Reviews for Sakebar Nippon Restaurant
by Eat Pray Love
one month ago
Just up the road from where I live, Sakebar is my go to Japanese restaurant!
Firstly the ambience is awesome! You are greeted with drums and Japanese greetings and the overall feel and look of the restaurant is great. Wooden stools and stone walls with an open style kitchen, it is a treat to see how the chefs go about cooking the meals.
The staff are always super friendly despite the slight language barrier. Personal favorites are the chicken pork and mushroom skewers (all seperate) and the mixed sushi platter. The sushi is warm an fresh tasting and you can tell they were just rolled to order (which is a treat compared to usual sushi joints) The teriyaki chicken is delicious as well and the takoyaki is a cheeky little treat too!
Last time my friend and I went to Sakebar they had a sticky date putting on their dessert menu which was new. (Photo attached). The pudding was so so so good, we ate it in seconds!!
Overall Sakebar is a really good Japanese place with superb food and excellent customer service:)
2 months ago
Fantastic meal for 9 after the movies . Fast & efficient. Staff super friendly ! Well priced including a basic wine and beer list .Booking essential. We booked through menu mania and the restaurant confirmed our booking by email the next morning. A yummy tasty meal. Perfect for sharing. We will be back. !!
by Mrs. Passionfruit
3 months ago
My go to place for nice, authentic Japanese dinner. The ambience is very Japanese, with flags, wooden tables, big rocks texture on the floor surface with happy, cheerful and helpful staff (in Japanese clothing) that are very accommodating. They're always busy; so expect to wait for a table or just simply book a table beforehand especially on weekends. They have function tables for larger groups upstairs, complete with free karaoke.
Food is fresh and exceptional. If you come in a group of 4 or more, I highly recommend their set menus; either $28 or $38. It's very filling and worth the money. I love their sashimi boat, it's so fresh and delicious I keep wanting more. Their deep fried squid leg is very succulent, crispy and juicy--definitely my favorite compared to their karaage, which is actually very good as well. Basically you can't go wrong with ordering anything on their menu. They have an extensive list of drinks menu, including the all time favorite Hakaissan cold sake, and of course Sapporo beer on tap.
Too bad place is not BYO and it can be a bit noisy on their busiest days, but hey it's definitely worth the visit!
by Arrianna Mathieson
3 months ago
Loved this place. We booked for a party of 20 people and they were very accommodating. No one had been there before and everyone absolutely loved it. Very few people in our party had even tried Japanese cuisine (except for sushi) so this was a great experience. Great lively atmosphere. We love the drum that announces arrivals and departures. The staff were so lovely. Very tasty food. My only constructive feed-back is that we were seated in an area where our shoes had to be removed. Some of the guys had come straight from work so their feet smelled rather funky. Perhaps an option to wash feet if seated in this area? Also, portions are rather small and I'm not a big eater so be prepared to order 4 - 5 dishes. Can't wait to go back again.
by Katy Turner
5 months ago
Absolute favourite of mine from when I lived in Epsom a few years back. Was always a fab place to go with a group of friends to drink, eat and chat (and sing, if we drink too much). Moved out of town 18months ago but excited to be going back with 2 friends (who haven't been before) tomorrow night. Will adjust rating accordingly soon :)
Food & service are both great! I cant wait to go back
by Ronnie Cheung
7 months ago
Excellent food, excellent atmosphere, friendly and helpful staff. Good venue for big groups and parties.
I can always rely on this restaurant for quality authentic Japanese food and service. Prices are reasonable as well.
by My Dining Journey
7 months ago
My family and I recently celebrated my mum's birthday at Sake Bar Nippon on a Sunday night, which we managed to make a group booking last minute. The tradition when entering Sake Bar Nippon is a warm greeting from the staff where you are welcomed in with a beating of a drum and a cheerful shout. It might be a gimmick but it creates a lively atmosphere and at times, the diners will shout along with them (probably after a few sakes!!) For the past several years, I've eaten here during numerous occasions. Back before the abundance of new Japanese eateries, this was the place to be. But because of new addition to the Auckland dining scene, it's been a while since I've been here.
We ordered a good variety of dishes. The portion of the sushi rolls (Californian and Tempura Prawns) were decent, but the tempura coating of the prawns had soften by the time it was served to us. Likely due to the moisture from the rice. The sashimi boat had a good variety of different seafood including squid, salmon, snapper and scampi. The prawn takoyaki was delicious, it was dressed with a tasty takoyaki sauce, a drizzle of mayonnaise and topped with bonito flakes. The lightly fried karaage chicken had a thin layer of crispy batter which helped retain the moisture of the chicken pieces and it was scrumptious. We also ordered a few types of skewers, tako wasabi, prawn and vegetable tempura.
The taste of the food hasn't changed and it is still a great standard but the decrease in menu selection was a huge disappointment. Some of the dishes are also covered up with stickers, indicating that it is no longer available. The portion has also gone down in size. The vegetable tempura ($14) had only five small pieces which was rather ridiculous for the price and the skewers ($8) was expensive for what it is.
Sake Bar Nippon is overall more expensive compared to the likes of Keni Yakitori Bar and Nishiki.
For more reviews, please check out my blog - http://mydiningjourney.wordpress.com
by Maggie G
7 months ago
A long time favourite of our whole family, there's probably not too many dishes on the menu we haven't tried! Can highly recommend - sushi and sashimi boat, scallops, tuna or beef tataki, chicken karoage ,teriyaki chicken , spinach salad, chicken livers(some of us have ordered them instead of dessert !) okonomayake,squid..........
Go here for a great experience! Joy and her family welcome you with drum rolls, serve you great food and a good selection of Japanese and local beers, a fair wine list and lots of fun and enthusiasm!
by Alistair Ross
8 months ago
The first time I was taken to this restaurant, I was taken by a girl who told me that 'all her previous relationships had ended shortly after going for a meal here'. Now if there's ever a statement to give you an indication about what the rest of the experience would be like, then I was ready to be horrified by the place!
Fortunately, two years on, and I'm still with the same lovely girl and we've both been back to Sake Bar Nippon several times, because it's so darn good! It's a true sake bar in the Japanese sense of the experience. You enter the restaurant and the chef bangs on his drum and greets his new guests.
Honestly, everything on the menu here is awesome. I've tried some things that I thought I wouldn't like, and they are still great. Chicken Teriyaki is still a favourite of mine from 'Nippon, simply because they execute such a simple dish so well.
To be honest, the food is a little on the pricey side, and most times I've not come away with change of a hundy for two folks with a few drinks thrown in for decent 'extra lubricative' measure, but hell, if that's the cost of a successful relationship, fellas, she's worth it ;)
by Amanda Choong
Aug 27, 2013
My husband and I like the food offered. We have tried most of the items on the menu. It is always good and consistent, plus attentive service.
I have rated 4 stars as I believe there is always room for improvement.
Jul 28, 2013
Wonderful restaurant, great slightly cheaper alternative to more expenisve japanese restaurants. Especially delicious miso soup. I would definitely recommend their spinach salad, with generous bacon, tomato and a great dressing. Great atmosphere, on every entrance and exit the chef's will bang on drums and chant! Very welcoming, great food, generally fast service
by Michelle Bailey
Jun 17, 2013
Wow!!!!! My partner and I were really impressed with this place, food came out quickly, service was amazing, the friendliest I have had in a long time, can not speak highly enough of this place, this is our new local!
by Michelle Wells
May 24, 2013
Terrible. We were in a large group. Service was terrible. Food cold and oily. We were there for an hour waiting for first course of a set menu. Drinks didn't arrive, portions were badly estimated. We left hungry. Will not be back!
by Andrew Thompson
Mar 18, 2013
This is an amazing restaurant with a menu to suit any taste. We went with our kids and it's a great family occasion. The Teriyaki Chicken is to die for! It's a consistently good dining experience and great prices. The service is friendly and fast.
Mar 15, 2013
I love this place. The restaurant has a lovely cosy feel, my favourite spot is on the counter where you can watch the magic being made. The sushi and sashimi are decent but the real stars are the grilled dishes. Some edamame to start then into favourites such as the grilled Hapuka wings, prawn mayo, pork skewers all washed down with sake or cold Japanese beer. Run don't walk, you won't be disappointed. I never am ;)
by Ira Rawiri
Mar 15, 2013
I have been to quite a few Japanese restaurants in and around Auckland and I can honestly say the food doesn't quite measure up to the taste and presentation of what I have experienced at both Sake Bar Epsom and Sake Bar Takapuna. I don't drink alcohol but they have a great selection of Japanese beers & Sake (everybody's favourite), red & white wine and also non alcoholic drinks for people like me...
My favourite dishes are Oyster & Mussell Mayo, all Tempura, Chicken Teriyaki, Chicken Karage to name a few... and for the vegetarian you can't go past the steamed broccoli with their special mouth watering sauce. All I can say is you have to try it out for yourself....
Feb 01, 2013
Casual and welcoming ambience (they bang on the drums and call out when you come in and out too), large menu, and it's always entertaining watching the chefs at the teppanyaki, especially when they need to adjust the heat partway through by pulling out pliers. Sushi possibly not the freshest, but most dishes we tried had good flavours.
Oct 29, 2012
Part I- You may make all sorts of friends in Auckland but a denizen of it soon realizes that the weather will never be his pal. It is more fickle than most chicks in this land. At the height of this year's particularly intemperate winter, when I was searching for a stalwart bar, I came upon Sakebar Nippon in Epsom. And a batch of warm tidings soon came into my receipt.Their drinks menu has eclectic variety and economical prices- both hot and cold sake are presented in mild,medium and very dry varieties. Shochu (Japanese vodka at 25% alcohol) ,plum wine and various fruit-based non-alcoholic drinks round out the quaffing section.
The food menu has commendable variety, listing dozens of both meat-based and vegetarian dishes that comprise mostly entrees and mains, and a much smaller dessert section.
For my first "sauced" meal, I sought privacy at a corner table tucked into the far end of this joint, but soon realized that the counter-side seats were the the hub of a hubbub which was steadily proving to be rather appealing. However, I was solaced by the fact that most of the dishes I ordered during that visit were above average.
A roasted whole Mackerel for $12 was seasoned with restraint and keenly revealed its piscine edge- it is better suited for serious seafood aficionados. Deep fried chunks of chicken (Karaage) were excellent bite-size morsels- delightfully crisp, not overly oily ,with its finely spiced coating that ensconced soft meat. As that evening and crowd were drawing to an ebb, and the previously hassled waitresses now had much more leisure, my service did not suffer.
The Pork skewers at $7 for a duo were a excellent deal -2 snappily rendered pieces of these were a pleasure to chew on and savour as they spunkily released their carnal flavours and slid down the palate. The same accolades cannot however be bestowed on their ginger-stirfried counterparts which slipped more into the category of regulation bar-food that calls little attention to itself.
150ml of hot sake (it was winter) at $12 ably manages to massage your cockles and whet the appetite. It has a fermented tinge to it,which many people soon get used to. When you're seated counter-side, it is more interesting to watch the preparation of the Fried Rice - an omelette created and chopped into the rice,prawns and veg-gobbets which are all tossed and coaxed into a snug boat-shaped hillock -rather than eat it. A famished mouth might wolf that Asian archetype down here, but more watchful palates will likely employ considerably less gusto .My dessert ,served with two slices of that Japanese meal-ending favorite -grapefruit- was green tea ice-cream whose flavours spoke in whispers that did not inveigle..But on the whole, I was satisfied on finding this robustly run bar that provides good kick for money.And then there are the goofy frills- Many a time, whenever customers enter or leave this joint, the staff ,time and inclination permitting, will yell in Japanese while pounding on a drum to express a kind of jolly primal appreciation for your patronship. It's a welcome atavistic send-off compared to 'see ya later mate'...;)
Part II - (There is no provision here for a separate review of the same place from the same author)- Visits after the first one were sobering,despite the Shochu and counter-side seating. Familiarity and proximity often breed attenuation if not contempt. My full-time hostess this time was the pretty rarely glimpsed girl from the last visit- she still exuded dulcet appeal but the throb in my gaze was gone. For first course,I ordered whole squid. Right in front of me, the chef fished out a specimen from the supplies and placed it on the grill. The length-wise body,crested by the fanned-out fin, along with a separate cut of tentacles was patiently roasted,then diced spiffily and presented with mayo and a wedge of lemon. The squid's flavour alas was undiscernible; most of the marine seductive innocence had been grilled right out of it.It was flecked by a caramelized broth which oozed notes of little consequence.
More entertaining again was the field of my vision beyond the plate,rather than the sensation on my tongue. The night for the restaurant was petering to a close, but I still got to witness interesting sights like the chef using a blow torch to scorch scallops topped with melting dollops of mayonnaise, before easing them onto a plate for the scallop mayo appetizer. Umpteen orders for "saikoro beef", were coolly executed- the orange of the carrots contrasted against the green of the beans as classic Nipppon accompaniments to a hunk of beef neatly roasted & steadily chopped into chunks. I was most fascinated on seeing a big roasting skillet that had hemispherical hollows in which seafood-stuffed dumplings were sizzling. These are called Takoyaki- from a distance at least,they bear identical resemblance to Appo -rice cakes that are roasted in similar vessels and served in South Karnataka cuisine to great effect with chutneys. I ordered prawn Takoyaki- half a dozen of these dumplings were tucked snugly onto a compact plate, drizzled with laces of mayo-soy and finally sprinkled with bonito flakes that did a enchanted dance as steam tickled them from underneath. The interior of these steamed spheres however is semi-liquid and thus stays frustratingly extra-hot for a long time. Anyway,these mimicked a savoury custard that is softly ripe with umami- upon biting into these orbs, the mouth fills with a moist savoury fullness that eventually peaks with the crisp succulence of prawns.'Twas worth ordering. Prawn tempura was middling- flavourful pizazz eluded it. The date pudding - a sphere straddling the texture between custard and cake- was served with ice-cream and fruits -it will make a student pass but will condemn a super-chef to flunk his last-quarter exams.
As a experience-concluding order, I asked for roasted Eel hoping that an elite rendition of this Japanese special would enable me to slip away with happy memories in the end,but I was informed that supplies of this had slid away from the kitchen's stores.But who knew- perhaps a snappy spiffy Gyoza might honourable round out the day so this became the final order. A surfeit of salt proved to be the final spoiler -the gentle equilibrium between the roasted encasing and the filling of shredded chicken-'n'-cabbage was undone by overdone seasoning. The seasons of my multifarious meal here thus assumed a sobering rise and fall of taste,notwithstanding the constant companionship of hot sake. Service - when the place has few patrons (which is not often) you may expect reasonable vigilance but when the place is packed to the gills (which is often) the two waitresses swim about busily trying to mitigate the tide of orders while attention to customers is shot to bits. Long waits can consequently ensue. But an unexpected advantage of counter-side seating is that while you wait for the waitresses ,the chef unexpectedly reaches across the partition and directly presents you the dish you were waiting for! Flavours- ajinomoto is freely relied on, and mayonnaise and soy sauce are slipped in wherever possible.
Ambience - Red spherical lanterns, plenty of inscribed Japanese alphabets, a Japanese TV channel (that nobody cares to watch, mute as it is),ethnic vocals and oriental instruments piped in through the speakers, wood which comprises the seats tables walls and even partitions betweens the booths all assiduously build a native quiddity that is persuasive in its far-away appeal. This redolent detailed ambience and the immediacy of the counter-side seating enhance the appeal of this Izakaya's wide roster of dishes that are steadily despatched to cater to its abundant clientile.What it lacks in excellence it makes up for by way of workmanlike competence in banging out 80 different dishes listed on its menu - a refreshing alternative compared to so many conventional NZ bars in which the menu is a restricted stock set often run over by fried items. Besides, if you still want your senses to be blown away here,you can always count on the back-to-back bottoms-up of half a dozen Shochu shots.
by Auckland Based Critic
Oct 19, 2012
Wait time: 4/5
Food Quality and taste: 4/5
Price range: $50+ pp
[Very close to where I live but usually go for beers, food isn't bad but doesn't make me crave for it afterwards]
by Kathryn Adams
Sep 12, 2012
I've been to Japan and this place brought me back there instantly. If you want a Japanese experience go here! Food was exceptional, and being able to watch it be cooked right in front of you is good! Great for a small group/a few friends. Not extremely romantic place but would be cool for a fun casual date
by David Boshier
Aug 11, 2012
A great fun place to head to if you are a small group. The food is all good and generally the service is quick unless they are really busy. Its not a place for a romantic meal.
You may have to wait, but it is worth it.
by Annalisa Fiore
Jul 16, 2012
I have been going to this restaurant for a while now and took two friends with me. We all loved it and I think that the service has become speedier and the waiting staff are extremely friendly and helpful. The food, as usual, fabulous and the atmosphere superb. A real asset for Auckland.
Jun 26, 2012
The place was okay my main complaint was the lack of understanding (language barrier) I had to reorder and repeat my order 3 times. I do understand it is a Japanese sake bar but most of the customers were not and would've been better to have a mix of wait staff that understood english. The food was good and the beverages were good but we got given food we did'nt ask for but we were just got tired of going no you got it wrong again.....I think I would've enjoyed it if the wait staff just got the orders correct.
Jan 13, 2012
Have been to Sake Bar Nippon several times and it never disappoints. The first time was 4 years ago and every time since the food has been lovely. I really enjoy the tapas style of getting loads of dishes for every one to try. The service is quick and there is always a great atmosphere. Great place to catch up with friends.
by Marie Huo
Oct 10, 2011
I celebrate my birthday here and i would definitely do it again. The food was very good, very authentic and great variety.
by Karina Weeks
Oct 07, 2011
I came here with my friend who's a regular and it was amazing. My first time having authentic Japanese and I was very impressed!! We ordered a couple of dishes including the squid balls, yakisobu, tataki, seaweed salad and a couple of other things which were ALL delicious. Oh and the plum wine is a must try, along with sake! The atmosphere is so nice and the staff are all very welcoming, I'm definitely going to go back!!
Aug 28, 2011
This is our regular for great casual Japanese food. Very genuine, very busy, very noisy. Always full of patrons from the Lido theatre next door, either before or after sessions; also popular with locals and staff from businesses in the area. Service is not traditional european style with entrees followed by a main dish. It is a tapas style service - lots of entree sized plates arrive as they are prepared, to be shared if desired. Can be chaotic but always fun. Try the warm spinach & bacon salad with the teppan grilled steak. Delicious!
by Kelsie Sybe
Aug 26, 2011
Yum Yum Yum food and such a great experience...banging of gongs and sitting on pillows to eat. Felt authentic and tasted great. Our food took a little while to arrive but seeing as there was a large group of us this was understandable. Good Stuff
by Kate Alison
Jul 20, 2011
We had a joint birthday celebration here on a Sat night and it was awesome! We were a party of 19 and they put us in the room upstairs where we did a $35 set menu and had karaoke for free! The food just kept coming and coming, and was all really yummy. They had a fantastic tab system for people to allocate their drinks too i.e. John and Paula = 1, so you just said '1' when you wanted to order, and so your bill was just for what you had. Then a man came up and set up the karaoke and we had a hilarious time singing until about 11:30pm!! Will be back to eat the food as a smaller group, and also recommend this to anyone wanting a fab and unique birthday/celebration out.
Oct 18, 2009
We went on a cold, rainy, Thursday night, and still it was booked out !!! they kindly fitted us in as long as we could be out by a certain time. Moral of this story is, always book. It is definitely geared up for the Asian customer, with language being a slight problem, however, we managed to fumble our way through, until a female staff member spent some time with us and explained the menu.
Having said all of the above, the atmosphere and the food was just great, rushed, but great.
We have been to many Japanese Restaurants overseas,but this one is unique, you must experience it yourself.
They could do with a better extractor fan, the cooking smells seem to linger.
Would we go again ???? yes ! just need to brush up on our Japanese LOL
Jul 01, 2009
I have lived in Japan and this is about as close to authentic Japanese cuisine I have found in Auckland. Ichi-ban! Number one!
Jun 15, 2009
a wonderful way to enter japan in the middle of auckland. fantastic service and atmosphere, perfect authentic food at a very reasonable price, always a favourite!! only downside is no byo but that is my only complaint!!
by Mitch B
May 08, 2009
You know sometimes you find a jewel and the world needs to hear about it. Drum beats welcomed my 7 yr old and I in to the restaurant, and we were seated at the "bar" which basically overlooks the kitchen. Watching your own food cook is a treat in itself, but watching the chef's artistry was a pleasure and my son thought it was amazing. On to the food, we had a bit of everything, too numerous to mention, but from the Daikon to the Karage, it was just perfection. The bill made me laugh it was so light, and we were farewelled with more drums. We'll be back soon, and so should you.
Mar 23, 2009
Fantastic little Japanese eatery. Great atmosphere, competent service and very reasonable value for money - we ate there Saturday night and had a range of dishes (including edamame, chicken karage, steak, noodles, yakatori and I particularly recommend the okonomyaki - only place I've found in Auckland that does it) plus a drink each, all for $98.50 for four. It's always seems to be busy on Thursday, Friday and Saturday so pays to book ahead on these days.
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