After living in Israel for 48 years, should I be offended when a waitress brings me an English menu? Not really, since I was happy to peruse the offerings at Simaki in my mother tongue.
The famous Japanese restaurant in the heart of Netanya has been around for 18 years. When we visited, the outside tables were crowded – people seem to have blossomed since the end of lockdown – but we chose to be indoors, close to the action, where a team of Asian gentlemen were busy producing endless rolls of sushi.
Simaki has a huge takeaway and delivery clientele, so it’s not exactly luxury surroundings – tables that have seen better days and a psychedelic mural at one end.
No matter, the food was delicious. My dining companion, recovering from a nasty cold, ordered a plate of Simaki soup. A huge bowl of mushroom and chicken broth came to the table and was liquidated down to the last floating bean sprout. It was pronounced both therapeutic and very tasty (NIS 40).
Two plates of sushi appeared simultaneously. It was apparent that we would not be able to finish the large amount of sushi on the plates, and we asked to have most of it packaged to take away. This provided an exotic alternative to gefilte fish on the following Friday (NIS 42 for 10 pieces).
The sushi we did consume was excellent, the usual combination of salmon or tuna, seaweed, rice, avocado and cucumber, which we somehow managed to eat with the chopsticks provided. My companion solved the problem by eating the sushi in one mouthful, thus avoiding the need to take bites. Together with the wasabi and the ginger, a sushi provides a pungent mouthful.
Once we had finished our first course, Sima then took our orders for the main course. This was very clever, ensuring that the food would be freshly made and hot. Asian food is so quickly made, it made sense.
Sure enough, we did not have to wait long until the mains appeared – a red beef curry, served with noodles rather than rice, and a chicken pad thai. Both dishes were laden with generous amounts of their meat ingredient, and both were too substantial to finish. The lime garnish and chopped peanuts were thoughtful additions that worked well (main courses NIS 40-60).
Also available are steamed rolls, creatively called “bahn” on the menu (which possibly means “bun”) filled with chicken or fish and chips (NIS 56).
For liquid refreshment, we drank a bottle of sake, warm and mildly alcoholic, which just hit the spot (drinks NIS 8-26).
Desserts are available, too, but we were physically incapable of ingesting another crumb and left Simaki, after having enjoyed an excellent meal, quite sure we would be returning for more of the same.
13 David Remez
Open: Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.- 10:30 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Saturday, after Shabbat until 11 p.m.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.