Succulent sushi at Sarona

Akiko is a truly authentic Japanese restaurant.

Akiko restaurant (photo credit: PR)
Akiko restaurant
(photo credit: PR)
Tel Aviv’s Sarona Complex has a host of trendy café chains and modern restaurants to match the atmosphere. Akiko, a more subdued sushi bar, is one of the newer eateries in the area.
Akiko is a name familiar to dedicated diners, since a sushi bar of that name has been active in Ramat Aviv for a few years now.
The place is without a doubt one of the most authentic Japanese restaurants in the country. Maybe that’s become it’s owned by Akiko, who was born in Japan and moved to Israel with her husband 14 years ago. The low-key décor, with wood detail and a bar where diners can eat and watch the chefs prepare the food, lends the atmosphere a relaxed, friendly feel. Definitely takes you away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
As a lifelong sushi eater, I have been to many sushi restaurants, both kosher and non-kosher, and Akiko stands with the best. I love the huge variety of special rolls, the tasty sauces and healthy options like the harusame salad.
All the staff is extremely friendly.
Akiko, the owner, is always bustling around, buzzing between the kitchen, the sushi bar and the dining area. She always talks to customers, jumping in here and there, but never imposes herself on a table.
We began our meal with the agedashi tofu (NIS 41), which was delicious. The tofu was firm and silky, and the dashi broth was rich without being overpowering. But where Akiko truly stands out is in the execution of the layer of fried batter surrounding the tofu. It’s thin, slightly stretchy and fried to a perfect golden brown.
You also won’t go wrong with the wakame salad, either (NIS 25).
It was sweet, fresh and super light.
The dressing was not overpowering with vinegar, while the seaweed was cut into thin shreds and not too chewy.
In between dishes, we enjoyed some chilled bottles of Asahi Japanese beer (NIS 29).
A friend once told me that the way she knows she has eaten good sushi is if the meal leaves her with a clean, healthy, feeling. That was exactly the way I felt about the selection of sashimi. These dishes, consisting of salmon, tuna and bass, 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.
This was followed by eel nigiri (NIS 25 per piece), as well as well as the unagi temaki (NIS 34 per piece). Both were delicious and super fresh.
The variety of sushi at Akiko appears endless, and we sampled some of the most interesting combinations. First up was the uemera roll (NIS 63), which consisted of hot salmon, cucumber, tamago, asparagus tempura wrapped in wasabi peas, teriyaki sauce and mayonnaise. Soon following was the caterpillar salmon (NIS 56) – salmon, avocado and cucumber wrapped in avocado and teriyaki sauce. All in all, these combinations of the subtle and the sharp, the clean and the precise are exactly what lovers of Japanese food get most excited about.
Since it was a really cold day, we decided to try one of the warm dishes. The yaki soba egg noodles and vegetables (NIS 51) really hit the spot.
After sipping on some Japanese green tea (NIS 19), we were excited about dessert which consisted of age dango (NIS 42) – two rice dough balls filled with melted chocolate, dark and white – served hot. The dango was sweet, chewy and scrumptious.
Overall, the service was impeccable 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 savor.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Not kosher
6 Rav Aluf David Elazar, Tel Aviv
(03) 624-3624