As eLuna writers of many years, we have been to more than one sushi restaurant. But never have we enjoyed more creative and more delicious sushi than at Sushi Mamilla.
A visit to Sushi Mamilla is an all-around delightful experience. Garrulous and welcoming owner Naftali takes special pride in his restaurant and his products, and enjoys socializing with the patrons. His personal touch is a page out of Jerusalem of yore.
All of this is charming, but the clincher at Sushi Mamilla is the food. Not satisfied with the sushi available in Jerusalem, native American Naftali set about creating sushi dishes that would show all the others how it can be done. Sushi Mamilla is a maverick among sushi restaurants. In addition to classic sush,i they offer one-of-a-kind sushi rolls that meld Japanese, Western and Middle Eastern cultures.
The menu, in both Hebrew and English, offers starters, salads, Pad Thai dishes, and a full choice of classic sushi varieties, all freshly prepared and beautifully presented. There are combinations and party platters. All the foods are fresh and delicious. The highlight are the unusual and creative specials. Not to be missed.
eLuna Visits Sushi Mamilla
We visited Sushi Mamilla on a sunny winter afternoon, perfect for sitting at one of the outdoor tables and enjoying this historic section of the city. The restaurant is wedged between the two great icons: Ludwig Meyer Books and Kadosh bakery/cafe. (Ask about the bullet holes on the outer wall, preserved from the War of Independence.) Any day now these establishments will be describing themselves as located next to Sushi Mamilla.
My first choice at every Asian restaurant is the pickled vegetable salad. The Sushi Mamilla Asian salad did not disappoint. At some restaurants the vegetables are swimming in vinegar. Not at Sushi Mamilla. Fresh and crispy, this salad held up well even when we had it the next day at home.
Under Naftali's direction, our table filled with a selection of traditional fish sushi rolls with salmon and vegetables (Maki Salmon), a plate of sashimi (thin slices of salmon and grouper, aka locus in Israel), and three new sushi rolls.
"Please try our more exotic flavors." said Naftali, including a platter of - believe it or not - peanut butter sushi. A purist, I turned my nose up at the suggestion of peanut butter sushi, till i tasted it. Then Wow.
Called the American Pessi Roll it contains baked salmon, vegetables all packed together with a peanut butter coating! It looked good, crispy coating on the outside and colorful on the inside. So, with some trepidation my companion and I each took a piece. Wow!
I usually take my sushi with a healthy glob of wasabi. Hold the wasabi when it comes to the peanut butter sushi. I don't want anything to come between me and the flavor of the sushi. This is actually not as crazy as it sounds. Peanuts are a common ingredient in Asian cooking. So why not peanut butter sushi?
Steamed mushroom sushi, called the Mushroom Mix roll, is another Sush Mamilla specialty, These delicious morsels are filled with steamed mushrooms and topped with crispy onion strips. This is a great idea, well executed, and delicious. But the really unexpected combination, that will bring a smile to your face, is the falafel sushi. The Falafel Roll has a falafel paste core, tempura and tahini in a sushi rice roll. This is a different kind of vegetarian sushi that you have to try.
"Israelis like falafel" said Naftali. "So we brought them falafel in sushi." What an idea. Who would think of it?
I have only recently graduated from vegetarian sushi to fish sushi, so I went back for two and three pieces of each, and then dared myself to try to the sashimi. I found it quite pleasant, especially with soy sauce.
Our visit to Sushi Mamilla was a great success. Delicious food. Charming host, and a great doggy bag of foods to munch on the way home.
Parking: Yerushalmim all have their secret parking spots in downtown Jerusalem. Out of towners will find plenty of parking in pay lots on Hillel Street, a short and delightful walk to Shlomzion Hamalka. We are partial to the Music Center parking but there is also parking at the museum a few meters further down Hillel.
Take Away: We recommend stopping in at the restaurant but if you are home bound Sush Mamilla will deliver. In the meantime, delivery in Jerusalem only. Tel Aviv will have to wait.
Parties: People who want the best for their guests order platters from Sushi Mamilla. This is the way to entertain friends.