Shrimp and Calamari at Uri Buri Shrimp and Calamari at Uri Buri Shrimp and calamari dish at Uri Buri. (Photo: Mark H. Anbinder / Flickr)

The Santa Claus of seafood

Fresh fish and exquisite tasting menus draw hungry travelers to the renowned Uri Buri restaurant

In a beautiful Ottoman-built home overlooking the sea in the ancient city of Acre, in northern Israel, the Uri Buri restaurant, open since 1998, is internationally renowned for its creative fish and seafood cooking.

Winner of the 2013 Travelers' Choice Award on TripAdvisor, Uri Buri's famous dishes include amberjack seviche, scallops in curried cream sauce, and anchovy fillets in lemon and oil, but the menu changes constantly based on the local fishermen’s catch.

Diners visit this restaurant in far-flung Acre for the amazing food, but also in the hope of catching a glimpse of Uri, the man. With his long white beard, everlasting smile and cheerful disposition, Uri Yarmias could easily pass for Santa Claus, and he enjoys the comparison with the sunny denizen of the North Pole.

Uri Buri with Matthew GouldUri Yarmias (left) with British ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould in 2012. (Photo: UK in Israel/Flickr)

Yarmias also takes his business personally; it's his life. "This is not a restaurant,” he told Israeli food magazine Al Hashulhan, "On The Table." He said, "It is my kitchen, the cooking methods which I've adopted, my palate sensitivity and my love of hosting and entertaining."

Part of Yarmias' international fame stems from his 2006 book, " Uri Buri - Fish & Seafood,” that takes food lovers on an in-depth journey into his world. Cooking along the shores of the Mediterranean taught him the ins and outs of choosing the right fish and the best local ingredients to bring out the right flavors from the day's catch. In the book, he goes into how-to mode on grilling, roasting, curing, pickling, smoking, frying, stewing, steaming and baking to help share his love of food from the sea with at-home chefs.

Baby St. Peter Fish at Uri BuriBaby St. Peter fish from Uri Buri. (Photo: Mark H. Anbinder/Flickr)

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