Our sentiments lie these days with the protesters on Rothschild Avenue. So naturally when some politicians called them “spoiled nargillasmoking sushi-eating babies,” we decided it was time for us to show our solidarity by returning to one of the best local Japanese restaurants, Kyoto, in the Herzliya Pituah business district.

A few years back, Kyoto was the first to take Israelis’ enthusiasm about sushi a step further, creating a Japanese gourmet-fusion cuisine that appeals to sushi addicts, as well as more Western palates. The everchanging menu offers diverse high-quality Japanese style dishes and many original ones. Kyoto chef Daniel Schalit, who mastered his Asian cooking abilities at the famed Nobo restaurant in New York, creates an incomparable fusion of traditional Japanese cuisine with the unique flavors of Mediterranean cuisine. The superb, unconventional blend of flavors, colors and cultures make Kyoto one of the leading Japanese restaurants in the country.

A recent renovation provided the restaurant with an elegant decor, utilizing Japanese natural materials such as dark wood, bamboo and stone, and dividing the dining area into separate areas – a private VIP room for small parties, intimate seating areas, a main dining area, a bar and an outdoor dining area.

Japanese culture is well known for its hospitality, and we were treated with a fine example of that hospitality by the attentive and knowledgeable staff.

We started our Oriental adventure with a not very Asian cocktail, the strawberry mojito (NIS 39), a red and sweet but delicious version of the Latino cocktail, and a cold noodle salad (NIS 33), followed by samples of the restaurant’s wonderful specials. These included an excellent seared tuna dish with sesame; a tuna tempura dish called the Blue Lagoon tuna; and a plate of new style sashimi that had slices of marinated tuna and salmon in panzo sauce. The specials really capture the essence of Japanese cuisine – light, meticulous, fresh and healthy food that is presented in the most artistic way. We loved all of them.

After a short break and a pot of Japanese green tea, we had the sushi and sashimi combination for two, which really was enough for three (NIS 187). Since we didn’t finish it, the waitress offered to pack a take-away bag.

As we looked around the restaurant, we discovered that as the hours went by, the crowds became younger and hipper, and the music more alive, especially in the vicinity of the vast bar, which seemed to be a popular hangout for the affluent Herzliya youth.

Two desserts that were brought to our table were too tempting to resist. We sampled the tricolored chocolate mousse, which was very pretty and very good. We knew it would be appreciated by chocolate lovers but it was too rich for us, especially after the meal we had. The other dessert, a perfect apple pie with ice cream and berries, was the perfect closing accord for a perfect meal.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

Kyoto Not kosher 7 Arie Shenkar St., Herzliya Tel: (09) 958-7770 Sun-Thur. 12 noon until last customer. Fri - Sat 1 p.m. until last customer. www.kyoto.co.il

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