Reviews for Kushi Japanese Kitchen & Bar
by Genie @ BunnyEatsDesign
6 days ago
Tucked away in a random spot in the city and unexpectedly lovely, Kushi is a beautiful wooden space with intimate booths and tables.
Serving decent Japanese food right in the heart of the city, Izakaya style food, and a little bit of fusion. They have a very well thought out drinks and snack combo menu worth trying and I can see this being popular with the lunch and afterwork drinks crowd. A great place for Japanese food lovers and adventurous eaters, though there are plenty of safe options. Some vegetarian options, but most bento sets come with sashimi so check with your waiter. Special dietary requirements are not marked on menu.
We dined during Auckland restaurant month and had their 2 course special for $25. A selection of edamame, sashimi and the chef’s choice of 4 bites to start, followed by your choice of main – options include teriyaki chicken, butterfly prawn, spicy chicken, spicy salmon, fish katsu or crispy tofu. Served with tempura, rice and fruit.
We loved the chef’s choice of starters. A nice selection of different things that was fun to discover and eat. The sashimi was lovely and the meatball very good.
While the starters were great, the mains are only OK. I found all the mains we ordered were very sweet. The prawns were unexpectedly sweet and fruity. It tasted like a dessert. Not unpleasant, just unusual when you’re expecting a main. Great presentation though, we didn’t expect this level of presentation for a $25. Avoid if you don’t like Japanese food. or seafood Most bento sets come with sashimi and ours came with raw octopus so if you are picky about raw seafood, please check with your waiter.
The service was friendly but absent which was disappointing. After we got our first drinks order, there were no more drinks orders and no one checked up on us during our meal. One drink was forgotten completely but there was no one to tell. Water was never topped up during our meal, but after our table was cleared we were about to leave.
I would recommend this place for a cheap, casual lunch or dinner. Due to the lack of drinks service, this might not be a good place for special occasions or to impress...though they have a (very confusing reward) system for birthday parties.
10 days ago
Ok. So it might be Korean owned but who cares:It's hard to tell. Effective decor and efficent Japanese staff creates an authentic atmosphere. Stick an overly enthusiastic Japanese drum show into the mix (Friday evenings only) and you have the makings of a memorable evening. Generous cuts of sashimi, well-rolled sushi and zingy tataki made up for the rather insipid gyoza. Salt and pepper chicken yakatori and crisp Asahi also hit the mark.
by Eli A
one month ago
I have been visiting with Kushi almost since it started, and I keep going back, and taking friends and family with me. Everyone I have brought here loved the food, and said they are coming back. Service is great usually, and the prices are excellent. Love the drumming and the decor :-)
one month ago
I love Kushi, a little hidden gem in the CBD. I have only ever been for lunch and it has been delicious. The lunch specials are good value for money with generous portions. I recommend the Yakiniku Bento. The service here is great and the staff are very friendly.
one month ago
Kushi has nice food but nothing special, nice atmosphere though. Good Chicken Karaage but I wouldn't recommend their Okonomiyaki, it's a bit bland.
one month ago
If you are looking for the best Japanese lunch venue, then look no further! It's always a complete pleasure to eat here, and the quick fire lunch menu is great! I usually go for the Fish Katsu, see photo. Friday evenings they have an impressive drumming routine, phone first in case it is cancelled. Make sure you say hi to the irrepressible Lucy, and don't forget to get a loyalty card, the points add up very quickly! One of the best things about this restaurant is the seriously authentic interior and the very comfy booths...!
2 months ago
Ive been there couple of times with friend. The atmosphere was good, and the staff are very friendly, feel relax in this restaurant! sashimi always quite fresh, the cooking way of karaage is quite special and nice.The special experience for me was a drum show during the meal. Was shocked for their awesome performance. Should have asked more friends to come to see the show later on! it's worth to come to enjoy the nice food in a Japanese culture based atmosphere. Highly recommend Japanese restaurant in city centre.
by Georgie Bayly
2 months ago
Kushi is one of my favourite Japanese restaurants in town. I have taken various friends here on many occasions and each time has been great!
I especially enjoy coming in for lunch as they have a $11.95 special – you choose between chicken, fish or tofu and it comes served with rice, vegetables, sushi and miso soup. It is a cheap and tasty meal and very delicious!
I also love Kushi because they serve one of my favourite foods, Takoyaki. And they do it well. Takoyaki is a ball shaped Japanese snack with an octopus filling inside. I think it has a great flavour, a mix between sweet and savoury.
I will keep coming back to Kushi because the food is always yummy and the staff are very friendly which makes the experience even better.
3 months ago
Went there last night with my gf. From outside it looks very norm but ones you step in, it surprises you. It was a great atmodphere, lighting, music, furniture - whoa, we totally felt for a moment that we were in Japan.
Service was very friendly but what more amazed us was the food. Wow, was the word to describe it. Nicely priced, very affordable and ticks all the right boxes if you wanna give urself and friends a nice treat.
Its kind of hidden treasure but from what we witnessed I'll highly recommened Kushi as a great place and value for money. :-)
by Gina Des Baux
4 months ago
Went here for the first time last night after reading lots of good reviews for it on here. We booked in for 6.30 but were running late so I rung about 20 mins before to push our booking to 6.45 which was no problem at all. Got there and was really taken by the awesome interior design! The restaurant had a really nice atmosphere and loved that we were seated in a booth that is quite private from other diners. The food was excellent, everything tasted incredibly fresh including all of the seafood. I went there expecting smaller sized dishes but was surprised at how much food we actually got. My partner and I both ordered 3 dishes each and weren't able to finish everything. They also had some great dinner deals going. Service was friendly and polite and food was served efficiently. Would definitely recommend especially if you are looking for somewhere to go as a couple.
4 months ago
Kushi is one of my favourite lunch destinations when I want something that is filling but on the cheap side. For $12 they do an amazing lunch deal including your choice of a meat - beef yakiniku, teriyaki chicken, spicy chicken, chicken katsu or tofu plus a bowl of miso, rice, cabbage salad, sauteed veges, 2 x pieces of sushi and a potato croquette.
The food is all delicious and leaves you feeling pretty damn satisfied.
The space itself is really nice and simple - it's quite a large space so there's no getting squished up to other diners and usually it's pretty quiet at lunch so you can be served fairly quickly.
Long may that last however, I get the impression that it's becoming more popular and booking may be necessary for lunch in the future.
by Mike Ashby
5 months ago
Been here a couple of times now, and starting to get the hang of the menu.
Food is delicious, exotic and beautifully presented. It has the added advantage of being pretty healthy in terms of ingredients and preparation. The staff are friendly and helpful, and speed of service was reasonable.
We've ordered a lot of dishes over our visits, and never had a bad experience. The environment is classy, and even better, you can get a table on a Friday night. The drums are an added feature.
Will definitely be back.
by Jun Kim
5 months ago
The food and service is great. I have brought my friends three times and my family once to this restaurant, all of whom were first visitors. Expectantly they all loved the food and the atmosphere. Of the four visits, I used the entertainment vouchers which they accepted without any hassle. Although the discounts did not apply to food that were already on special, this was understandable as they were quite heavily discounted. I would definitely recommend this place!
by Asian Fan
5 months ago
Nice restaurant.. Great atmosphere. Sushi, salami, sashimi are very nice! But bento,,, hmmm not so good.. Too many deep fried stuffs, very greasy. I couldn't finish the meal cuz everything was full of oil.. Deep fired, tempura veg , mayo sauce, donkatsu, prawn tempura @@ OMG too much! If you wanna give that much oily stuffs, I think you should serve some hot tea with it.. Like Chinese dim sum.. The price was quite high but good enough for the quality meal and service. I wouldn't say the service was bad, but the staff actually took my order wrong, I orders scott filet dish, not bento set, but he got bento for us, which is a lot more expensive. We didn't realise that until we come to pay for the meal. I didn't want to make him in trouble so we didn't say anything about it. Would it be a good idea to train the staffs to repeat and confirm the order before passing to the kitchen?
6 months ago
Having lost my cheap/cheerful go-to Japanese place in Lorne street to development (IMHO - ruined), I needed to find a replacement for a catch-up lunch. I read the reviews on this site and gave Kushi a well placed punt. The entrance and address doesn't lend much to Kushi's business but it's a winner. A Japanese version of the TARDIS, Kushi opens into a groovy but traditional interior with lots of booths and a very chillaxed group of people enjoying their lunch. In a previous review of an establishment further down town I mentioned the bearded geek-chic of the self-selected group of punters. This gaff is full of the well groomed and mid-priced suited members of the local chambers - not so much as a 'tache let alone unsuitable stubble here. Luckily the, undoubtably world-shaking and confidential, conversations were all conducted sotto voce and therefore the ambiance was as far from the braying of a Ponsonby eatery as Putin is from the truth. It did seem that most of the lunchers were enjoying the $9.95 lunch combo which looked great; lone diners had a chic wooden bar to eat at. We, as gastronomes, dived into the menu and shared a full priced 'lunch' of unagi and accompaniments - sushi, miso etc. We beefed it up with gyoza, seaweed salad, octopus nigiri, an additional miso and the indispensable takoyaki. I judge a Japanese restaurant on their tofu agedashi but it wasn't available as an add on - I would suggest it is as one of the set meals includes it. If that and ikura appeared on the menu, this would be my perfect place in the city. The staff were great, we had Lake Chalice s/b which is perfect with the food and were delighted when we left. The lovely lady who took the payment was slightly surprised at our bill which suggests that, at lunch at least, it's a cheap place underused.
by Char & Ricky Pundog
6 months ago
Go there for a lot of work lunches, the food is always good and served quickly. Staff are great and make us feel really welcome every time my work crew visits. The $10 lunch special is a good option especially if you order the spicy chicken.
by Chai Ang
9 months ago
So much space/seating in this restaurant. It's secretly tucked in the middle of the city, with really good Japanese cuisine and the awesome beer tower selection, I'm surprised this restaurant isn't always packed. Having brought a large group of people to have dinner here (on short notice as well) they accommodated well and the service was very friendly and fun. With a loyalty card service as well, it definitely makes me feel rewarded every time I visit (even though I feel great already for the food). Don't forget they also do takeaways! - a takeaway Kushi is right next to the main restaurant.
by My Dining Journey
9 months ago
Hidden in a little side road off Queen Street, Kushi is out of sight and easy to miss, if you're not looking. We only came across this Japanese restaurant by chance, while looking for a quick bite to eat before the NZ Opera. Japanese is one of my most loved cuisine; their use of different seasoning, flavours and cooking techniques brings out the best in the ingredients and we are spoilt for choices when it comes to great Japanese restaurants in Auckland.
We ordered several items from their menu, including one of their happy hour specials where we had two small bottles of cold sake and a serving of gyoza for $20. The pork and vegetable gyoza and kaarage chicken were fresh out from the kitchen, served piping out with a fragrant soy dipping sauce and a side of creamy mayonnaise. The slices of lightly seared rare beef for the tataki had a delicious hint of sesame oil and this, along with the chicken was served with a fresh green salad. The okonomiyaki (aka Japanese savoury pancake) was made up of a combination of shredded cabbage, thin shreds of pork and assorted seafood. This was covered with a generous amount of mayonnaise, bonito flakes and okonomiyaki sauce. Unfortunately, this dish came last and by the time it arrived, we were both full.
There are a few Japanese restaurants that I frequently go to and if Kushi offers better parking, it will be one of them. The food took slightly long to come out from the kitchen despite having only a few customers, but our waitress was attentive, the food tasted great and the restaurant's decor is charming with areas that offer a more private seating arrangement. It was an overall well-rounded meal, a place worth trying if you're ever in town!
If you like this review, please check out my dining blog -http://mydiningjourney.wordpress.com for more!
by Where's The Food?
9 months ago
This cosy restaurant combines tasty Teppanyaki dishes and an amazing ambiance to deliver a fantastic dining experience. I was initially unsure about the fact that I would end up celebrating my birthday at a generic Japanese restaurant but the staff at Kushi were welcoming and the perfectly cooked salmon steak and scotch fillet left us completely satisfied. The dinner set portions are generous so be sure to take a few friends with you to get the best value for your dollar. Modestly priced, this gem offers the best bang for your buck and I was pleasantly surprised when the chef came out and sang the birthday song, ukulele in hand. Their wide range of premium sake ensured that we left with our bellies full, of scrumptious food and liquor. Overall, this was a meal I will not forget, and definitely be back for more.
10 months ago
Cut above the rest, does towers of beer too in case the nearby BlueStone Room is overcrowded. Good place for a big group to have dinner with beers after. Service is attentive, courteous, and efficient!
by Kate Smith
Oct 01, 2013
I had a delicious dinner out with my bestie at Kushi on a Saturday night.
The waitresses were really friendly and offered my friend so many alternatives when her fav wine wasn't available.
The food was delicious - especially the agedashi tofu... so flavoursome and a hint of something I couldn't quite put my finger on, but very tasty.
Great location in the center of the city with really reasonable parking just opposite.
An all round great dining experience!
by Liz Winstone
Oct 01, 2013
Delicious Japanese food, in a really great setting.
We loved the option of booth-seating - because it makes it really private - we actually couldn't see any other diners from our secluded space. Loved it!
We bought a variety of different dishes and shared them. The standout delicious things for me included the sweet potato tempura dipped in delicious sauce; the beautiful green spinach with 'goma' (I had to look it up on my phone to find out what goma was) which was very yummy; and my perennial favourite Agedashi Tofu (a super thin layer of something a little crisp, not quite a batter, not quite tempura...) on the outside; with a bit of spring onion and some flakey pieces of mystery-something on the top; and of course the silky tofu, flavoured by the salty delicious sauce that the pieces were sitting in.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the Teriyaki Salmon Set. Everything delicious and fresh and it should be.
Service at Kushi was very good, once we were seated. Room for improvement, could be that somehow this restaurant needs to find a way for kitchen / front of house team to be made instantly aware when people have arrived through the door... so they can shout out that cool Japanese greeting that some places do (maybe mirrors or cameras could fix the problem that staff can't see people walking in around the corner?). When I walked in, staff were busy elsewhere, and I felt very lost ... it took a full 3 minutes of standing about feeling out-of-place for someone to come and welcome me!
Once seated, our two waitresses were exceptional, and really provided outstanding service.
Thank you! It was a really lovely evening.
Jul 20, 2013
Food and setting very nice but the service very lacking. I made a booking for lunchtime midweek for 9 and had to ask twice for enough menus for for everyone and twice for someone to take a drink order. Although food and ambience was nice, the service left a LOT to be desired.
by Arnz Watt
Jul 10, 2013
The food, service and setting is amazing. Best Japanese in Auckland. Lunch service is great, quite fast and definitely value for money. My favourite for lunch is the spicy chicken. The dinner menu is awesome, so many great choices and everything is delicious. The staff there really make you feel welcome and are very attentive. The loyalty card is great too!
by Stace Mills
Jul 10, 2013
Kushi is our fav Japanese Restaurant ever! The atmosphere and people are fantastic and the food is always amazing! And the pricing is very reasonable! We love coming in often for a delicious meal. Would highly recommend this place!
by Graham Brown
Jul 05, 2013
This was another amazing find in Auckland. Out of all of the Japanese restaurants that I searched through I'm glad that I chose Kushi.
From the young lady welcoming me to their restaurant, the experience was a good one. The 25 piece sashimi was A) huge and B) beautiful, not only in presentation but taste.
The waiter was very attentive and also asked whether I wanted my sake re-heating once my main came out.
Overall a very nice, well presented restaurant and yes, I will certainly go there again. They also have some very good offers on - especially if there are two people sharing meals.
by Josie Amon
Jun 05, 2013
Delicious Japanese food, great ambience, good prices and if you are lucky you get an amazing drum performance. Oh yes, great service as well. Been there at least 10 times this year so far.
It is convenient that it is just across the road from where I live.
by Annie Butcher
Jun 05, 2013
Absolutely love this place! Is one of my favorite places in the city for lunch, and an amazing Japanese place! Service is fantastic - the staff are so friendly & the decor is great. Would definitely recommend it to others & quite regularly have!
by Aileen Cheng
Jun 05, 2013
Delicious Japanese food. Lovely friendly service. Conveniently located in Auckland CBD. Affordable prices especially at lunch time. Great atmosphere for group dinners or romantic date dinners. A really fun surprise drumming performance at 7:30pm on Friday and Saturday nights I think. Really awesome discounted birthday special thank you.
I have been twice for lunch with 1 other person and dinner with 1 person and a group dinner with 10 people.
by Rafael Ikeda
Jun 05, 2013
-Nice Staff and service
-We got great deals on my wife's and friends birthday
-Parking deal as well
-Great food! Shabu shabu is the best!
But karaage chicken has a modern twist with rice puffs, would prefer without it and some the crispy fried skin.
Recommend to all!
by Carine Claudepierre
Apr 15, 2013
I highly recommend this place that we discovered with my husband few month ago (almost when they opened the place). First the atmosphere of the restaurant is beautiful, brand new, a bit dark and intimate to have a dinner as a couple. Then, the food is awesome really different to other Japanese restaurants. I hate going to a restaurant which does not surprise me ! Here you will be amazed by the different way they prepare dishes. Our favourite dishes are the chicken Karaage (crusty breadcrumb with puffy rice I guess and nice tartare sauce to go with it, camembert skewer and beef tataki. Finally, the team is really polite, smiling and will do anything to make your dinner perfect.
by Kiki Benton
Mar 28, 2013
One of the best Japanese restaurants I have been to in Auckland. Modern interior and very helpful staff.
Fantastic food and service!
They do a brilliant karage chicken with rice bubbles!
by Auckland Based Critic
Mar 12, 2013
Large sliecs of Sashimi, if you are a sashimi fan, do try the large sashimi plater :)
Went yesterday and they also had live drum band playing which was very entertaining to watch while dining.
The tatakis here are really nice, whether it be beef or tuna. Really refreshing taste.
Wait time: 4/5
Food Quality and taste: 4/5
Price range: $40+ pp
Feb 08, 2013
Happen to be looking for a place to dine one dec night, quite late on saturday evening,and stumbled across Kushi, we were starving so we just walked and they seated us pretty much straight away which was great, they were very friendly and quick on their feet. they took our orders and food came shortly after, presentation wise was 5stars, and the flavours were all there too. very much enjoyed our meals(bento boxes) they were a little pricier than some other Japanese restaurants we have been too, but the it was a bonus because we got 50% off my husbands meal, if it is the week of your birthday you can get 50% off your main.woohoo for us. the decor is fantastic and the toilets were spotless and so so nice, lighting and decor 2thumbs up. the music so so fantastic too, we asked where we could get our hands on those tracks it was so good.
the only down for me personally was that it was a little too dark in there, maybe they dimmed the lights down that night for some reason, but other than that, its a wonderful place to dine. 4.5 stars from me.:-)
by Katherine Marshall
Jan 30, 2013
Went to Kushi with a friend of mine after buying a deal voucher.
by Monica Chen
Jan 07, 2013
I love coming to this place for some good Japanese food. It's in a bit of a secret location but I recommend a go. Quite a large, spacious restaurant so lots of places to sit with a nice Japanese decour. Staff are friendly and explained any Japanese items we were unsure of, were also dressed in kimonos which was nice. Food is very good and well priced, came out quickly though you have to order a few things as the portions aren't that big. I would recommend beef tataki and karage chicken as my favourite things but there is good variety on the menu!
by Frankie Kaleta
Jan 04, 2013
Another fantastic Japanese restaurant!
Service was flawless, I was warmly welcomed and served promptly. Food came out at excellent speed, and everything was delicious!
The atmosphere itself is very authentic, with excellent decor.
Great place to take someone to get there first taste of Japanese cuisine because everyone is so friendly and helpful, not to mention very clean.
I can't fault this place at all. Wonderful experience!
by Wilma Burich
Dec 13, 2012
What a surprise when I walked in. Fab decor, great service, good music. I agree could be one of Auckland's better Japanese restaurants. Waited a little longer than expected for my 2nd drink but hey I got to write this review in between.
by Allan Fong
Dec 03, 2012
Very good, food is great. Portions are slightly small but it is expected.
by Kelly S
Nov 18, 2012
It was proved to be a very satisfactory night we spent in the japanese restaurant. The atmosphere is terrific and the staff is very friendly. The food we ordered is among the best quality we had in various jap restaurants. Overall good value for the money spent, would come back again!
by Courtney Griffiths
Nov 01, 2012
A girlfriend and I went here with a deal voucher. We were early for our table but they let us come in anyway. Service was great, very helpful especially helping us pick some different things to the usual. Food was awesome, super filing and fresh! The atmosphere was relaxed and welcoming too. Although I have heard about the drummers we didn't see any, owell always next time!
Definately will be returning again!
Oct 02, 2012
Tried this place with deal voucher. The food was very very good, but customer service a bit average.
Aug 21, 2012
Lovely atmosphere and food :)
by Maria Pitkanen
Aug 14, 2012
Good atmosphere, good food. Went there a while back with a deal voucher, staff were very friendly and attentive. I could not find a lot of vegetarian options on the dinner menu so they let me order from the lunch menu as well. Would definitely go back.
by Lou Tui
Jul 25, 2012
Saw this restaurant in the north shore times and decided to try it out. It definitely was not a waste of our time. was impressed with the bubbly staff and how they were attentive. Have been twice now for dinner and will look forward to attending again. The prices were what we expected. The drumming performance was a lovely surprise not what we expected but enjoying and was just as enjoying again the second time round. Love and recommend this restaurant to anyone who loves Japanese food or just looking to try something different. Keep up the amazing work guys!<3
by Marinka S
Apr 12, 2012
Food is typical Japanese and yes there are no surprises about it. It is what you expect and deserve to get. The prices are ok as well taking the fact that is CBD restaurant. We were there three times already and will keep coming back. First time we were there it was day after they opened and I tell you the staff and service was implacable and personal.
We just love this place, simple, nice, consistent !!! Way to go guys.
Apr 02, 2012
Stumbled across this while looking for somewhere to eat (was originally going to BBQ King - then we saw this place). An amazing decor, lovely staff members - all so vibrant and lively. Bit disappointing they're actually Korean, but the food still tasted pretty good. A bit over-priced for the amount of food you get during their dinner session. It's worth a try as the food isn't too bad and the atmosphere and staff are great ^^
by Kevin Sharrock
Jan 18, 2012
I suggest you go here to have a lunch or diner. They made my wife, daughter feel special. the service and food was excellent. the decore outstanding. After just coming back from a holiday in Tokyo I felt I was there for the day - well done
Jan 12, 2012
Food was exceptional, and we were greeted warmly when we arrived. We had a deal voucher and unlike some other restaurants we have eaten with vouchers before this was not a problem for them and we were still treated well. Only complaint was with the waiting service, very slow to get any drinks and no follow up for drinks service. We ended up going up to the bar ourselves. If they can sort the service out then this will be a 5 star ... some of the best Japanese food I have eaten in NZ.
by Ben Sheehan
Jan 12, 2012
Visited on a relatively quiet Friday night and ordered a variety from the menu. The food came out relatively quickly - I was a big fan of the teriyaki chicken and tempura - beautiful and crispy. The salads were delicious, albiet slightly overdressed. I guess the one complaint I had was with the service - while the waiters were very polite, drinks service was very slow and they weren't attentive - we had to visit the bar on more than one occasion to order more drinks. I think with some fine tuning this could be one of the best Japanese places in town.
by Alex Middlemiss
Jan 02, 2012
We stumbled across Kushi on our way to CityLife hotel on New Years Eve, when we walked in we were greeted warmly straight away and asked if we had a reservation - by looking at their book they were going to have a busy night yet they found us a unreserved table and promptly brought our drinks and food came out within 15 minutes of placing our order
The rear tuna was amazing! as was the noodle dish we had and my friend had the chicken which looked as though it had cripsy noodles inside the deep fried batter - he loved. Could have done dessert as well as they looked very good but we were in a hurry.
Great $$ wise also. Good wine list as well
I will be going back again as I am a huge fan of Nishiki in Freemans Bay and this restaurant gives it a good run for its money.
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