A few months ago, a picture on the internet caught my eye. It was of graffiti sprayed on a stone wall in Jerusalem: “Arcadi, buy us an ocean” (a reference to Israeli billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak). A few months later, my girl and I were walking in Jerusalem as part of our annual vacation. The weather was great; the famous Jerusalem stone which holds up the buildings always makes for a pleasant sight; and the sea? Well, there is no sea, but there are fish. Impatient to wait for a sea (or until we head back north), we made our way to Ahavat HaYam (“Love of the Sea”) restaurant, eager to enjoy a lunch of sea offerings – kosher sea offerings.
A pitcher of cold lemonade was already waiting for us atop the white tablecloth, and we refreshed ourselves with the cool drink while we waited for the first courses. We were served square saucers of appetizers: tabouleh, beet salad, Romanian eggplant, piquant eggplant, eggplant with mayonnaise, carrot salad, tahini, coleslaw, and finely-chopped vegetable salad. Soon after, we were treated to a simple and tasty dish of 3 strips of eggplant, fried just right, and each adorned with a scoop of labane.
We took the time before the entr?es arrived to look around the space of the restaurant and were impressed by the unique d?cor which included a glass path embedded with shells across the floor and aquarium dividers, housing a large number of exotic, multi-colored fish.
Our entr?es arrived, served on elegant square white plates with wavy rims, in the form of 2 fish: corvina for my companion and trout for me. The 2 fish were stripped lengthwise, deboned, fried to an appetizing golden color on both sides, and served with French fries. The fish was quite delicious, crispy on the outside, and strongly-flavored on the inside, and although I am usually wary of eating trout due to the copious amount of bones, I made the effort to put the fish knife to good use and separate the meat from any remainder of bones that may still exist. Across from me, my companion became full after half her fish had been eaten, and in spite of my insistence, she could eat no more. What could I do? I took over and ate her fish.
Dessert was a Cr?me Bavaria accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was a tasty dessert, although, if I had to choose between the dessert and finishing the last few bites of the fish, the fish would win out. In any event, there should always be enough room for dessert. What if there isn’t, you ask? Yet another reason to return.
So until Arcadi forks up the dough for a Jerusalem sea, the city dwellers can pass the time in a good fish restaurant. Some cities don’t even have that.
11 Ben Zvi Boulevard, Jerusalem