57 Fort St, City. Ph 300-7252.
Lunch Monday-Friday; dinner Monday-Saturday.
It’s hard to think of anyone in Auckland more passionate about their restaurant and the food they cook in it than Yael Shochat, who runs Ima. The dishes are Israeli with liberal doses of other Middle Eastern and North African cuisines — in Shochat’s world, food is the essence of community, and she loves to share. She’s also a superb cook. Her brikk — a tuna dish featuring a soft egg wrapped in paper-thin warqa pastry she makes herself — offers one of the great eating experiences of Auckland, and her seven-hour lamb is perfect for those times when all you really want is an informal, relaxed and simply lovely dinner. Ima no longer does breakfast, which will disappoint some, but the upside is that more of Shochat’s culinary love goes into the other meals — and the super-tasty mezze menu she offers between meals. The Fort St area is changing fast, with “shared space” streets and new hospitality outlets, but none offer quite the charm or uniqueness of Ima.
A favourite dish: Brikk (tuna with pastry and egg).
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