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[Pictures: David Straight]

Such is the pace of development at Britomart – where, lucky you, half a dozen restaurants have opened in the past year or so – that Ebisu is already something of a classic. When it first opened in March, we liked it, a lot. Though if we’re honest, we did wonder quite why you would go back often, rather than to one of the many very good – and cheaper – izakaya around town. The food was good, but it wasn’t, at first, a quantum leap.

That didn’t last long at all. There’s the room, of course – all leather caramel, dark wood and exposed brick and concrete. There’s a nice wine list. And there’s the food, which has gone from being good to outstanding.

The menu comes from Yukio Ozeki, formerly of Kura: think classics, intelligently tweaked. The Ebisu no osashimi ($29.50) is a plate of sashimi, which comes a creamy ginger and sesame dressing. It is heaven, even for sashimi purists. The soft shell crab no karaage ($16.50) is also heaven. Then there’s steak ($35): a terrific piece of Wakanui blue scotch, seared beautifully then sliced and served with three Japanese sauces, which is a standout. We are also enormously fond of the agedashi tofu ($13.50) and the hotate to shiitake (seared scallops, $19). It’s fast become one of our favourites. SFG 

HOURS Lunch, Monday to Friday, from 12pm. Dinner, Monday to Sunday from 5pm.

CONTACT DETAILS 116 Quay St, City, ph 300-5271.

IMPORTANT DETAILS No bookings for dinner, so be prepared to eat early or wait because it’s busy. Always.

SUSTAINABILITY In a perfect world, we’d like to see tuna disappear from sashimi menus, but they’ll leave it off if you ask.


  1. Soft shell crab.Yeeees. You are so right about it being “classic with a twist.” Agedashi tofu includes enoki mushrooms, smoked salt with edamame, soy butter (I’ve tried this at home and it is excellent!)…brilliant.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Permalink
  2. Genie wrote:

    Your Ebisu web link goes to David’s website.

    Nice write up by the way. I love the minimal decor too.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink
  3. sarah wrote:

    first time here just after it opened it was empty but service and food was great….really great. the next time, a few months later it was jammed at the bar, making eating less fun, and the maitre de was horrible. kept telling us she couldn’t do stuff ( like bring our food all at the same time , or leave off an ingredient on top of this dish, or basically give us and decent service) because it was very busy, very rudely. ended having a very uncomfortable show down with her at the table, her in almost a fit of rage. AND the food was so so average. never went back. have since heard a lot of bad stories.

    Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
  4. Charlotte wrote:

    Our first time there last night, a tuesday. Loved the atmosphere, cosily lit. Food was fantastic, lovely service. Can’t wait to go back.

    Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

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