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“Fantastic Night Out”
Review of Ima Cuisine

Ima Cuisine
Ranked #79 of 2,344 Restaurants in Auckland Central
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $14 - $29
Cuisines: Israeli
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: Middle Eastern inspired breakfast, lunch and a family-style sharing dinner. Cooking has always been the focus of my life, I've been a cook since my early teens. However when I left Israel to study in the UK, it really dawned on me just how important good food is - how great food can lift your spirit and make you happy, and bad food can bring you down. I came to NZ from Israel in late 1997 with two little girls and pregnant with the third. The food I love was very hard to find and I missed it terribly, and so I opened the Lunch Box. Ima is my second venture in Auckland. Ima (pronounced EE-Mah) means mother in Hebrew. My food is simple, honest, healthy and nurturing, like mum's food (providing she is a great cook). At Ima the atmosphere is warm and casual. At Ima the atmosphere is warm and casual, we hope our guests feel immediately comfortable and at home. We invite you to enjoy our food - made with love and the finest ingredients - we know it will make you happy! - Yael Shochat, Owner
Reviewed May 5, 2013

IMA Cafe (the name is pronounced eemah) is located about 500 metres along Fort Street from the Queen/Fort Street intersection in central Auckland. It is not one of the "big name" restaurants in the city and neither is its chef/owner one of the many celebrity chefs who have establishments here, but don't let that put you off. It is small, busy, bustling and fun and it serves the very best of eastern Mediterranean and Israeli food in Auckland.

The service is welcoming, attentive and informative and the hostess is genuinely interested in seeing that her diners experience and enjoy the full range of flavours that are produced in a remarkably small kitchen. The menu changes often but the pattern is the same - fantastic entrees to temptingly start the meal followed by wholesome food served with spices and sides which conjure tastes from Cyprus, Lebanon and of course Israel. Friends of ours who have lived in and often return to Israel swear to the authenticity of the experience at IMA.

Don't miss the entree tasting platter which, when we visited, had wonderfully fragrant fried cauliflower dusted in spices, crunchy falafel rounds, a rich lemon yoghurt, peppers and tomatoes and spinach and feta in filo parcels.

The mains all came with a bewildering array of sides, including a diced cucumber salad which was a standout, rich with cumin and yoghurt. The meat courses were succulent lamb shoulder, roast free range chicken (served as a whole, half or quarter bird depending on your appetite) and aged beef rib eye.

The desserts were a great end to a wonderful meal, especially the turkish delight filo cigars - enough said!

The wines flowed from a small but eclectic selection and the price for three courses for two people including ample wine was about $170. We visited on a Friday night and the place was packed. It transpired that one of our party had been there for lunch and had elected to stay on, taking advantage of our booking. Otherwise he may not have been able to stay. Reservations essential and deservedly so.

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1  Thank GeoMo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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224 - 228 of 278 reviews

Reviewed May 4, 2013

Had dinner at Ima last night and it was fantastic.
Firstly the service was as good as anyone could ask. Right from the moment we entered the restaurant everything was great. We didn’t have a reservation (strongly recommend you make a booking) but staff quickly pushed a couple of table together and seated us.
Our waitress explained the menu and when we didn’t understand explained it again .. She knew details of every dish and could answer any questions immediately.
The format of dining is that of being at an “Israeli family dinner” so everything is shared plates, which in this restaurant works perfectly. We started with the vegetarian meze plate. Dips, cheese, olives etc etc were all magnificent.
Main course we chose lamb and beef, which came sliced on sharing plates. They were accompanied by vegetables and salad. The meat was cooked to perfection and the vegetables / salad very enjoyable. We also enjoyed a bottle of the Ima Pinot Noir which was lovely and reasonable priced
Topped all this off with strong coffee with cardamom, a glass of Muscat and traditional sweet biscuits..

All in all we had a fantastic night and would have to say this is one of the best restaurants we have been to in Auckland

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1  Thank Bob_the_Aussie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2013

After reading the reviews on TripAdvisor, we decided to dine at Ima Bistro on our last night in Auckland. What an unique and amazing experience! The food and the service could not have been better. I started with Brik- a North African dish of tuna wrapped in pastry with lemon preserve and egg. And although the egg was a little raw for my taste, the overall dish was heavenly. My husband had a sample platter that included olives, hummus, smoked eggplant and several other very tasty items. All of which were very tasty.

For my main course I decided on the braised lamb shoulder, while my husband had the chicken stuffed with spices and fruit . Both were exceptionally prepared- moist and very flavorful. The dishes come with a family style platter of sides including a wonderful Arab rice with lentils and nuts and fresh tomatoes with shallots. For dessert we had the Knafe an Arabic dessert with goat cheese mozzarella topped with Kadief pastry. It was an very tasty dessert and the perfect ending to an excellent meal.

The service was both friendly and efficient. The dining room décor is pretty laid back. This is may not be a white table cloth restaurant...but the food is certainly as good or better than most fine dining restaurants.

You can bet on our next visit to Auckland this will be one of the first restaurants we visit.

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Thank BradSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2013

Wow this place was amazing! The food was so good and we all were so sad we found this place our last week in Auckland. The place was super busy but the service was awesome anyway. Such a nice waitress! You need to go there!

Thank Josefin V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2013

A lovely little Israeli/Middle Eastern restaurant that focusses on quality ingredients and cooking. I love the brikh with the egg that spills out when you eat it. The sharing platters are great but it's the salads that come with them that really sing out, I never knew I would like carrot! This is not fine dining but comfortable homely dining where you feel important.

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Thank Littlebigl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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