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Soto Japanese Garden Restaurant

3_half star rating 19 reviews

Telephone 09-360 0021

13 St Marys Rd
Auckland City

Japanese, Asian
Lunch: Tue - Fri 12 noon - 2pm
Dinner: Tue - Sat 6pm - 10pm
Provided by business


Soto Japanese Garden Restaurant brings the peace of the beautiful garden to the table, serving a a new age Japanese cuisine, titled New Style Japanese cuisine. Traditional methods & procedures of cookery are followed by all Japanese trained staff. Presentation of these dishes and the restaurant’s environment is very much modern in style. We call this ‘New Style’ Japanese Cuisine. Only Japanese imported ingredients and local, regionally sourced food items are used. Fresh salmon from Akaroa, wasabi stalks, roots and flowers from Canterbury, sea kelp from Kaikoura, free range pork from Freedoms Farms, piko piko & local fresh Japanese vegetables & herbs. These are some of the fresh ingredients delivered fresh to Soto every day. Soto Restaurant operates three menus: a traditional platter menu, light luncheon menu, an extensive a la carte dinner menu, representing a range of different Japanese cooking styles, and a takeaway menu for lunch and early dinner to the local neighborhood.


Photo of Soto Japanese Garden Restaurant
Hiyashi Chuka: Cold ramen rainbow roll style
Hokkaido jumbo Scallop, prepared in 4 styles
Shiitake mushroom with chicken mince tempura

More Information

Free On-Street
Price Range:
Spendy, $25 - $35
Smart casual
Good For Groups:
Good For Children:
Cocktails, Spirits, Wine, Beer
Wheelchair Accessible:
Takes Reservations:
Dietary Restrictions:
Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Vegan
Meals Served:
Lunch, Dinner
Payment Types:
EFTPOS, Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Diners
Seating For:
Outdoor Seating:

Reviews for Soto Japanese Garden Restaurant

5 star rating
by Andrew W.
11th September 2013

Beautiful food and and inviting decor. Lovely vibe and not overly busy on a wee-knight. Very attentive staff that knew when to come and offer their services and when to stay back and let us chat and eat. Shared numerous dishes between 3 of us and was thoroughly impressed.

Parking also very easy during the week. Can’t wait to go back.

1 star rating
by Dine i.
1st June 2013

Change of ownership, sizes are ridiculous small, charged you for washabi not sure if they charge for soy sauce as well. Two of us paid $90 and still hungry. Not like the food is nice and not value for the price.don’t know what the new owner is thinking. We will not go back again. What a rip off.

Staff is nice though but on a Friday night plenty of empty tables and you only have two hours dinning time, why???

5 star rating
by Matthew H.
28th March 2013

I went there with 3 friends and booked on a deal voucher the day before. The staff were very friendly and attentive and the atmosphere was relaxed yet busy. The deal was for the Soto set selection menu to share between the 4 of us. The food was superb and very generous portions. The stand outs on the menu were the smoked trevally sushimi, new style salmon, seared wagu beef and chicken teriyaki, in fact all the dishes were well prepared and presented and the wine list was well matched with the food. The warm sake that came with the meal complimented everything perfectly. We all had a great experience and would highly recommend trying this out for a group of 4 or more.

3 star rating
by Rob
13th March 2013

Restaurant itself is very nice, has a calming feel to it. Staff are lovely and attentive.
Food is way too expensive for what it is. Don’t recommend the lamb dish. Very strange mix of flavours

1 star rating
by Pete W.
12th October 2012

We went for a birthday celebration as this place used to be great. Then they changed excessively, the menu was totally different, atmosphere was non Japanese then to top it off wouldn’t take our entertainment card. Dont even bother going.

2 star rating
by Sandy R.
14th July 2012

Had heard and read good reviews about this restaurant and decided to try it, but would not bother going again. It was well overpriced and the food was certainly not what I would call good Japanese, have experienced so much better around Auckland. It was served in a so so way and had none of the artist touches that one usually finds with this type of cuisine and portions were very small, especially when it came to the dessert – two mouthfuls at best.

The service was good and the wait staff very hospitable.

One thing on a positive note was that their house saki was very good.

1 star rating
by Sunny S.
11th May 2012

We had previously heard good reviews of Soto so had decided to try it. (We had later heard that the restaurant had changed owners recently so this may have been the result of the subsequent review). The decor was lovely, very modern and stylish. The service was average but friendly enough. We had the duck breast on soba noodles w sesame ponzu sauce, the marinated pork cheeks and the mixed tempura.

The restaurant was let down (and why we wouldn’t go back again) by being extremely poor value for money. The way the menu was structured suggested that you would get an entree then a main then dessert. However, the size of the meals were “tapas” size. For these 3 dishes the cost was approx $70 (excluding drinks – drinks pricing was high end – expect top restaurant prices). The quality of the produce and the taste of the food did NOT warrant this price. Relative to other Japanese restaurants, Soto was extremely overpriced. I am not sure whether the claims of fulfilling the niche market of westernised Japanese fusion particularly needed to be filled in the first place. Restaurants like Nishiki (innovative), Ken Yakitori (traditional yakitori), Katsura (traditional Japanese), etc offer enough variations to fill this market and offer better alternatives.

2 star rating
by Nicky
14th February 2012

Way too expensive. I know it is a classy restaurant but you can’t charge $12 for 4 bits of sushi! Sushi is sushi! Mains are even more expensive, like $30 or so for teriyaki chicken

Nice atmosphere in the restaurant but I don’t think you have to pay that much money for good Japanese food!

Wouldn’t go back.

4 star rating
by c-force
25th September 2011

we have been to this place for special occasions. enjoyed every time there and we love this place. the only thing we like to see some change is the female manager who tries to talk too much at our table. she is very friendly and nice, but we prefer a bit more quiet space and moment of our own.

3 star rating
by Lillian K.
22nd August 2011

ok the food here is a bit expensive but they are certainly creative. Nice atmosphere, thoughtful service and interesting presentations. We got a platter of sashimi for $37 – you get about 8 different things, very good except one (I think was tuna) that felt slightly frozen still in the middle :S My captain cook wild pork ribs was divine, the sauce was great and the ribs were huge (not very japanese?). People enjoyed their desserts, I did with my plum wine sorbet. Surprised they didn’t offer plum wine per se, we got the house sake, it was cheap but fairly average. Other (more expensive) sake was much better.

5 star rating
by Michelle C.
8th July 2011

Wow what an experience. My husband booked this restaurant as a birthday surprise & it was brilliant. First class food & service. Had a fantastic night we will gladly return. You don’t mind paying the price for exceptional food & great friendly efficient service.

2 star rating
by Felix
29th October 2010

We are disappointed now by bad quality of food, too high prices, service. The change of ownership is like the death of Soto Japanese Garden Restaurant. RIP.

Not anymore the old Soto Japanese Garden Restaurant we knew and loved…..

You do not see us again.

btw: the 5 stars review by Andrew W. looks suspicious..

Past reviews:
High quality. Three times there and three times exellent japanese cuisine and perfect service.

We can highly recommend to experienced diners.

1 star rating
by Mia
8th June 2010

Extremely disappointed with both my experiences here. The first time was a specially arranged graduation dinner where, despite asking for a specific table, they assigned us to one of their worst so we had to argue for another.

Secondly, the food took a long time and my meal was completely forgotten. To try and make up with it, they wanted to just give me extra. Thing is, I am a small female and giving me more tempura does nothing to mitigate the situation.

Eventually I had to explain to them that the entire fiasco was not actually ok of an apparently top class restaurant and only then did they apologise and offer us some free ice cream.

Second time round they got the orders wrong and rather than apologise, the rude staff just look annoyed.

If anyone wants a good japanese restaurant with proper food and service, I’d choose Eijis. Soto is a consistent let down.

5 star rating
by Kristen
4th August 2009

Nice saki and delicious – nice feeling to the restaurant too. Went for lunch will go for dinner next time.

4 star rating
by Peta
22nd July 2009

Loved Soto. We took a couple of friends there as they’d done us a couple of favours. We ate up a storm and had plenty of lovely wine, sake and beer as well. At around $150 a head (with the tip), my husband and I thought it represented pretty good value, as we didn’t stint on the wines (we were on a bit of a food and wine odyssey around the South Island). My husband compared it favourably with Tetsuya’s in Sydney and Soto is half the price. The Aussie dollar makes it even better value!

5 star rating
by Richard
22nd June 2009

Good, expensive, but good.

Food exceptionally well presented, even for a Japanese restaurant. Nice people, super friendly and helpful. Easily one of the best Japanese in town. Good for groups or couples. Oh and BOOK or you’ll end up just reading the menu from the street and eating elsewhere.

5 star rating
by peter
7th June 2009

We went last weekend 30th May 09 with some friends- a group of four. We were very impressed with the food (we had two different set menus), ambience and service. This is top shelf japanese cuisine, a bit on the expensive side, especially the wine, but worth it for a special night out.

4 star rating
by Sara S.
8th March 2009

I went to Soto late last year with a foodie friend of mine. We were both impressed and highly enjoyed the food even the dessert.

5 star rating
by Gavin Suter
14th February 2009

Ive only just found this website, other wise i would have writen this earlier. But went soto for my 31st birthday last year July. It was very good food especially the mixed Nigiri 6pcs. Titaki tuna w miso mayo, tikaki beef with horse radish and oyster with a sauce i dident know. my wife had the other 3 so i dont remember what they were but she says they were great. Just checked their current menu and the dish isent on there. but a 14pcs is on there now so cona have that one nxt time. Mains were really good aswell!! all up we spent $170 but that was for 1xentre 2xmiso 2xmains 1xdessert 4xbeers 1xwine 1xbigsaki 2xchery ports.
Loved it

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