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Tanuki Sushi and Sake Bar

4 star rating 33 reviews

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09 3795353

319 Queen Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland

5 PM to 10:30 PM (Tue-Wed, Sun), 5 PM to 2 AM (Thu), 5 PM to 11:30 PM (Fri-Sat), Mon Closed


Reviews for Tanuki Sushi and Sake Bar

3 star rating
by HoLiCA
19 days ago

I went with a group of 8 people and seated in the middle seat which was a group table. We had a hard time deciding the menu for dinner but the staff was really polite and friendly. We ordered one off each menu. It took a while for the food to serve and the amount of food was small and kind of salty. I liked the salmon and avocado sushi though it was filled with more salmon than rice👍 the payment was one bill per table so I recommended coming as a two. I don't think I'll return here.

4 star rating
by Jo Y
27 days ago

Enjoyed a really nice evening with a group of 6 and though we were probably a bit rowdy(!?) they handled us well. The service was prompt and unobtrusive. Good selection of wine and great selection of sake. The yum yum prawns were to die for!

4 star rating
by Plibt
one month ago

I engaged in a feeding frenzy here with a large group of friends, it was excellent. The sashimi was a highlight. The staff didn't mind that we spent 20mins arguing about what to get, I guess cos we wound up ordering almost everything on the menu... The only thing I wasn't that into was the ribs, but I don't really like ribs generally. Touching greasy bone = nope. Everything else = yes. Especially sake.

5 star rating
by Foodlovernumber1
one month ago

Very rustic but cozy ambience
Amazing selection of sake
Staff very friendly and knowledgable
Try the octopus and sashimi platter
Also some nice steak !
It's a busy place on weekend but worth the wait
Great time always

4 star rating
by Adeline
2 months ago

Dined here on a Sunday night - so it was pretty quiet - we had the full attention of the staff! Food is flavourful and prettily presented - which is pretty much standard with most Japanese restaurants. However, overall it was an okay experience. For me, it rates lower on the value for money side, as the menu is slightly more expensive (I imagine it caters to the theatre crowd, so it has to have an element of 'cool - pricey' attached to it). 

I also think the menu is quite limited. We ordered 2 rounds of food and really struggled to pick something different the second time round. Having dined downstairs several times over the past few years, I prefer it more than its upstairs restaurant. I also think Kushi and Kura are slightly better alternatives (in terms of value for money). 

But customer service-wise - they were perfect.

2 star rating
by Manic Diner
2 months ago

Dined here last night with a friend. The food was great but the evening was marred by the fact that I was charged the price of two drinks for ordering 1 mixed drink. Apparently if I order one glass of lemon, lime and bitters, I have to pay $5.70 for their fair trade Lemmy AND an additional $5.00 for their lime juice making a regular glass of lemon, lime and bitters $10.70 which is ridiculous! I'm surprised they didn't charge an additional fee for the angostura bitters! When I challenged the charge, the cashier was unapologetic and insistent the charge was justified. Unbelievably bad service from staff who should know how to price mixed drinks properly.

5 star rating
by Sarah Cornes
2 months ago

Went here last night with a couple of friends. Such a great atmosphere there and brilliant service. We decided to get a few dishes and share them between us. Really enjoyed the food, especially the sashimi and the tofu steak. The guy that served us was so knowledgeable and really welcoming - recommending a few dishes and also a Sake for us. Will definitely be going back

4 star rating
by Kiky Eng
3 months ago

The atmosphere is so good, great place for gathering with friends, food is about average. The services also good. But end of all, hard to find parking at City.

5 star rating
by Simon Kearsley
3 months ago

After having friends recommend Tanuki's, we booked in advance for a weekend away. Glad we did as it was busy. Seated by the kitchen, our orders were taken very quickly and the food arrived almost within 1-2 minutes. Each plate looked amazing and tasted delicious. We also got to see many other items leave the kitchen, stunning! Would definately return as the food and service were very good.

5 star rating
by Madicattt
4 months ago

Tanuki, Tanuki's Cave and Kura have been at the forefront of Japanese food in Auckland for as long as I can remember, and whilst I usually opt for Kura, the couple of times I've ventured upstairs to Tanuki have been well worth it. 

With Japanese decor and awesome staff it makes for a really fun and more importantly, delicious way to spend the evening. Notably, the first time I came here it was with a $200 voucher I'd won in a competition. We fed eight people with sake and beers as well for $250!

Highlights of the menu for me include the agedashi tofu, soft shell crab sushi and whilst not very Japanese at all, the salmon carpaccio is mind blowing - thin slivers of raw salmon with olive oil, basil and cocktail tomatoes. 

What really sets Tanuki and it's fellow restaurants apart however is the service, their staff are incredibly helpful - if you mention you're heading to a show at one of the theatres in the vicinity, they'll make sure that you order items that will see you fed in time (within reason of course!)

I'd recommend that if you're planning to head in, definitely book - and make sure that you're booking for the right restaurant! Tanuki is upstairs, Tanuki's Cave is downstairs and next door, Kura is downstairs and down the road a couple of doors.


4 star rating
by Andrew @anjeats
5 months ago

A dining institution on Queen Street and it's not hard to see why! The decor is authentically Japanese and I've always found the service friendly and efficient. The Edemame has the right level of saltiness and is matched well with a crisp Asahi. I love following this up with a main of perfectly cooked salmon served with lotus flower chips.

It always gets busy here, so get there early if you don't like crowds. This place is a great option for a pre-show meal, before happily sauntering over to Q or the Comedy Club.

4 star rating
by Tritip Kittitanarux
7 months ago

I usually don't eat raw fish or sashimi, but Tanuki is the only restaurant I can eat sashimi, very fresh !! Place is too small, too confined, walk-in would be very unlikely to get a table. My favourites are Tuna tataki and lamb grilled (only in special menu), one of the best Japanese cuisines in Auckland.

4 star rating
by Miss Bon Viveur
9 months ago

I would say that the restaurant space for this restaurant is a bit too cramped for me. It's hard to get around especially when there are a lot of people eating around as well. Otherwise, food is great and can get you filled up quite quickly. Enjoyed our dine here and it won't be our last. Though, I would also be keen to try out other Jap Restaurants - this is a "safe" place to go. It would probably cost you around $40 - $50 for 2 people.

4 star rating
by Eat Pray Love
10 months ago

Went to dinner at Tanuki's last week on a Sunday and was really impressed with the food here! I actually went in with zero expectations, and left really satisfied. I love Japanese food, and feel like nothing can top Sakebar (lol) but Tanuki's was actually very delicious and I had an enjoyable meal here.

We ordered the shrimp and bacon with mayonnaise, takoyaki, squid and a deep fried chicken dish. This was more than enough for two people but we managed to squeeze the deep fried banana with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Takoyaki is my favourite japanese food and the takoyaki at Tanuki's did not disappoint at all! It was flavoursome and portion size was good for the price we paid. All the other dishes were standard to other restaurants, definitely enjoyable. The deep fried banana dessert was a winner as well! It was my first time trying something like that.

All up our bill came to say $40 and we were so full! It was pretty good value for money! Its pretty dark in the downstairs part of the restaurant and i wasnt too keen on the round the bar dining set up, but the friendly staff, fast service, and good food made up for it !

Will definitely be going back to Tanuki's soon!

3 star rating
by KitKat
Sep 08, 2014

I booked in advance for a table for 2  at 6:15pm on a Saturday night as my partner and I had a show to get to and wanted to have a nice dinner beforehand.  We arrived right on 6:15pm to discover that our table had been given away and that the restaurant was pretty much full.  The staff member we dealt with was not clear as to what had happened, but from what we gathered it sounded like 2 people had come in off the street, looked at the booking sheet which was clearly visible at the counter and decided to take our table (poor form on their part if that's what happened).  To avoid this, perhaps the booking sheet should be out of view of customers so that this doesn't happen to anyone else.  Luckily a table was found for us and the staff were apologetic.  The food was ok, not the best Japanese I have had, it was a little bland and lacked finesse.  Personally, I think the food at Tanuki's sister restaurant - Kura - is far superior.  However, it was pleasant enough and despite the slightly shaky start my partner and I enjoyed ourselves.  I don't think we will be going back given that there are better options out there that carry the same price tag.

3 star rating
by Charissa
Sep 05, 2014

Visited this place for an early dinner prior to a show. We risk not booking and was surprised we were accommodated but we were told to vacate at 6pm which was ok as we do have a show to get . I will just rate the food as most if the reviews already vividly described the place and decor. Food wise we had the beef tataki which was chewy ( sorry but the tataki i had recently at ebisu was divine) and the meat wasn't prime cut ( veins and fats across the meat visible). Soft shell crab looks more like bones and dry again am comparing to my recent Ebisu meal. The chicken teriyaki was ok meat was soft and flavor was there but the rice was dry and not fluffy .I would say this place is ok for a quick pre show dinner but nothing fancy at all.

5 star rating
by Nataliya Hare
Jun 06, 2014

Five stars! Went there for lunch yesterday. It was a bit quiet but the food was awesome and served very quick! Very flavoursome and fresh. Not our first time there, will be definitely visiting again!!!!

4 star rating
by Miss Surfer
Jun 01, 2014

Really good atmosphere and authentic tasty Japanese. The service is attentive and the sake range is excellent. Highly recommend.

4 star rating
by Genie @ BunnyEatsDesign
May 24, 2014

Three of us had dinner at Tanuki's on Friday at 7pm before a show next door. The restaurant was full but we had a reservation and the waiter showed us to our table right away. The decor inside is nice with wooden panelling, koi wallpaper with golden accents, bench seats and cozy tables. Drinks orders were taken quickly and we were left to peruse the menu.

Most of the dishes are designed for sharing and we were happy with this. We ordered the beef tataki, tofu steak, their famous broccoli, eel sushi, fresh spring rolls, grilled scallops wrapped in pork belly, a couple of bowls of rice and drinks. I think an average of 2-3 dishes per person is a good guide for ordering and you can always order more later on (we did).

The plates of food are small for the price, but delicious. My favourites were the beef tataki, tofu steak and broccoli. The Tofu steak in particular was unexpectedly lovely. Silky, soft and creamy with a crispy skin. I felt the grilled scallops with pork belly was a bit lacking, probably because I am used to bacon wrapped scallops so plain pork belly seems anemic in comparison. I never feel there is enough beef tataki and this case was no exception. While the eel sushi was tasty, the presentation was messy.

The food was about on par with other Japanese restaurants that I have been to but a little bit more expensive considering what we ordered. Where Tanuki really shines about the others is their staff. The service is excellent at Tanuki's. The food and drinks come quickly. There is plenty of staff for the full dining area and all the staff we dealt with spoke perfect clear English. When we wanted to order extra items, this was dealt with easily and quickly. This place is a well oiled machine and it's clear why it is so popular with the pre-show crowd.

Allow 1 and a half hours for dinner if you are visiting before a show and a booking is preferable. With Entertainment Book voucher, the bill came to $83 which made it just under $30 per person for dinner and drinks.

1 star rating
by Emily
Apr 18, 2014

Would not recommend - bad service and incompetent waitstaff. I came here with my mother before going to a movie - we left ourselves plenty of time for dinner (1hr). However after waiting at least 30mins after our starters our main meals, which had been ordered at the same time, still hasn't arrived and when we inquired as to how long they would be, we were informed that the "order had been lost" and would not be ready in time before we had to go to the movie. Very disappointing.

4 star rating
by Rebecca Smith
Mar 18, 2014

I went to Tanuki sushi and sake bar for an early dinner on a Friday night. It was very busy so I would recommenced booking. The menu consists of the sushi classics you would expect; nigiri sushi, sushi rolls and sashimi as well as appetizers, main dishes, deep fried dishes and salads. The dishes are meant to be shared. We were not super hungry so only ordered the grilled scallops wrapped in sliced pork belly and a medium sashimi. Both dishes had beautiful presentation and tasted delicious. The sashimi was lovely and fresh with different accompaniments for each fish. However at $40 it was a bit pricey for what was a small meal. The service was excellent and the dishes were brought out promptly. If Tanuki sushi and sake bar wasn't so pricey then I would love to go back and try more of the menu, however I think there are equally good Japanese restaurants with better value for money.

1 star rating
by Zahn Bester
Nov 11, 2013

Don't eat here unless you like your food unrecognisable, poor quality and smelling strongly of fish.

A friend and I dined here before a show. We ordered the $18 platter of appetizers. The food was terrible. The meat was unrecognisable and all the food, including the tempura beans smelled strongly of fish. Inedible. We left most of the food.

4 star rating
by Rick Littlewood
Feb 25, 2013

Was there last night with my Japanese wife who like Japanese food,ha!ha!.Sat at counter which is the best place for 2-3 people.
The Japanese , he said he was from Kyoto passed over a highly decorated plate sashimi which had six different kind of sashimi which looked like a piece of art work.
That plus snapper and prawn tempura washed down with a crafty boys craft beer made the evening.
It was Chinese lantern night so it was very busy but the service was good

1 star rating
by Tristan
Jul 20, 2012

Dropped in with a group for some quick eats before a movie last night. Here's what we found:

Platter for 2 was barely a platter for 1 and in fact all food portions were crazy small.
Pricing was subsequently expensive given portion sizes
Price of beer was astronomical. We paid $10 for a handle of tap beer (albeit Japanese beer but nothing special)
Quality of food was great.
Service was great and when we were there, fast.
Atmosphere was ok.

We checked prices for food before we ate but not beer. We didn't expect such small servings.

As a result the experience left us feeling pretty negative on the place and wont' be back.

Bon appetit!

1 star rating
by Aaron Yap
Jun 15, 2012

I used to visit this restaurant quite often, but the food is always average, and the service is not that great. But during my last visit which is on the 11/6. My table obviously ordered the most in the whole restaurant but was given horrible service by the waitress. She would stare at you and you can see her angrily throw the menu on the cashier after taking your order. Food is just average but having such fucking lousy service. You should just teach your staff some manners. Period!

3 star rating
by Liam
Sep 29, 2011

Food was fine, if slightly over-priced.

What surprised me was the Kiwi waitress, who was obviously new, lobbing the coaster for my beer from across the counter... It wasn't as if she was joking either.
I couldn't quite believe what had happened. Sorry if this seems picky, but even if it's your first day you don't throw coasters at the customers. It's not that far to walk around from behind the bar. Didn't say anything as obviously she was new.

I agree with the review below that mentioned staff not being so keen on customers without a reservation, as our lack of booking seemed to trouble the staff.

3 star rating
by Jessica
Aug 10, 2011

We ate here a couple of Saturdays ago for a friends birthday. The atmosphere was great and the food was good, but the portions were soooo small. My main was like an entre.

3 star rating
by Myra Haryanto
Jan 20, 2011

food is great! but make sure you book a reservation ahead of time, they treat a new walk-in customer very unfriendly and unappreciative.

5 star rating
by Lucy
Aug 14, 2010

My favourite Japanese place. Try the broccoli and the karaage chicken. YUMMMM. 10/10 love this place. The service can be a little poor but it is totally worth it for the amazing food.

4 star rating
by Theresa Chan
May 07, 2010

The place was packed on a Wednesday night but we managed to get a table for two without booking when we arrived Tanuki at 6:00pm, provided that we finish by 7:30pm.

The entire place is heavily decorated to give an old Japanese restaurant kind of feel. The special that I ordered was really great value. For $15 I had a delicious dinner set including grilled fish (sanma?), beef tataki, edamame, pickles, rice and miso. The beef tataki was perfectly prepared with special dressing and the portion of the edamame side was very generous.

Some items on the menu are expensive compared to other Japanese restaurants. You just need to be careful with what you pick.

3 star rating
by Tino
Apr 08, 2009

Nice, but not exited

4 star rating
by Grant
May 09, 2008

Went there the other night and loved it!!

The prices are average, but the venue is outstanding making this a very cheap awesome Japanese restaurant.

The staff were all friendly and the place had an awesome atmosphere. Will go back again soon for sure!!

3 star rating
by The Guppy
Aug 08, 2007

real nice food.
sumo wrestling on tv!

service a bit lacklustre though - not as ambient or authentic as the cave downstairs.