Happy Hour at Chaya Downtown

My best bud and I are always on the hunt for a good happy hour. If a restaurant offers discount cocktails and cheap bites during their early evening hours we want to check it out. We’ve traveled all over LA and Orange counties seeking them out and it’s been a lot of fun. Recently, we were invited to try out the happy hour at the downtown LA location of Chaya and we eagerly headed on over.

Chaya’s downtown location is on Flower in the City National Plaza just across from the central library. Catering to the business crowd it offers an upscale menu of Japanese fusion cuisine and Monday – Friday from 4 – close they have a special happy hour menu with a wide variety of small plates and drink specials.

Happy hour isn’t happy without booze so we started out with a couple of house favorites. I opted for the Bahama Mama a tasty tropical combination of coconut rum, pineapple, orange juice and sweet and sour. It was a flavorful fruity concoction that I really enjoyed. My friend opted for the Açaí Mojito made with Veev açaí liqueur, mint, sweet & sour and seltzer water. Already a fan of Veev he was smitten with this cocktail. I was lucky enough to sneak a drink and it was refreshingly tasty.

On the food side Chaya offers a selection of $5 happy hour bites and an array of small plates. We opted for a selection of both starting with the $5 bites. A true standout was the Aonori Potato Fries served with a side of spicy aioli. Fresh and crispy they were well seasoned with an herb blend. Topped with the aioli they were absolutely delicious and we both loved them.

I also loved the Chicken Karaage with a chili miso sauce. For $5 we were given an abundance of chicken which was freshly fried in a tempura coating. Paired with the sauce I really enjoyed it though my friend was a little underwhelmed.

We moved onto the small plates and had to try the restaurant’s newest menu item Crispy Tempura Roll. We received a plate of spicy tuna rolls dipped in tempura and lightly fried. Neither of us had tried fried sushi and we both absolutely loved it. The tempura was light and crispy and turned the rolls into perfect bite sized snacks.

Another new menu item is the Maine Lobster & Shrimp Ravioli. Topped with bright pesto sauce the pasta is truly indulgent. We were both shocked to find large chunks of lobster in each ravioli and agreed it was one of the fanciest happy hour dishes we’ve had.

Our very, very favorite dish of the night was the Baked Baby Hokkaido Scallops with Garlic Butter. Wow. Just wow. Actually, take another look.

Each morsel was a melt in your mouth heavenly bite of garlic buttery goodness. Our wonderful server, Tess, brought us a plate of fresh baked bread and suggested we dip it in the sauce. WOW. it was so, so good. We took turns sopping up every last bit of the garlic butter sauce and it was absolutely wonderful.

Chaya Downtown is a great spot for a delicious happy hour. With a fine selection of drinks and some truly wonderful dishes I can’t wait to go back.

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