Ya-Man is an iconic Jamaican restaurant in Berlin Moabit run by the very charismatic Barbara, one of the most charming and lovely hosts you’ll ever meet in Berlin. Serving the best Jerk Chicken and rum punch in Berlin, this is a restaurant everybody in Berlin should have on their to-do list.
Ya-Man is owned by Jamaican native Barbara Saltmann who moved to Berlin over a decade ago and one day decided it was a good idea to start cooking jerk chicken. Hidden in an unassuming corner of Southern Moabit, this gem of a restaurant has been around since 2008 and really deserves a lot more attention than it’s getting right now. Ya-Man owner Barbara is everything you’ll ever want from a host, she’s an extremely warm and friendly person with a huge heart and she will make you feel at home the minute you enter her Jamaican realm. If a picture ever said a thousand words, then it’s the one she uses on her website. Anything you’ll ever need to know about Barbara and Ya-Man is communicated in that epic photo of her on the site. Her venue could just as well function as Bob Marley’s old living room, it’s a colourful and funky mix of Jamaican memorabilia in a tiny venue. In the summer you can can also sit outside on the sidewalk. Step inside and have Barbara whip you up a rum punsch behind a bar that looks like she stole it right of a beach in Montego Bay. The fruity rum punch and other rum drinks are damn tasty and she also stocks a fridge full of ice cold Jamaican Red Stripe beer just for you. Chances are that Barbara is all you will see if you drop into Ya Man unannounced, she keeps her operation lean and if she’s not expecting any big groups she usually runs the show herself.
Ya-Man is a great and neglected eatery worth a journey from any part of the city
At Ya-Man you can get the full on Jamaican food experience and the menu offers a small range of traditional dishes. All the dishes on the menu are not always available and sometimes there also some off-menu specials. An inquiry along with your first rum punch order is recommendable. For starters you can order small plates of fried cassava or patties, which are small dumplings filled with beef or veggies. These are tasty bar snacks that go very well with that first rum punsch or Red Stipe, but it’s essentially deep fried food and no culinary revelation. This doesn’t matter at all though because they are merely the prelude for the exquisite main courses. The selection of mains stretches from iconic, Jamaican classics like the Jerk Chicken but also includes more unknown varieties like Pork and Goat Curries or fried fish and chicken. As a first time visitor I would strongly recommend going for the Jerk Chicken, the two massive pieces of chicken, perfectly cooked and coated in a delicious, smoky jerk sauce and served with fried plantanes or Jamaican dumplings are a safe highlight in this place. The other dishes are also consistently great though, Barbara is a very solid cook and her food is always cooked to perfection. The chicken is crispy yet succulent, the curries spicy yet very flavourful. The food is generally very hearty and every single bite just packed with flavour. And if this is not enough you can spice up your food with the single most delicious Habanero hot sauce in Berlin. A sweet and incredibly flavourful sauce based on apple on ginger, this hot baby is capable of knocking the unexperienced guest flat out. Serious hot sauce business, but pure bliss for any spice aficionado.
Her food is great and really just the definition of tasty soul food
Ya-Man is a great and neglected eatery worth a journey from any part of the city. Barbara is one of those hosts that have the capability to define a whole restaurant experience with her positive vibe and charm. Her food is great and really just the definition of tasty soul food, the kind that makes you all warm and fuzzy inside and transports your mind to a place far away. Add some rum punsch and a couple of Red Stripes to that and you’ll have a hard time leaving the place without giving Barbara a big hug. Every summer, on August 6th, which is the Jamaican independence day, Barbara organizes a massive party where she takes over the whole street with live music and plenty of food. Jamaican fever guaranteed.