336 – On The Tenya Experience

I’ve extensively touched on Japanese restaurant Tenya in earlier posts (one from April 2019, another from July 2020, and another from December 2020) here on The Monching’s Guide.

Similar to the earlier Tendon Kohaku I previously wrote about, Tenya specializes in tendon or tempura donburi. Tenya serves as an alternative restaurant on days when I’m too lazy to pay Tendon Kohaku a visit.

Dubbed as “the most successful tendon restaurant chain in Japan”, Tenya made it to the Philippines thanks to the RACKS Group. The Japanese chain is the first foray of the home-grown RACKS Group – well-known for its ribs and accompanying barbecue sauce – into bringing an overseas restaurant franchise here. Incidentally, this branch of Tenya at the Tiendesitas commercial complex in Pasig City has a RACKS branch near it!

I had been frequenting Tenya at its Tiendesitas branch since 2019 because it was conveniently located some distance from my office. Even though the restaurant has a reputation of being “expensive,” I found that its menu items were surprisingly budget-friendly. Tendon Kohaku falls more under the category of “expensive” – in my honest opinion.

Despite the different dates of my visits to Tenya, there had always been one thing in common: My order of the restaurant’s large All-Star Tendon Bowl (P405). The All-Star Tendon Bowl is made up of batter-fried vegetables and seafood on top of rice with a drizzle of tempura sauce. The tempura pieces include ebi (black tiger prawn), kani (imitation crab stick), salmon, squid, green beans and shimeji mushroom.

All tendon bowls at Tenya come with free miso (fermented soybean paste) soup, and this bowl was no exception. I liked how the soup cut through the overwhelming umami (savory) taste of the tempura pieces. Its warmth also whetted my appetite throughout the duration of my meal.

While I did enjoy my tendon bowl, I found that the squid and green beans easily got “naked” – that is, the batter easily fell off. I also noticed that Tenya scrimped on the sauce? The last time I dined, the tempura pieces were saturated with the signature tare sauce. I guess the food shortages also took a toll on the Japanese restaurant to the point that they have to ration ingredients.

Thankfully, I ordered two of Tenya‘s side dishes to brighten up my tare sauce-deficient meal. The Agedashi Tofu (P95) consists of batter-fried tofu cubes in a soy-based broth. Meanwhile, the Chuka Wakame (P95) is made up of wakame seaweed with Japanese rice vinegar, sesame seeds, and shrimp roe. How did the two side dishes fare?

I found the Agedashi Tofu rather bland, with the soy-based broth tasting too watery and rendering the tofu coating soggy. Fortunately, the tofu’s protein managed to offset this disappointing taste. On the other hand, the Chuka Wakame seaweed served as the runaway favorite. The chewy and sweet wakame, coupled with the shrimp roe for texture, served to cut the tendon bowl’s savory taste.

Of course, one does not visit Tenya without trying its take on Japanese coffee. The establishment carries Key Coffee, a coffee purveyor from the Land of the Rising Sun with more than a century of history. I managed to try Tenya‘s Iced Coffee back in 2019, which was served in the style of UCC Coffee‘s Kori Kohi – coffee frozen into ice cubes with accompanying hot milk. Unfortunately, the cold version was unavailable during my visit.

I instead tried the hot version called Drip Coffee (P50), which was more affordable than the iced counterpart. It also aligned with my habit of drinking coffee after meals as a sort of digestive. Tenya used a pour-over coffee bag that goes on top of a mug, after which hot water can be poured in.

While the Drip Coffee was good for just one cup, I managed to stretch it to three. This would have been good with the different desserts Tenya offers, but I was already full at that point.

Aside from the All-Star Tendon Bowl, Tenya also offers limited-edition specialties that correspond with the change of seasons in Japan. The restaurant also offers a buy one, take one promotion on some meals every 10th day of the month – the so-called “Ten-ya Day” promos.

As for me, I’d definitely return to Tenya – but not sometime soon.

Visit Tenya Philippines on Facebook and Instagram to stay abreast with its latest promotions.

Until the next post, bon appetit!

G/F Building B, Tiendesitas,
Ortigas East, E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue,
Brgy. Ugong, Pasig City 1604


17 thoughts on “336 – On The Tenya Experience

  1. Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences about Tenya. 🙏
    I especially like the idea of preparing your coffee at your table. That sounds very interesting as you can choose the coffee/water ratio yourself 😊👍

  2. I haven’t had a tendon in a while – after reading your post and viewing your images, I think maybe it’s time. My go-to tendon place is tucked in a corner coffee shop in a housing estate, started & chefed by a Japanese sensei. Affordable prices for great food.

  3. Oh wow I didn’t know Philippines got tenya!! I used to go to tenya a lot when I was in japan, and I miss their crunchy yummy tendon so much😋

    Thank you for telling us what veggies and seafood they use for their bowl! Sounds like what kind of “neta” they use looks very different from the one I tried in Japan. I never had salmon tempura but looks so tempting😍

    • Great to hear that my post evoked memories of the place in you! 😁 My order was a mainstay in the menu, but Tenya here offers seasonal items — right now, it’s milkfish.

      It also recently opened an “express” style restaurant at a major mall here, to much celebration! 🎉

  4. It sounds so exciting to eat the kind of food you have access to. It’s really nice how you describe how and what the different dishes tastes, and feel like, because otherwise I would have no idea what you were writing about. It’s a whole other food world here in Norway 😅 Good job!

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