Located off of West Lebanon’s Main Street, tucked in the back of a parking lot behind other area businesses, Yama can be easy to miss for first-time visitors. But this tiny, low-key restaurant is hard to forget after a taste of its mouth-watering Korean and Japanese cuisine.
Inside, the dimly lit dining area is painted a relaxing green, while small white lights give it a festive, intimate vibe. The walls are also decorated with pictures of happy customers and kids’ drawings. But the real star of the show is the cuisine: Korean specialties like Bibimbap, kalbi, and dak dori tang, plus braised ribs, chicken, and pork dishes, as well as tasty Japanese-centric dishes and sushi touted by locals as the best in the area.
The Lebanon Roll, which includes spicy tuna and avocado, deep fried and served with a spicy mayo sauce, is a favorite, as are locally named rolls like the Hanover, the Dartmouth, and the Winter Hill.
Another favorite are the wallet-friendly “Lunch Boxes,” lunch specials that come with a main course like shrimp tempura or bulgoki, miso soup, rice, and salad, all for less than $8. Another nice touch is the panchan, which are Korean side dishes or little appetizers that come on-the-house before your meal: zuchini with Korean chili, bean sprouts, sweet broccoli, fish cakes, and other tasty treats. Yama also serves free hot tea that complements everything on the menu.
Regardless of its hole-in-the-wall, hard-to-find reputation, Yama is always crowded—no surprise, considering the experience.