MINATO Japanese Chef Restaurant
Revisited August 2022
If there is one restaurant that we are always happy to revisit, it is Minato Japanese, in Herzliya. It has been years since our last visit, but our memory of the great food and excellent service, was vivid. Minato restaurant is tucked into a private corner in the cluster of restaurants on Hamenofim Street. Minato sits snugly on the right, furthest from the street.
|Minato has recently expanded its space, adding a private room on the ground level that shares a wall with the original restaurant. The room can accommodate parties of about 50 guests. It has a separate kitchen that services the events and take away orders so that events in the private room do not affect the operation of the restaurant, as each runs independently. The extension has also about doubled the covered outdoor space, which is an excellent place to dine.
The added space should make it easier to get a reservation at the restaurant, but don't count on it. With the additional space came additional reservations. So be sure to reserve in advance.
Minato specializes in authentic Japanese dishes.
The restaurant is adamant about utilizing cooking techniques and methods used in Japan. A Japanese chef has presided over the kitchen since the restaurant opened. He creates traditional Japanese cuisine that complies with the laws of kashrut and uses local seasonal ingredients.
The evolving menu appears to offer fewer meat dishes than on our last visit, with more fish and vegetarian dishes. Sushi is at the heart of the menu, with many different types and combinations. There is a great variety of other dishes so you can be sure that everyone will find their way at Minato.
Our Visit to Minato
Stepping into Minato restaurant is stepping into a quieter and more serene world. The muted colors, indirect lighting, and quiet atmosphere set the stage for the Japanese food ahead. The minimalist decor combined with the relaxing color scheme set this restaurant apart from others.
We enjoyed a delightful dinner at Minato. Our meal started with a bowl of edamame sprinkled with large grained salt. Edamame is a favorite of ours and if it had not been gifted at the start of the meal I might have ordered it myself.
The restaurant offers a variety of the usual drinks plus several Japanese drinks and a nice selection of wine and a few cocktails, so while we perused the menu, we enjoyed a Mojito Passionfruit cocktail, a delicious sweet cocktail drink, the waitress’s recommendation. The Margarita Passiflora cocktail was beautifully served over ice with orange slices, and garnished with a small red pepper, which added some zing but did not make the drink spicy.
While I enjoyed the edamame and the cocktail, my companion tucked into the Noodle soup with fish boullion and udon (thick wheat) noodles. My companion enjoyed the fish flavors in the soup and the many noodles,scallions, thick sliced mushrooms and touches of ginger. The soup was served with a traditional Japanese soup spoon, which is fine for the broth, but the thick udon noodles just wouldn’t stay in the spoon. No problem – he alternated between the spoon for the broth and the chopsticks for the noodles.
Wanting to taste a variety of dishes, we decided to share one inside-out sushi roll and two delicious fish main dishes.
We had the Tempura Panko salmon-filled
with avocado, cucumber, red onion and a light tempura coating. This was beautifully presented on a platter with thin slivers of ginger. Credit for the amazing sushi goes to Chef Aki Tamura of Tokyo. Aki Tamura comes from a long line of sushi chefs, and has worked in some of the top Japanese restaurants in Israel.
We then shared a platter of sea bream (denis in Hebrew) pieces in tempura served with the delicious Japanese Tentsuyu sauce made especially for dipping tempura. The sauce was made with soup stock and Mirin, a naturally sweet rice wine. The fish was so delicious alone it required no sauce. But when dipped into the sauce the fish took on a marvelous flavor.
Japanese cuisine is not to be confused with other Asian foods. Japanese dishes utilize specific Japanese ingredients like Mirin, Tentsuyu and others, that have a very different flavor from dishes from other parts of Asia.
One of the favorite dishes at Minato is the White Grouper Yaki, pan-fried grouper (locus in Hebrew) with asparagus and scallions. You have to taste this to believe it. Ziiing!
After a meal like this, dessert is hardly necessary. But for those who like to end a meal on a sweet note, we recommend the Mochi, sweet sushi-shaped slices of parve ice cream wrapped in Japanese rice dough.
One of the very nice things about Japanese style dining is the light feeling that you have at the end of the meal. We were both well fed, totally satiated, and not bloated.
From the Menu
soup NIS 32
Sea Bream or Salmon Tempura NIS 71
Sushi with fish NIS 43-59
White grouper yaki NIS 90
Mochi dessert NIS 12
Mojito Passionfruit Cocktail NIS 45
Minato is pleased to cater sushi and other Japanese dishes at your event. Call for details. Order gourmet foods from Minato delivered to your home.
Order by phone from the Minato website
There is underground pay parking adjacent to the cluster of restaurants and ample street parking and parking in the lot on Hamenofim in the evening.