Keen on Yakimono

For some of the best sushi in the country (and kosher!), head south to Eilat.

Yakimono kosher sushi restaurant at Royal Beach, Eilat  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Yakimono kosher sushi restaurant at Royal Beach, Eilat
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In Eilat, with its crowded marinas, beaches and boardwalks, tourism is going strong. And to cater to visitors, there is a plethora of activities to fill the sparkling, sunny days.
At night there is a more limited selection, but.if you want a real Japanese experience on a romantic evening, stroll down the North Beach boardwalk, where Yakimono is your best bet. Part of the Royal Beach Hotel, Yakimono has won the Gomio award as one of the leading restaurants in Israel.
Eating at Yakimono is a great experience. The menu is filled with page after page of heavenly, tantalizing pictures that will make diners order with their eyes and not their wallets.
As a lifelong sushi eater I have been to many sushi restaurants, both kosher and non-kosher, and Yakimono, which is kosher, stands with the best. I love the huge variety of special rolls (shake furai, teri sakana, for example), the tasty sauces and healthy options like the hot seaweed salad.
The decor is whimsical and classy at the same time. This would be a great place to go with a group of friends or have a perfect date night. The waiters are attentive, and the sushi chefs are enthusiastic. For owner Avi Cohen, it is very important that Yakimono be seen as a restaurant that the whole family can enjoy.
A friend once told me that the way she knows she has eaten good sushi is if the meal leaves her with a healthy, clean feeling.
That was exactly the way I felt about the selection of sashimi, which was painstakingly presented on ice and decorated with lemon, ginger flowers. These dishes, consisting of salmon, red tuna and yellowtail, were appealing in color and presentation. Each ingredient spoke for itself, enhanced by a light sprinkling of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil I don’t claim to be a Chinese dumpling expert, so I don’t know what is more traditional, but I much prefer Yakimono’s style of dumpling to something that tries to pass itself off as delicate but in reality just falls apart into a big, unappetizing mess. To me, a thicker skin combined with the generous filling at Yakimono is the perfect ratio of outside to inside.
The spinach dumplings showcased the highlighted vegetable, with a supple exterior that didn’t make you feel like you were overchewing. And besides, they were all wrapped so beautifully! Throughout the evening, my dining companion and I were presented with a variety of house sake. All of them were surprisingly fresh, crisp and really packed a punch! Other highlights included the Kurma red mullet with wasabi cream sauce. The fish was delicious and literally melted in my mouth. The wasabi cream added a kick to it, although not what you’d expect. It was very light and just enough to let you know there was some wasabi in it.
This was followed by a beef fillet in batayaki sauce served with mushrooms, asparagus and vegetables. The beef was soft, elegantly presented and delightful.
Towards the end of the evening, Yakimono rose to the challenge with a sampler of toro sushi, made from the most prime, fatty part of the fish. The toro, which was a delicate shade of pink, was prepared in raw sashimi-wrapped maki rolls and seared with sweet sauce. This was my personal favorite. It’s known as the best cut of fish for a reason.
Overall, the service was impeccable, the ambience elegant and the food sensational. I will definitely go back to sample even more of the delicious dishes and revisit some of the wonderful flavors I can still taste.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Yakimono Kosher Royal Beach, Eilat Tel: (08) 636-8989 Website