Tel Aviv is the epicenter of culture in Israel. From sand and sea, to theater, shopping, museums and more, the bustling beachside city has it all - including over 100 restaurants serving sushi. But with so many eateries preparing similar fare, how can you possibly distinguish the culinary gems and trendsetting plates, from the pack? To ensure that your next visit to Tel Aviv will be as vibrant and enjoyable as possible, in the performance hall and out, we’ve compiled a list of the Israeli metropolis’ five best sushi restaurants, the ones that take traditional Asian cuisine and create a performance - for your palate.
Neve Tzedek’s sushi and sake diner is branching out
A staple in Tel Aviv’s Neve Tzedek neighborhood for over 14 years, Okinawa, the acclaimed delectable yet affordable sushi and sake diner, has recently opened a new branch, in the metropolis’ White City (Levontin), designed to resemble restaurants in Japan’s Shibuya district. Adhering to traditional Japanese fare that is never dry, bland or disappointing, Okinawa’s excellent chefs adapt and modify their dishes to appeal to the local palate.
If you’re looking for a new twist on weekend brunch, head to the Levontin branch, where for 95 NIS you can dine on Ban Benedict (Duet of crispy ban buns, shitake hollandaise sauce, wilted spinach, smoked strips of goose breast and poached eggs), Japanese Minute Steak (Thinly sliced sinta prepared like a minute steak and coated in soy sauce, with a sunny side up egg and herbaceous steak frites) and other decadent delights. Or, if you’re looking for a more traditionally Asian fare, the Neve Tzedek branch has everything from Wakame Salad (Wakame noodles with shitake mushrooms and cucumbers in soy, chili and lemon vinaigrette, 34 NIS) and Yakitori skewers (18-22 NIS), to steamed Ban Buns served with fish, tofu, or crispy chicken (44-46 NIS) and tons of sushi roll options.
Both Okinawa locations offer vegan menus, Sun-Thurs happy hours between 17:00 and 20:00, and BOGO (buy one, get one) Tuesdays on special sushi rolls. Add these offers to the regular 20% discount on vegan items every Monday, and it seems Okinawa has discovered the perfect recipe to keeping customers happy and coming back.
Address: 46 Shabazi and 11 Levontin, Tel Aviv, Israel
Opening Hours: Daily, noon to midnight
For more information and to reserve a table, visit https://www.okinawatlv.co.il/
Located in Old Jaffa, Jasia is the only restaurant in the world to uniquely pair the best of Asian cuisine with local Jaffan ingredients and influences. With old stone facade and vibrant eclectic menu, the restaurant perfectly encapsulated an exciting story of history and love. There you will find a wide variety of fish, seafood and meat-based dishes alongside vegetarian and vegan options, as well as plates free of gluten and sugar. Surf and turf options are served alongside sushi, wok dishes and burgers and more. At Jasia, there’s truly something on the menu for everyone, even young children.
The deep connection between local Jaffa and distant Asia is marvelously expressed in recommended dishes: Pad Won Sun (Egg noodles and vegetables in a spicy red curry sauce and coconut milk, stir-fried with mussels, shrimp and calamari, and topped with roasted pistachios, 78 NIS), Volcano Roll (Futomaki sushi roll with salmon, tuna, chives and kanpyo in a salmon and avocado wrapping, 59 NIS) and Jaffa Style (Shrimp and fried calamari with a side of rice, mashed potatoes or french fries, 99 NIS).
Jasia’s Old Jaffa location serves not only as inspiration for its unique and eclectic menu; it also ensures that the restaurant is always teeming with guests - locals, tourists and hotel visitors alike. And though the dishes themselves are tasty enough to keep customers coming back for more, the special offers are what seal the deal: 1+1 on all sushi on Fridays between noon and 17:00 and 20% off the entire menu on Sundays through Thursdays, during the same hours.
Address: 7 Louis Pasteur, Old Jaffa, Israel
Opening Hours: Daily, from noon to 23:30
For more information and to reserve a table, visit https://www.jasia.co.il/home
Traditional Japanese cuisine with a cool, Tel Avivian vibe
Located near the Old Port of Tel Aviv, Fu Sushi Bar prepares stunning Japanese dishes that eschew the Asian country’s latest culinary trends, in favor of high-quality, high-substance eats that deliver on flavor with every bite. Their ornate sushi rolls are prepared to perfection, right before diners’ eyes. Some of the restaurant’s most impressive rolls include the Sake Yaki Roll (Grilled salmon, spicy mayonnaise, steamed shrimp, lettuce and avocado coated in tempura bits, 58 NIS) and Mizumi Roll (Asparagus, avocado and shitake wrapped in sashimi bass, tuna, avocado and salmon, Garnished with wasabi aioli, 58 NIS). Or, sample a soup, salad, or wok dish from their extensive, impressive and highly colorful menu.
Fu also has a great kids’ menu and several vegan options that highlight tofu and/or soy noodles as the start of the plate. Couple the breathtaking food preparation with the restaurant’s warm and vibrant, Tel Aviv neighborhood feel, and it’s no wonder Fu is the place to be for sushi near the sea.
Address: 32 Yermiyahu, Tel Aviv, Israel
Opening Hours: Daily, from noon to midnight
For more information and to reserve a table, visit http://en.fusushi.co.il/
The Japanese lounge bar worth splurging on
From the outside, TYO looks like your standard yet stunning, luxury Tel Aviv home. Yet upon entering the restaurant’s doors, you’ll find yourself immediately immersed in high-class, authentic Japanese ambiance, and privy to the most divine and extravagant Asian eats and treats. Whether you choose to watch the sunset from the comfort of TYO’s back balcony, or prefer to sit indoors and enjoy the aptly designed, upscale environment, TYO has got you covered.
The menu includes traditional Japanese dishes that are artfully integrated with the freshest fish the Mediterranean Sea has to offer, a wide variety of sushi, appetizers, main dishes, creative desserts and daily specials, which can be enjoyed alongside a selection of unique, creative and modern cocktails and beverages. TYO also has a sommelier on staff that provides personalized wine recommendations for all connoisseurs. Top dishes to try: TYO Style Tuna Pizza (Red tuna on a crispy tortilla, grilled garlic butter, cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese, chili and fresh microgreens, 67 NIS), Black Cod (Black cod in a miso and sake marinade with rice “fingers” in dashi, asparagus and mushrooms, 168 NIS) and Anything from the sushi menu.
Address: 7 Montefiore, Tel Aviv, Israel
Opening Hours: Sun – Weds: 12:00-16:00, 18:00-00:00, Thurs: 00:30 – 12:00, Fri-Sat: 12:00-00:00
For more information and to reserve a table, visit: http://tyo.co.il/en/
Fresh-forward food with a modern twist
Established in 1999, Onami is considered one of Israel’s oldest and best sushi restaurants. Onami is on a mission to provide only the freshest ingredients and prepared dishes, while implementing the latest Asian food twists and trends that take each bite to the next level. With a great business lunch menu, a heavily stocked bar offering a wide variety of cocktails, wines and Japanese-style alcoholic beverages and a rich and diverse menu containing dishes prepared with the highest quality of ingredients, Onami creates a unique and highly-enjoyable dining experience for everyone who walks through their doors. Try their Hotta Bacon Maki (Scallop on a skewer, wrapped in bacon, 38 NIS), Maguru Tataki (Grilled tuna sashimi with spicy ponzu sauce and fresh ginger, 68 NIS), or the Suzuki or Spicy Tekka rolls, the all-stars of their sushi menu. Sushi rolls range between 15 and 58 NIS in price, depending on if you go the vegan, vegetarian or fish-forward route.
Address: 18 HaArba’a, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Opening Hours: Daily, from noon to midnight
For more information and to reserve a table, visit http://onami.co.il/