Regardless, Tonkatsuya is probably the closest thing to "authentic," as far as tonkatsu restaurants in the Philippines are concerned. Owned by Japanese chef Hosoya, who's made tonkatsu for 30 years in his native country, Tonkatsuya currently has three branches, all of which are in Makati. You can get more information on those at the bottom of this post, but in the meantime, let's get on with the review.
The Tonkatsuya branch we visited was at the Palm Tower. Since it's in the lower ground floor, you'll have to ask the guard at the entrance where it is, because it's a bit difficult to spot from the outside.
Once you're inside, Tonkatsuya is exactly what you'd expect of a hole-in-the wall establishment. It's quite small, and can probably accommodate up to 20 people at most. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though: The fewer the patrons, the more attention a chef can give to each and every one of them.
Also, Tonkatsuya will make you feel like you're in an actual restaurant in Japan, rather than a Japanese restaurant in the Philippines. You can see a noren on top of the counter, as well as Japanese ornaments all around, like ningyo and daruma dolls. There are also a couple of shelves for reading materials, in case you get impatient waiting for your order.
Before you get your actual orders, you'll be given a complementary glass of cold tea.
For our main course, we had one katsudon, or deep-fried pork cutlet over rice.
Meanwhile, we had the gyoza (a.k.a. "dumplings" and "potstickers") for our side dish.
If the dishes we tried are any indication, we can't wait to see what the rest of their menu is like. Granted, their offerings are limited compared to similar restaurants around Metro Manila, but quality trumps quantity as far as this place is concerned.
You know how Japanese staff greet their patrons "Irasshamase"? Yes, they also do that here. Lucky for non-Japanese, the staff are Filipino, so you can converse with them in English or Tagalog depending on what's comfortable for you.
Also, once your food is served, you'll notice that they'll append your order's name with the polite suffix "desu." For example, if you order katsudon, they'll say "katsudon-desu," which almost sounds like "kats-don-dess" given a Japanese accent.
After you're done, and you're about to leave the place, they'll say "Arigatou gozaimasu! (Thank you very much!)" Considering the high quality of service we received, this is a place we'll come back to.
Overall, we highly recommend this tonkatsu restaurant in Makati. Whether their dishes are truly "authentic" or not, Tonkatsuya is a great place to grab Japanese comfort food for the rainy days. If you won't take our word for it, give this joint a visit, and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Address: G/F Acrocity Builiding, 1116 Antipolo St., Barangay Poblacion, Makati City
Opening Hours: 10:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M. (Monday – Sunday)
Telephone Number(s): (+63 2) 556-9446
Mobile Number(s): (+63) 936-957-4741
Address: L/G Palm Tower B, Saint Paul St., San Antonio Village, Makati City
Opening Hours: 10:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M. (Monday – Sunday)
Telephone Number(s): (+63 2) 896-1990
Mobile Number(s): (+63) 906-541-1458
Address: 2/F Creekside Buildiing, Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City
Opening Hours: 10:00 A.M. – 9:45 P.M. (Monday – Saturday), 10:00 A.M. – 8:30 P.M. (Sunday)
Telephone Number(s): (+63 2) 856-0299