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In the past few years, quite a few yakitori restaurants have opened in Auckland – casual joints where you can get Japanese tapas, drink a couple of Sapporo and come out on the lighter side of $30. Nishiki is, in our view, the best of them.

It’s in a sort of restaurant dead zone, an inexplicably bleak shopping centre in Freemans Bay. Inside, it’s woodsy. It’s always full and it has frazzled waitresses who don’t speak much English. Come 7.30 on a Saturday night, it’s noisy. It is, in short, exactly what you want this sort of restaurant to be.

The menu is huge and the Asahi comes on tap. Agedashi tofu ($6.50) is silky and sticky; the brilliantly named beinasu misocheese – aubergine cooked with miso and topped with grilled cheese – is sticky and salty and sweet. We highly recommend the beef tataki ($8), lightly grilled beef with a garlic soy sauce, and we also insist that you order the grilled oyster mayonnaise ($7.50), which is entirely wrong yet somehow right. Salads are a highlight. Kamayaki ($7), a grilled salmon wing, is delightful. The sashimi ($13 to $35) is credible and the takoyaki (octopus balls, $9) are heavenly.

Which is a long way of saying: it’s all good. Go tonight. SFG

HOURS Tuesday to Sunday, 6pm to 11pm.

ADDRESS 100 Wellington Street, Freemans Bay, ph 376-7104.

IMPORTANT DETAILS If you don’t have a booking on a Friday or Saturday, try a walk-in about 9pm – tables usually come free then.


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