8/583 Dominion Road, Balmoral, Auckland
Okay, I’ll admit it, we do seem to be frequenting quite a few Japanese restaurants of late, But this is one of our favourites, and definitely one of the best value Japanese restaurants around. Very easy to miss, Banzai Restaurant is tucked into a little block of shops off busy Dominion Road, and is not much to look at from its exterior. Even inside, the restaurant is more functional, than fancy, but the proof of this restaurant is in the food.
The menu selection is vast, featuring sushi, noodle dishes, sashimi, nigiri, salads and a great range of appetisers. Ordering many dishes to share between diners seems to work best, as everyone gets to try a little bit of all the dishes. And as we’ve dined here several times, with different groups over the past few months, we’ve worked out our favourite dishes.
From a vegetarian point of view, the Agedashi Tofu has great consistency and is incredibly more-ish, often gobbled up by the meat eaters around the table when I’m not looking. The cold tofu salad is also delicious with noodles, carrot and sesame seeds, but the carnivores seemed to stay away from this one.
The non-vegetarians who dine (i.e. everyone but me) highly recommend the Takoyaki Octopus balls, salt and pepper squid, and Salmoncado (salmon and avocado sushi). The couple who introduced us to this restaurant swear by the Melting Salmon (the salmon apparently melts in your mouth).
BYO wine for a small charge.
Improvements: I’d love to see them in a bigger premise, as now that word is out about how great their food is, it can sometimes be hard to get a booking.
In a nutshell: The best value Japanese in Auckland