Ebisu: Metro Top 50 Restaurants 2014
116-118 Quay St, Britomart. Ph 300-5271, ebisu.co.nz.
Lunch Monday-Friday, dinner 7 days. $$
Now this is lovely. Ebisu is all dark timber and tan leather in a century-old brick warehouse on Auckland’s waterfront: massive, ancient beams hold the whole place up. During the day it’s awash with filtered light and by night it’s darkly atmospheric. Which would count for nothing if the food wasn’t as good as it is: you might describe it as a modern izakaya — there are all the familiar favourites, running from sashimi through agedashi tofu to chicken karaage, only here they’re tweaked and pulled, subtly, just enough that you know they’re thinking. And there are more experimental dishes, too — duck, lamb. But the remarkable thing about this place is that it’s not expensive: you won’t pay much more than you do in any number of average izakaya places around Auckland, yet Ebisu presents the food so enticingly, gives you a nice wine list and very good service, and lets you relish the charms of that beautiful building.
A favourite dish: Crisp soft-shell crab served with wasabi tartare and orange ponzu.
Shared-plate options / Takes large groups / Bar / Bookings not usually taken for dinner