• Sarasa Shimura, owner, and Gen Ogata general manager, of Tokyo Bay restaurant.
  • Sarasa Shimura, owner, and Gen Ogata general manager, of Tokyo Bay restaurant.

Japanese Style in Takapuna

It’s little wonder that that Tokyo Bay restaurant is rated #1 on the North Shore by Trip Advisor. And little wonder that increasing numbers of North Shore based corporates are choosing to entertain clients here.

Accolades and five-star ratings from locals and visitors alike sum up the Tokyo Bay experience:

“Wonderful service, lovely ambience, AMAZING FOOD. I have dined at Tokyo Bay many times, cannot fault the service or food!”

“If you’re looking for great Japanese food in stylish surroundings, this is your place! Fabulous location overlooking Takapuna Beach, with food and service to match. From the moment we walked in and were warmly greeted by Sarasa and her Tokyo Bay team, service was excellent, professional and attentive. We had an amazing dinner – every dish was beautifully presented and delicious. Fine dining Japanese at its best. This is now a firm favourite. We’ll definitely be back.”

Sarasa Shimura, Tokyo Bay’s co-owner and host, is proud of the rating, but says the restaurant is not driven by a quest for ratings. Rather, she and the rest of the front of house and kitchen teams, all specialists in Japanese food and hospitality, aim to deliver “consistent, quality service and food, with local and international produce, in a great location”.

“Our food is based on authentic traditional recipes, presented in a simple modern manner,” Sarasa says. Much of the food is cooked teppan-style, on heavy hot plates, though in the kitchen and not in the restaurant itself. Showy flourishes and ostentatious presentation are just not Tokyo Bay’s style.

Tokyo Bay’s extensive menu is augmented by daily specials determined by the availability of quality produce. Seasonal tweaks ensure plenty of variety for the many locals who’ve made this their go-to eatery.

Now that winter’s here, diners’ preferences have shifted from the popular summer choices of sushi, sashimi and salads, to hearty dinner boxes with high quality beef, chicken or fish. Fish and seafood of all types, she notes, are at their prime in winter. Cooler water and the fact that the fish are not spawning means the quality of the meat is much better. “In winter, they are eating well, and are fat; they definitely taste best.”

Recently, says Sarasa, the team at Tokyo Bay has found that many diners are planning trips to Tokyo to coincide with major events taking place there in the next three years: the Rugby World Cup in 1919, the Olympics in 2020 and the World Masters Games in 2021. “We’re getting asked questions about the best restaurants, the best bars, the yokochos (laneway eateries), and attractions and things to do in Tokyo.

“So we’ve developed a special list, which we’ve called ‘Sarasa’s Top Travel Tips in Tokyo and Beyond’. We’ve had input from all the staff, and the list a summary of the personalised knowledge of the team about eating, drinking and attractions in Tokyo and beyond, including places where the All Blacks will be playing. From this month, we’re printing it out and giving it to diners, so they can plan their trip based on what we know about the city.”

It’s just another example of the extra level of service diners can expect at Tokyo Bay, and you can be sure the front of house team will still be happy to answer specific questions if they can.

Asked to sum up Tokyo Bay for someone who’s never visited, Sarasa invites them to “come in and have a compete dining experience sitting in a relaxed restaurant in a beautiful location by the ocean, eating food prepared in the traditional manner but presented in a modern style. You can’t get that anywhere else in Auckland.”

Tokyo Bay, open 12 noon until late, seven days

20 The Strand, Takapuna Beach, 09 3907188

Book at www.tokyobay.co.nz