Jamaica: Ya-Man restaurant

Planet Berlin: Escape to the Caribbean

All good

Barbara Saltmann had no gastronomic experience when she spontaneously opened her restaurant in Moabit's Gotzkowsky Strasse in 2008. While she likes to refuel during visits to her beloved Jamaica, Berlin is now Saltmann's home. The name of her restaurant is Jamaican for "everything's ok!"

Planet Berlin: Escape to the Caribbean

Healthy enjoyment

Jamaican cuisine is healthy: ginger, garlic and spices are the basis of the marinade for fish, seafood, chicken and meat dishes at the Ya-Man. All main courses are served with fresh vegetables and rice with kidney beans.

Planet Berlin: Escape to the Caribbean

Summer feeling

In addition to the dishes, Barbara Saltmann offers freshly squeezed juices, exotic cocktails with Jamaican rum and tropical fruit salads. As gentle reggae plays in the background, the bright decor and beach bar ambience finally gives the feeling of having taken a short trip to Jamaica.

Planet Berlin: Escape to the Caribbean

Secret sauce

A well-known, traditional Jamaican dish is Jerk Chicken. The meat is heavily seasoned, covered and cooked slowly over a pit of smoking pimento wood. The Maroons, slaves who escaped their Spanish masters and lived in free communities in Jamaica, chose this method to preserve the meat. Every jerk cook, including Barbara Sattmann, had their own secret special sauce.

Barbara Saltmann has decorated her Caribbean restaurant in Moabit like a Jamaican beach bar. For more than ten years, her guests have come to experience the meaning of Ya-Man: Everything is ok.

The ceiling of Jamaican restaurant Ya-Man is blue, and the eye is naturally drawn up to the painted panorama of fluffy white clouds and cockatoos. The walls are painted in the country's national hues of green and yellow, while the flags of the other Caribbean countries fly above the tables.

The huge leaves of a plastic banana tree lean languidly into the room. "Now there's a little piece of the Caribbean in Moabit," says the effervescent restaurateur, Jamaican-born Barbara Saltmann. The name of the restaurant encapsulates her attitude to life. In Jamaican Patois, ‘Ya-Man' translates as something like ‘everything's fine.'

Ya-Man's wooden bar, colorful decor and ceramic tile floor give it the feeling of a real Jamaican beach bar. The restaurant is small and cozy, and the food is authentic, with a menu of rice dishes served with lots of vegetables and seasoned with traditional spices such as ginger, allspice, garlic, and thyme. Other classics include pulled pork and rum punch, a drink that enjoys immense popularity at Barbara Saltmann's establishment.

Jamaica: Ya-Man - Move your cursor or finger for the 360° view

Two homes

Her broad smile exudes positivity and strength. Barbara Saltmann used to work in tourism and didn't have any experience in the restaurant business, but in 2008 she spontaneously decided to give it a go, and Ya-Man made its debut on Moabit's striking Gotzkowksystrasse.

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"It's cheaper to eat here than to fly to Jamaica," she says with a laugh. But the restaurant hasn't replaced her home. "I have two homes," says Barbara Saltmann. "I travel to Jamaica to tank up on energy, and then I am always happy to come back to Berlin."

Author: Masha Slawinski

Gotzkowskystr. 17
10555 Berlin-Moabit