Cheap Eats 2015: Japanese

by Metro Magazine / 16 September, 2015
Ramen Takara

Ramen at Ramen Takara, photographed by Simon Young


The best places to eat Japanese food in Auckland for under $20.

BANZAI


8/583 Dominion Rd, Balmoral
“Banzai” translates as “hurrah!” Which is what you’ll squeal once you score a table here. Banzai does an exemplary take on prawn tempura sushi roll, while the karaage chicken ticks all the right fried-fowl boxes. Add miso soup and a few slugs of warmed house sake and you’re set. Closed Mondays.

BIAN SUSHI


183 Symonds St, Eden Tce
Allan Jung has run Bian for 11 years, making some of the best sushi in town. His donburi, especially the teriyaki chicken, spicy chicken and teriyaki salmon, are also very good. And the pork katsu is proof that curry definitely has a place in Japanese cuisine.

HAPPY JAPANESE


3113 Great North Rd, New Lynn
Happy Japanese has moved from Kelston, which has made people in the know in New Lynn very happy indeed. The menu is simple and familiar — don buri through karaage and sashimi — but everything is done so nicely. The curries are a highlight.

NISHIKI


100 Wellington St, Freemans Bay
The waiters run around, everything is loud and it gets smoky, and these are just some of the reasons Nishiki has always been popular with locals and those in the know. There’s also the food: izakaya classics, all done just so. And it’s BYO, we love that too.

RAMEN DO


167 Symonds St, Eden Tce
This unassuming ramen bar is a haven from sprawling Symonds St. They make their own noodles and stock fresh each day, and you get to grind your own sesame seeds at the table to add for a garnish. The food is complex, rich and utterly nourishing. We love the char-shu miso ramen, and the exemplary Japanese service.

RAMEN TAKARA


272 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby
How we rejoiced when this famed Browns Bay ramen joint opened recently on Ponsonby Rd. There’s a heated courtyard and the same list of authentic, rich noodle soups you’ll find up the coast. Choose your own noodles, or go with what they suggest. The black sesame tan-tan is spicy and umami-laden and well worth a try — that’s if you’re venturing away from the hard-to-beat pork tonkatsu. They have a great drinks list, complete with cocktail specials.

SAKE BAR NIPPON


415 Manukau Rd, Epsom
Quiet date night? Forget it. From the booming of the taiko drum to the rousing “Irassaimase!” welcome, your quest for zen — and romance — may lie elsewhere. The huge menu spans all the usual suspects (skewers, sushi, sashimi et al), with plenty of fries and grills too. Like the hefty cabbage, bacon and prawn okonomiyaki (pancake), which is perfect for soaking up sake. Set menus suit larger groups, and party animals love the karaoke.

TANPOPO RAMEN


13 Anzac Ave, central city
You can get authentic ramen in outlets all across town now, but Tanpopo Ramen is still one of the finest. Our favourite? The vegetable-filled miso ramen, with pork-based broth and sweetcorn, seaweed and spring onion garnish. Ramen master Machio is at the helm in the kitchen. Don’t leave without trying his kimchi.

YOKOSO


241 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden
They have a window on to the street for takeout, while inside it’s all woody rusticity with live vibes provided, on occasion, by the ukulele-strumming owner. The simple menu delivers value and gratification aplenty, from the comprehensive sushi selection to the crunchy sauce katsu don: deep-fried pork and rice slathered in sweetish sauce and drizzled with Japanese mayo.

ZOOL ZOOL


405 Mt Eden Rd, Mt Eden
Zool Zool is a grown-up restaurant hiding in a ramen shop. The tonkatsu ramen, made with pork bone broth, is lovely and slurpy, the toppings tasty, and the noodles very moreish. Then there’s the “popcornesque” crispy baby crab: small, crispy, lightly battered, a little salty, crabby and ever so delightful. There’s lots of sake, and even a ramen broth/wine match list. To finish? Try the crème caramel, which comes in a small glass pot with a gold lid. Very sexy.

READ MORE: Top 10 Cheap Eats 2015, South Asian Cheap Eats, Best Dumplings in Auckland, Korean Cheap Eats, Best Pizza in Auckland for under $20

Latest

PM announces ban on all military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles
103805 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Crime

PM announces ban on all military-style semi-automa…

by RNZ

Ms Ardern pledged the day after the terrorist massacre that "gun laws will change" and would be announced within 10 days of the attack.

Read more
No mention of right-wing extremist threats in 10 years of GCSB & SIS public docs
103770 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Politics

No mention of right-wing extremist threats in 10 y…

by Jane Patterson

There is not one specific mention of the threat posed by white supremacists or right-wing nationalism in 10 years of security agency documents.

Read more
Deirdre Kent: The woman who faced down the wrath of Big Tobacco
103798 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Profiles

Deirdre Kent: The woman who faced down the wrath o…

by Joanna Wane

As the face of anti-smoking lobby group ASH, Deirdre Kent played a vital role in the smokefree New Zealand movement.

Read more
Māori leaders say acts of terror nothing new in NZ
103766 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Currently

Māori leaders say acts of terror nothing new in NZ…

by Leigh-Marama McLachlan

Māori leaders are calling on New Zealanders to reject the notion that 'this is not us' in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Read more
Cynthia Millar and the strange beauty of the ondes martenot
103723 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Music

Cynthia Millar and the strange beauty of the ondes…

by Elizabeth Kerr

The sci-fi sound of the ondes martenot is playing a key part in the upcoming performance of an epic symphony.

Read more
Christchurch gunsmith warned police about white supremacists last year
103662 2019-03-20 00:00:00Z Crime

Christchurch gunsmith warned police about white su…

by RNZ

A Canterbury gunsmith living and working says he told police less than six months ago they needed to look at the rise of white supremacists with guns.

Read more
12 moments that show how New Zealanders have united in the face of terror
103665 2019-03-20 00:00:00Z Social issues

12 moments that show how New Zealanders have unite…

by Vomle Springford

In the following days after the Christchurch terror attacks, New Zealand has come together to support the victims of the shootings.

Read more
How modern art inspired the music of Anna Clyne's Abstractions
103649 2019-03-20 00:00:00Z Music

How modern art inspired the music of Anna Clyne's…

by The Listener

The works of the English contemporary composer feature in the NZSO’s forthcoming The Planets series.

Read more