’s awesome that by changing the noodles, the broth, veggies/meat and spices in one bowl, the different variations of ramen from every ramen house come out. I like that people get excited when they try out ramen flavors, compare and voice out which ones are best. 🙂

      Reply

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