193 Symonds St, Eden Terrace. Ph 377-8537, kazuya.co.nz.
Lunch Friday, dinner Tuesday-Saturday. $$$
Runner-up, best degustation / Finalist, best chef: Kazuya Yamauchi / Finalist, best service
Kazuya is like no other restaurant in the city. The food almost defies description. Chef Kazuya Yamauchi learnt his trade in a large Italian restaurant in Tokyo, and his dishes combine European ingredients with modernist techniques and exacting Japanese presentation. The kitchen team put hours of work into every ingredient, but somehow manage to offer one of the best-value degustations in town, while the wait staff work to achieve perfection — white gloves, precision table settings and an informative little talk about any element of your dish you ask about. Their little block on Symonds St is not the most auspicious spot for a fine-dining restaurant, but they do well with what they have. Once inside, you’ll forget about the wig shop next door and be trans-ported by the unique dining experience the team from Kazuya have created.
A favourite dish: “Texture”: 30-plus textured seasonal vegetables with prosciutto.
Fixed-price meals / Degustation / Good seating outside / Takes large groups / Bar / Craft beer selection