Tel Aviv's 7 Best Sushi and Sashimi Restaurants

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Craving raw fish, agadashi tofu and premium sake? We picked for you the leading sushi joints in Tel Aviv. By Rotem Maimon and Libby Sperling

Yakimono | Keeper of the flame

This establishment has been in business for over 25 years and that’s beginning to show – but credit must be given where it’s due. From the start, Yakimono offered high-quality, carefully prepared sushi that’s the closest to what you’ll get in Japan. Without compromising on ingredients, the restaurant offers exceptional dishes that you won’t find in other places – some of them based on Japanese yellowtail and river eel. Along with sushi, there are also unique salads, dim sum and numerous hot dishes on the menu. Pay special attention to the chopped shrimp roll in wasabi cream, covered with avocado and salmon; and to the eel roll in panko and the shrimp tempura with caviar (95 shekels, or about $26, each). There’s also a menu featuring an array of cocktails and sake, a good wine list and meticulous service. The business lunches and tasty dinners here are among the most worthwhile in the city. 19 Rothschild Boulevard, 03-5175171; Yakimono also has a kosher branch in the Tel Aviv Hilton

Dinings | Almost like London

Four years ago and coming straight from London, Dinings opened at the Norman Hotel with superior ingredients, a super-premium sake menu and a host of dishes oozing innovation and creativity. While the beginning was somewhat hesitant, with a recent change of chefs it seems that the restaurant has gotten its bearings, and is now producing small and expensive, stellar delicacies. Indeed, it has been ranked as the second-best restaurant in Israel by the prestigious Gault-Millau restaurant guide. The menu features sushi dishes with ingredients like river eel, pan-fried foie gras and sweet soy sauce; lobster in tempura sauce; king crab; watercress salad with yuzu, lemon and garlic vinaigrette; tempura lobster with watercress salad, sweet chili soy and spicy sesame sauce; sashimi with fresh fish in season, hibiscus vinaigrette and seaweed; and more (29 to 130 shekels). There are also hot dishes like the beef teriyaki burger, grilled black cod with vegetables and so on. The menu is very expensive but the atmosphere that disconnects you from sweaty Tel Aviv and the third-floor balcony are worth their weight in gold. 25 Nahmani Street, 03-543-5444

Onami | Consistent and unpretentious

Onami, perhaps the flagship Japanese restaurant in Israel (or so it claims, at least), has been on Ha’arba’a Street for almost 20 years now, which is nothing to sneeze at given that restaurants in the city shut down every day. For its part, Onami, however, has earned the title of “institution.” You will find a range of Japanese dishes there that are true to their original form, more or less. These range from two types of fairly traditional ramen soup, to the udon and misu soups, to the heavenly and almost mythic agedashi tofu, and to what we came for: the sushi. Onami has an wide to confusing variety of sashimi, nigiri and maki, which are close enough to be called “classic,” if not traditional. Among the latter you will find, for example, nigiri toro (tuna), unagi nigiri (eel), kaisen cocktail maki with shrimp, scallops, calamari, salmon eggs, etc. (16 to 68 shekels per sushi). 18 Ha’arbaa Street, 03-5621172

Moon | Stability and loyal customers

This country can be divided between those who are loyal fans of Moon Sushi Bar and the skeptics who don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Moon’s two branches, the first on Bogroshov Street and the second on Pinsker Street, are among the longtime, stable and best-loved sushi places in the city, even though they are somewhat Westernized. The first and more central branch is the more familiar and crowded one; the second branch, Moon Delight, has a more popular feel and is better lit and thus more family-friendly. A bonus: Both branches have separate trays and knives for pregnant women worried about contamination from the raw fish. Among the items on the menu: creamy carrot sushi, with spicy bass, steamed shrimp, butter and micro basil leaves; black mamba, a best seller that’s based on a ball of rice wrapped in a fish of your choice; Bonito maki with tuna, bonito flakes and avocado; a maki called “Don’t Worry” of salmon, shrimp tempura, eel, avocado and tobiko (flying fish) roe; and “Be Happy,” which is like “Don’t Worry,” but instead of tobiko roe contains wasabi-coasted tobiko (17 to 59 shekels per roll). 58 Bogroshov Street, 30 Pinsker Street, 03-6291155

TYO | Feast for the eyes

At the end of Montefiore Street you’ll find this Japanese lounge-bar – a creamy-white space where the sushi portions are over the top and abundant, based on fresh fish and a variety of embellishments. In the evenings you’ll feel as if you’ve happened upon a party of fashion models and soccer players, with joyful music and sushi that isn’t bad. Still, this is definitely not a place for everyone. The first courses are edgy dishes like tuna foie gras and black tobiko; locus tataki with hot chili sauce; spicy black tiger shrimp in tempura; and red tuna pizza with seared garlic butter, cherry tomatoes, parmesan, chili and fresh herbs. The sushi menu includes some brilliant offerings like yuzu salmon, with salmon skin, cucumber and asparagus; hakazushi – rice squares with spicy toro salmon, spicy tuna and a seaweed spread; grouper wasabi with tempura chips, green onion, cucumber and takuan wrapped in white fish and wasabi tobiko; and more (57 to 140 shekels). It’s actually more pleasant here at lunchtime, without the party atmosphere, when worthwhile business lunches including a first and main course cost 68-130 shekels. 7 Montefiore Street, 03-9300333

Nini Hachi | Kosher? Not what you thought

This sushi place always stays under the radar and can certainly be called modest but it is nevertheless one of the best in the city – even though it’s kosher (meat). The menu includes nice appetizers at laughable prices, Asian salads, grilled Japanese delicacies, ramen soups, noodle dishes and most important of all, exceptional sushi. The menu features salmon skin and avocado wrapped in green onion; salmon teriyaki roll with avocado, asparagus and carrot; crunchy tuna, amberjack and green onion, grouper avocado crispy and more. Special items include crispy panko-schnitzel sushi; maki with carrot, cucumber and avocado wrapped in kohlrabi and hot pepper; a roll with peanut butter and cucumber, etc. (19 to 52 shekels). Here, too, there are separate offerings for pregnant women, numerous vegan and non-gluten dishes, and a fun and decently priced alcohol menu, as well as delivery to all parts of the city. In other words, one of the best sushi places in Tel Aviv. 228 Ben Yehuda Street. 03-6249228. Kosher

Akiko | Small and modest

Akiko, which opened almost a decade ago in Ramat Aviv, is a surprisingly authentic sushi bar. Akiko is a Japanese woman who immigrated here with her husband, Shai, 18 years ago. When the two realized there was no good sushi in the area they decided to open a place that would be totally loyal to the cuisine of her native land. Among the nice fish and nigiri dishes, look for the slade maki with shrimp, crab, tamago, lettuce and Japanese mayonnaise; tempura maki, with shrimp, crab, asparagus, cucumber and lettuce; temaki with fish eggs, salmon and avocado; and more. It’s worth knowing that there are huge family combinations for 214 to 458 shekels; an amusing and impressive children’s menu; and imported Asian products like sake, mirin vinegar, Japanese mayonnaise and a crazy yuzu-misu spread. In short, after all these years Akiko is still the sushi that most Tel Avivians still haven’t discovered. 17 Abba Ahimeir Street, 03-641-7641