Best Japanese Restaurant in Auckland

I spent time in Japan after graduation uni [ahem…many years ago] and have loved Japanese culture and cuisine every since. These are are what I consider the best Japanese restaurants in Auckland. In compiling this list I've tried to cover a range of styles, budgets and locations. The primary metric for judging all restaurants considered was the number and quality of reviews but the list undoubtedly reflects a little of my unconscious bias and personal experience.

In any event, I am sure you will have an excellent experience at any of these establishments, they are all very very good…

Temakeria

Owned by Jenny and Rodrigo, Temakeria is a Japanese restaurant in Auckland that specializes in Temaki, a large cone-shaped sushi hand roll with seaweed on the outside and a variety of ingredients on the inside. Jenny and Rodrigo introduced Temaki to New Zealand first with their Temaki Truck and now have created New Zealand's first Temakeria.

Temakeria offers casual dining, tasty and delicious food, and friendly service. In addition to Temaki, they also offer Temaco’s, a cross between a Temaki and a taco, salads, dons, curries, gyoza (Japanese dumplings), kimchi pancakes, and much more. On the drinks menu, you will find beer, cider, sake, wine, soft drinks, and tea. Catering and online booking are available.

BEST FOR
Temaki
WEBSITE
https://www.temakeria.co.nz/
ADDRESS

215 Kepa Road, Mission Bay, Auckland

CONTACT DETAILS
(021) 0825 1537
OPERATING HOURS
Mon – Sun: 11:30am – 9pm

This is my business

Highlites:

  • Delicious Temaki
  • Friendly staff
  • Cozy atmosphere
  • Traditional and fusion style

Wonderful tastes and flavours. Excellent traditional and fusion styles. Very healthy and delicious.

Cleve

Azabu

Azuba is a Japanese restaurant with locations in Ponsonby and Mission Bay. Executive Chef Yuko Ozeki is a fan of Nikkei, the fresh Peruvian Japanese flavors that have grown out of Peru’s Japanese community. The menu combines Peruvian Japanese Nikkei flavors with modern Tokyo-style dishes. Azuba’s large and small plates are made for sharing.

The dining room is lively, and Roji, a sake and cocktail bar, is a speakeasy hidden away in the back at the Ponsonby location. Roji, which means Alleyway, is accessible via the restaurant or Maidstone Street. Back at the restaurant, the menu features small plates, tostada, raw bar and sushi, dumplings and buns, tempura, main plates, sides, and desserts.

BEST FOR
Nikkei
WEBSITE
https://www.azabu.co.nz/
ADDRESS

26 Ponsonby Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland

CONTACT DETAILS
(09) 320 5292
OPERATING HOURS
Tues – Wed: 5 – 10pm
Thurs – Fri: 12 – 10pm
Sat – Sun: 4 – 10pm

This is my business

Highlites:

  • Nikkei and modern Japanese
  • Original menu
  • Lively atmosphere
  • Kids’ menu available

Every dish was outstanding! Excellent service and wonderful atmosphere.

Priscilla

Sakebar Nippon

Established in 1999 in Epsom, Sakebar Nippon is a traditional Japanese Izakaya restaurant that provides guests with an authentic Japanese experience. Seating is available where you can watch the chefs skillfully prepare your dishes. The servers are friendly and greet you wearing kimonos and customary dress. A second branch was opened in Takapuna in 2012.

The shared-style menu offers a variety of sashimi, tempura, charcoal-grilled skewers, main dishes, gyoza, and desserts. The menu includes photos of all the dishes to help you decide what to order. Everything is made from the finest ingredients. They offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. The restaurant can be booked for special functions and has a free karaoke bar.

BEST FOR
Vegans and Vegetarians
WEBSITE
https://www.sakebar.co.nz/
ADDRESS

415 Manukau Road, Epsom, Auckland

CONTACT DETAILS
(09) 630 2511
OPERATING HOURS
Tues – Thurs: 5:30 – 9pm
Fri – Sat: 5:30 – 10pm
Sun: 5:30 – 9pm

This is my business

Highlites:

  • Authentic Japanese experience
  • Finest ingredients
  • Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options
  • Nice atmosphere

Absolute favourite!!! Very friendly, very authentic. Love the vibe and energy from the moment you step in to when you leave.

Nerissa

MASU

Located in the Federal Street dining precinct, MASU is an exciting Japanese robata restaurant and bar known for bringing atmosphere, passion, and a contemporary twist to traditional robata cooking. Using fresh local ingredients, head chef Nic Watt takes a pure approach to cuisine, letting the food speak for itself.

The atmosphere at MASU is lively, informal, and unique, and the décor is clean and natural. Japanese Yum Cha, offered every Sunday from 11 to 2:30, is a brunch experience you won't want to miss. MASU has partnered with Zenkuro Sake to produce their very own sake that pairs perfectly with their cuisine. Specialties include sushi, sashimi, tempura, and robata grill.

BEST FOR
Robata
WEBSITE
https://skycityauckland.co.nz/restaurants/masu/
ADDRESS

Skycity, 90 Federal Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland

CONTACT DETAILS
(09) 363 6278
OPERATING HOURS
Mon – Fri: 5 – 9:30pm
Sat: 5 – 10pm
Sun: 11am – 9:30pm

This is my business

Highlites:

  • Japanese robata restaurant
  • Vegetarian friendly
  • Fresh ingredients
  • Variety of food stations

Fantastic restaurant. Cannot fault the service. Made my birthday extra special.

Maree

Taiko

Taiko is a Japanese restaurant and bar located in Kingsland next to the train station. They offer a range of traditional Japanese dishes, Japanese beer, fine wine, and sake. Known for its impressive presentations and fresh sushi, Taiko is great for both large groups and couples. Set menu banquet options are available.

Most diners order a variety of small plates to share. Extra dishes or repeated servings can be added at any time, and the dishes are served as soon as they are prepared. They will cater to people with allergies and are vegetarian-friendly. Available for private hire and group functions, they offer a special menu that features hot plates, set menus, and desserts.

BEST FOR
Traditional Japanese
WEBSITE
https://taiko.co.nz/
ADDRESS

460A New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland

CONTACT DETAILS
(09) 815 0610
OPERATING HOURS
Tues – Thurs: 12-2pm / 6-9pmpm
Fri: 12-2pm / 5:30-9:30pm
Sat: 12-2:30pm / 5:30-9:30pm
Sun: 12-2:30pm / 5:30-9pm

This is my business

Highlites:

  • Traditional Japanese dishes
  • Well-presented meals
  • Fresh sushi
  • Set menu banquet options

We went for lunch. The lunch there was absolutely amazing. My family really enjoyed. Great value and the taste was wonderful really Japanese flavor. We will definitely go there again.

Annie

Janken

JANKEN is a cozy little Japanese restaurant in Herne Bay that aims to provide healthy meals made from local ingredients. They also are dedicated to accommodating customers with special dietary requirements in order to bring people with different dietary needs together to enjoy their meals. They specialize in fresh Shojin-inspired Japanese dishes.

JANKEN is the Japanese name for the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” game. From ancient times, JANKEN has been used as a simple way to settle matters. Some of their specialties are sushi, sashimi, hotpot, ramen, mochi, and tahini tofu. A take-away menu and online ordering are available.

BEST FOR
Organic ingredients
WEBSITE
https://www.jankenjapanese.com/
ADDRESS

158 Jervois Road, Herne Bay, Auckland

CONTACT DETAILS
(09) 360 0555
OPERATING HOURS
Tues – Sat: 12-2:15pm / 5:30-8:30pm
Sun: 5:30-8:30pm

This is my business

Highlites:

  • Shojin-inspired Japanese cuisine
  • Caters to special diets
  • Friendly service
  • Small and cozy atmosphere

This is a lovely place to eat. the staff are wonderful and the food is excellent.

Felicity

Sake Bar icco

Sake Bar icco is a warm and cozy Japanese restaurant in Kingsland that offers fresh sashimi, sushi, and more. The word ‘icco’ means one house in Japanese, and the restaurant aims to make guests feel like they are dining at a friend’s house. At Sake Bar icco, you will find some of the best authentic Japanese food and an excellent selection of sake.

The service is professional and the atmosphere is very simple and Japanese. They are vegetarian-friendly and feature a full bar, shared plates, and a lunch menu. For lunch, they offer a lunch box-style menu. The dinner menu includes starters, small plates, a handful of main-sized dishes, and more. The Angus steak and agedashi shiki tofu are highly recommended.

BEST FOR
Sake!
WEBSITE
http://sakebaricco.co.nz/
ADDRESS

601 New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland

CONTACT DETAILS
(09) 849 7268
OPERATING HOURS
Sun – Mon: Closed
Tues: 5:30-8:30pm
Wed – Sat: 11:30am-1:30pm / 5:30-8:30pm

This is my business

Highlites:

  • Authentic Japanese food
  • Excellent selection of sake
  • Professional service
  • Warm and cozy atmosphere

This place is fantastic. Junko and Tom are absolutely lovely. Everytime we’ve been there the food, atmosphere and customer service has been consistently at 100%.

Avisha

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