Xp Bonaire IslandLife Feature Story
The Sakura Sushi Bar opened its doors in November, 2021, and is located at the South Pier mall (cruise ship pier).
It first opened for take-out only due to the corona regulations and all its effects. It is hard to open a new business in uncertain times and only be able to present half of your concept to the public, but a few months later, rumors and speculations have died down and more and more positive comments have circulated on the island. Of course, we wanted to try it for ourselves.
The Sushi bar itself has the typical minimalistic, modern Japanese-inspired style with a bar and a few tables in an airconditioned space. Little cherry blossom detailing honors the name of the Sushi bar, Sakura, meaning cherry blossom/tree in Japanese.
The outside seating overlooks the pier and the Caribbean Sea with a fresh breeze and plenty of space. The team of young and energetic waiters were knowledgeable and very attentive.
On an island with freshly caught fish, sushi, sashimi and other raw fish dishes are popular and many guests’ favorite. With several sushi places and many raw fish dishes on most of the restaurants’ menus, the question is, “what makes Sakura different?” We made a reservation for the outside area and with three people, so we were able to try a variety of dishes from the menu and this might give you a good overview.
Maguro (tuna) Tetaki (lightly seared tuna)
Edamame (steamed soybeans )
Ebi (shrimp) tempura
Kaizen Salad (tuna, salmon kaizen dressing)
Spicy tuna roll
The salad, served with greens, wakame and cubed fresh tuna and salmon with a “kaizen (good change)” dressing was refreshing, a nice mix of textures from buttery soft tuna and salmon to crispy lettuce and everything in between. The soy, sesame oil dressing was light enough to not overwhelm all the other flavors.
The shrimp tempura was a nice surprise. Tempura batter is a crispy batter that is specifically tasty because of its light bread crumb texture, very different from the regular heavy, thick and doughy batters. On Bonaire a good tempura is still hard to find and this was the first time we actually enjoyed tempura on the island. The thin, crispy layer enhanced the sweetness of the shrimp perfectly.
You might wonder why sashimi, the simplest dish on the whole menu? The thickness of the slices, the texture of the fish and the temperature at which it was served made the sashimi perfect in its simplicity.
Our overall impression
We had a great, casual night out. The spacious outside area was comfortable and we felt lucky to be able to enjoy each other’s company without any restrictions and plenty of attention by the waiters.
All of our dishes were well prepared with some highlights of course. We certainly want to come back and try out other items on the menu. For the American-style sushi lover, Sakura has plenty to offer with avocado, cream cheese, tempura and many choices in fish. It offers all your heart desires. Next time we visit, we will leave space for the fried banana dessert and try the hot and cold sake for a change. Following the meaning of Kaizen (good change), we have to agree, Sakura brought good change to the sushi game on the island.
Sakura Sushi Bar
Kaya C.E.B Hellmund #6
Open daily 5- 10 pm
Phone: +599 701 3884