Kamakura: A delicious, affordable Japanese restaurant with no sushi - review

Let’s start with the price: NIS 249 per person if there is no wagyu beef, and NIS 279 if there is wagyu beef, which they age themselves.

 Kamakura (photo credit: LINDA GRADSTEIN)
(photo credit: LINDA GRADSTEIN)

Kamakura is that rare bird: a Japanese restaurant with no sushi. And I’ll say it now, their evening tasting menu is one of the most delicious and best value deals I’ve seen in a while. I’m hesitant to write this because the last time I wrote that a restaurant (which shall remain nameless) was excellent value for money, they immediately raised their prices.

I told co-owner Alon Ahronovich of my concern and he promised (I’m watching you Alon) it won’t happen. So let’s start with the price: NIS 249 per person if there is no wagyu beef, and NIS 279 if there is wagyu beef, which they age themselves.

The night we visited, unfortunately, there was no wagyu to be seen but it was still one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. The emphasis is on meat with lots of different sauces.

An aesthetically pleasing delight

First, the 54-seat restaurant in the Indigo Hotel in Ramat Gan is aesthetically pleasing. 

Everything, including the tables, dishes and even the wall art, came from Japan. 

 Kamakura (credit: LINDA GRADSTEIN) Kamakura (credit: LINDA GRADSTEIN)

Eating Japanese food on Japanese dishes adds to the experience. As you sit down you are offered a hot towel and then given a complimentary glass of warm sake.

My husband asked the friendly waiter Omer if there was a tasting menu and when he said “Yes,” I didn’t even open my menu. Omer explained that the tasting menu is three rounds of appetizers (one round of fish, one vegetarian, and one of meat) two main courses that are preselected and one shared dessert.

“Yalla”(let’s go), we both said. Too bad we couldn’t say it in Japanese.

I’ve long been a fan of tasting menus, as it allows you to sample the chef’s offerings and it’s quite different from the way I, at least, serve dinner at home. Here the fish and meat appetizers were quite small, while the main courses were quite large.

We started off with a tataki of salmon, slices of salmon that had barely been seared. It was served with homemade salsa. The second fish appetizer might well have been the winner of the night: a crispy seaweed triangle topped with tuna tartar and wasabi. It was a fantastic combination of textures and flavors. I would eat this every day if someone made it for me.

The vegetarian appetizers were a large salad with a spicy wasabi dressing and a roasted cabbage that had an amazing tehina dressing with nuts and seeds. It was unlike anything I’d tasted before which in the end is what the goal of a restaurant meal is.

For the meat appetizers, there was fried gyoza in a spicy sauce and steak tataki.

Then it was time for the main event. We had two main courses: a Hambo, which was a 300 g. Japanese burger grilled on oak coals with Turkish spinach and a soft-boiled egg, in a pear sauce. 

The meat was excellent and I enjoyed the slightly sweet sauce.

The other main course was a large portion of medium-rare sirloin steak cooked in a yuzu sauce. For dessert, we shared a lemon custard concoction that was a light and perfect ending to the meal.

Along with the meal, we drank hot sake. We left Kamakura sated but already planning our next visit.

Note: The tasting menu is only served in the evening.

KamakuraIndigo HotelAhaliav 5, Ramat GanLunch Hours: Sunday – Thursday 12 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Dinner hours: 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Closed Friday/Saturday.Kashrut: Tzohar

The reviewer was a guest of the restaurant.