The top five sushi restuarants in JerusalemSushi is thought by some to have been the original fast food, a quick bite of rolled up rice, vegetables and/or fish to sate your appetite after fighting off some samurais before heading to the Kabuki theater
Sushi is thought by some to have been the original fast food, a quick bite of rolled up rice, vegetables and/or fish to sate your appetite after fighting off some samurais before heading to the Kabuki theater. As the food has made its way west to Israel starting in the 1990s - following the palette trends of the West, of course - it has taken on many more forms, but maki rolls have retained their round trademark shapes, for the most part.
Today there's more than a handful of places in Jerusalem that offer sushi, clustered for the most part around the sushi Mecca - er, Tokyo - of the German Colony, which has seen an explosion of all things culinary and especially Asian in the last decade, but many Jerusalem sushi bars are based downtown as well. Some restaurants are fancier, some faster and some use ingredients that would make their foods unrecognizable to anybody in the Ginza district.
Jerusalem is landlocked, after all, and the local chefs' affinity for "fusion cuisine" sometimes runs amok, but it you eat at any of these, the best sushi joints in Jerusalem, you're likely to walk away satisfied.
The Sushi Rechavia mini-chain is the Goldilocks of Jerusalem Japanese restaurants. Without being too expensive or too skeezy, too out there or too cookie cutter, Sushi Rechavia has found a niche with some fine sushi that you could write home about but probably won't. Perhaps that's why the restaurant has proven so popular, sprouting three locations around town and offering deliveries. They do classic rolls like California and salmon well but aren't afraid to experiment a bit with interesting fish and vegetable choices.
Nicely ensconced at the top of the sushi food chain is Emek Refaim's RYU, an upscale joint serving the best of what Asians do best. But the restaurant really shines with its sushi rolls, many of which are playful Mediterranean riffs on the classic Japanese dish. Sesame asparagus roll? Why not!
Along the same lines and just down the street is Taiku, which offers a local twist on much of its sushi as well as the standard rolls. Offerings include smoked salmon (lox) sushi and mango sushi. For those who can't get enough of vinegar-laden rice, on Wednesdays and Fridays, Taiku opens its doors to Jerusalem's wasabi-ed elite with its 69 NIS all-you-can-eat sushi special.
The cultural distance between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is for some even wider than that between Jerusalem and Japan. But bridging both those gaps is sushi house Japanika, a stalwart of Tel Aviv's Asian food scene that made the leap to Jerusalem in 2008. The sushi bar was enough of a hit in the Tel Aviv to inspire over a dozen locations in that city and its environs, and its entrance into Jerusalem lends the restaurant an air of international cosmopolitan credibility.
It's impossible to mention sushi in Israel or Jerusalem without mentioning Sakura, the original Tokyo rose, or cherry blossom, in town. Predating the German Colony sushi explosion, the Japanese restaurant is located in the upscale environs of the Feingold Courtyard in the city center. The restaurant offers Japanese food from all over the island nation, but it's clear that sushi is king. And while the rolls may put a dent in your wallet, the quality is well worth it, with even the New York Times hailing the joint as the best in Israel.
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