Sakura Japanese restaurant_521.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Walk into Sakura in Jerusalem most days of the week, and you are bound to see
Japanese tourists having lunch or dinner. For me that’s a good sign but not
Sakura opened in Jerusalem 18 years ago as an answer to a
need. The owner, Boaz Zairi, who first embarked on his culinary journey
at a small sushi bar in Japan, worked with his Japanese-born wife as guides for
Japanese tourists in Israel (she still is). They were asked to help find boxed
lunch solutions. Zairi became an expert, Sakura evolved from tourist and
Japan-affiliated clientele to a favorite with locals, and today both branches –
one in Tel Aviv and one in Jerusalem – are considered among the best Japanese
restaurants in Israel.
We went to Sakura Tel Aviv on a mid-week evening.
This is a very informal place. Sushi lovers go there for the excellent food and
relaxed atmosphere. On the evening we were there, most of the tables were
occupied by young people. Some had just finished shopping at the nearby
Dizengoff Center, and some seemed to have come from work.
After a drink
of choya, (NIS 20), the sweet Japanese plum wine that comes in a small flask
with the plum inside, we ordered two salads to munch on while debating which
fish to have in our sushi. The ada mama (soy bean) salad (NIS 15) is a perfect
munching food, and the Hijiki seaweed salad with almonds and Ponzu sauce was
We were also offered a taste of a carpaccio dish made from
white fish with a sweet-sour wasabi dressing. To my taste, it was more of a
seviche than carpaccio and not quite Japanese but very tasty
After much deliberation, we decided to stick with what we
love – sushi and sashimi. There are many other dishes on the menu, including
noodle dishes, tempura and others, but we chose a sushi-sashimi combination for
two (NIS 129), which was very fresh, tasty, satisfying and pretty to look at.
With our meal, we drank Japanese green tea and hot sake (NIS 24).
has been a leader among Japanese restaurants in Israel and has been rated as the
best Japanese restaurants many times. It’s not the newest kid on the block, but
it is definitely still a great sushi haven.The writer was a guest of the
Sakura, Not kosher. 79 King George St. Tel Avi (03)
525-0486, 31 Jaffa Road, Jerusalem (02) 625-3464