Yama Fish Restaurant
Fish dishes are the step child of every restaurant menu. There is the obligatory salmon fillet for the non meat eaters at grill restaurants. And the pieces of salmon in pasta dishes at dairy restaurants, an afterthought.
Then came Yama.
Yama Fish is a boutique restaurant. This quiet corner restaurant in Kiryat Hamada has a limited amount of indoor seating and outdoor seating on a covered patio. Come into a room of set tables covered in white cloth. This is going to be good.
Yama meets the most stringent kashrut standards of the Rav Ruben supervision.
If this restaurant looks familiar it is because Yama Fish Restaurant was the former Yama Sushi Restaurant. In the same location with almost the same name. The new Yama restaurant is under new management. The focus of the restaurant has changed along with the menu. Yama Fish has been upgraded by several notches and is now a fine dining restaurant.
A chef has to know what he is doing to prepare fish dishes properly. Chef Emanuel has that down pat. Originally from France, Emanuel studied culinary arts in Tel Aviv and then went on to apprentice in some of the best kitchens in Israel. You can thank Emanuel for the breakfasts at some of your favorite Jerusalem hotels. So he comes prepared to manage the kitchen at Yama.
The menu is one outsized heavy page with English on one side and Hebrew on the other. The menu includes appetizers and main dishes drinks and desserts. We sipped a light cocktail based on Vodka, with lemon and berries. while we perused the menu.
We were three diners for an early dinner. We started our meal with a selection of vegetable dips served on a large tray with two types of fresh rye bread. We were able to share the salads between three of us, keeping in mind that the dips are just to whet the appetite and a full meal will follow.
After the dips we chose three dishes from the Starter menu. The Yama signature starter is the fish filled cigars. The crispy cigars are filled with ground sea fish and a mix of herbs, including chili and cilantro (kusbara). The cigars zing when dipped in the dipping sauces. For our second starter the chef suggested the fish kabobs, another of the specialties of the restaurant. The kabobs are served with sherry salsa, mint, lemon aioli. These too were touched with cilantro. Some of us found the flavor of these starters rather strong, and somewhat similar to each other.
I usually take my fish cooked but my companion opted for the Gravlax as our third starter. A full bowl of beautiful pink cured salmon came to the table. The fish was sliced tissue paper thin and was melt-in-your mouth soft. No bagels and cream cheese with Gravlax. The dish is served with rocket leaves, capers, radishes, olive oil, and lemon. It is so easy to eat, it needs no accompaniment.
After the salads and three starters, we decided that the three of us could eat only two main courses. The Yama menu has vegetarian alternatives as well as fish dishes. The vegetarian gnocchi with mushrooms and teriyaki sauce is served on a bed of something delicious that they call root cream. For our other main we went back to the fish menu and chose the Drum Fish, (Musar). prepared perfectly on the plancha. The fish was served on a bed of black wild rice. This had a lovely texture, so different from the white rice we are usually served. We all agreed that this dish was the highlight of the meal.
On this visit to Yama we chose the lemon meringue pie for dessert. This is a lovely way to end a great meal. Recommended.
Yama Fish Restaurant is a welcome addition to the Jerusalem culinary landscape and worthy of your attention. Give it a try.
Street parking is available in the evening but during the day we recommend the building's underground pay parking.
2. Yama is located in the front of the building facing Hamada Street. The entrance is from the patio.
There is indoor and outdoor seating. The restaurant is wheelchair accessible.
From the menu:
gravlax salmon carpaccio NIS 62
fish kebabs NIS 62
sea fish cigar NIS 62
plancha drum fish NIS 139
gnocchi NIS 99
Cocktails NIS 52