57 Fort Street,
(09) 300 7252
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Possibly one of the best dinners I have had in a long time. I went with my Mum last Saturday night and we were both very impressed overall by the food, service and ambience. Ima Bistro serves traditional Israeli/Mediterranean cuisine and it is really one of a kind because you usually only see Middle Eastern restaurants around the city. The whole team warmly welcomed us on arrival, including the owner herself (Yael Shochat) who we initially thought was called 'Ima' seeing as that was the name of her restaurant, but in fact 'Ima' means 'Mother' in Hebrew. Yael did not mind us asking because she explained that most of her customers think her name is actually 'Ima'. Our waiter (young man) was very friendly and talked us through how the menu works. You first choose your main (lamb, chicken, fish, haloumi, beef or a vegetarian eggplant dish) - we chose the Lebanese Lamb Shoulder, slow braised with Lebanese spice mix ($15 per portion) and the Roast Stuffed Free-Range Chicken, with the stuffing being pine nuts, almonds, dried fruits, herbs and spices ($16 for a quarter size). The lamb was extremely tender and had a wonderful flavour. But the chicken was the highlight of the night - the stuffing was absolutely delicious and the chicken was cooked perfectly! Along with your main, you pay an extra $12 and receive five sides to share between you and your dining companions. These include: - Arab rice with lentils, pine nuts, almonds, pistachios and caramelised onions - Grilled Tunisian carrot and feta salad - Crunchy, minty salad - Slightly spicy tomato salad; and - Seasonal vegetable dish. These were all delicious sides and perfectly complemented the chicken and lamb. Our favourite was definitely the Arab rice - the pine nuts really stood out and I believe they were toasted as that gives them a lovely flavour! As for the drinks, they serve wine, beer and a few non-alcoholic drinks. Yael came over to our table at the beginning to intro
We visited Ima Cuisine on Fort Street during the Auckland Restaurant Month.
The ambiance at Ima's is noisy, but homely. Staff are friendly and helpful. Although, service can be a bit slow when they are busy.
We opted to have the $33 set menu that was on offer for Restaurant Month. The servings we received was a fair portion for what you pay. Their mezze platter was delicious. We had a selection of meats for the table. I have to say that the best is still their chicken. The fish was interesting, but not quite to my taste unfortunately. While the lamb, while prepared well, was nothing very interesting.
Dessert probably isn't their strength. Or perhaps, it's just not quite the things I like.
There's enough on the wine list. However, wines by the glass are limited.
A few mishaps during our dinner at Ima's. Some ceramic ware came tumbling down from shelving above the preparation area and onto the bar area where some patrons were seated. One guy got pretty cut up. But the proprietor and her staff were quick to assist him.
Also, the staff member mixed up the table cheques and put another table's orders on our tab. No issues with refunds however. The cashier was quick to apologise and did not argue when the mistakes were raised.
Overall, still a good dining experience even with the things that went wrong.
Ima Cuisine reminded us of a European family-style restaurant - but with Israeli attitude. It was also remarkably busy.
It's lovingly crafted with scrubbed wooden tables, portraits and paintings, and downlit through orange-backed Perspex decorated with a black Turkish design. The Manageress was lovely. She gave us a set menu that covers cuisines from the various countries that border the upper Mediterranean - predominantly Israeli, but with Lebanese, Turkish, Moroccan and North African.
We were started off on a Mezz platter that had dollops of lightly whipped hummus, olives, Beetroot tepanade, falafels, feta samosas and soft thick pita bread.
We were given a few small plates of all proteins for the table – chicken, rib eye beef, slow-roasted Lebanese lamb & fish (all cooked perfectly) but not enough to feed the 16 so we had to ask for additional plates. The Sides were actually the highlight with Pilau rice with caramelized onion to top and then a Tunisian carrot and feta salad which I loved, a tomato salad and then a crunchy coleslaw which was very tasty.
In all, this was a good night for its amazing Israeli and Mediterranean dishes. I'd go back in a smaller group as I don't think they were good with coping with the large group – spreading out the meats and not putting them in the middle in front of our two piggy members of the group would have been good. It would have meant us people down the ends would have got more than one piece of each meat. Lucky their was lots of salad and rice.
Finally found the opportunity to dine at Ima Bistro last Friday. It was a good thing I'd made a booking as the place was definitely more than bustling when we arrived. We were later told that they were busier than usual due to a recent review that had been published. Service was a little slow as there was only 2 staff members on the floor. However, when staff did attend our table, the service was very warm and friendly. I definitely felt welcomed. From my observation, there were a lot of people who were regulars of the place as the waitresses were on first-name basis with them. Drinks selection was good. Definitely enjoyed the bottle of wine recommended to us by the waitress. It was spot on for what we were after so at least she knew her stuff. Food was brilliant. Although a very succinct menu, you were provided a diverse enough range to cover all preferences. We had a mix of entrees. The platters had plenty of food on it. Even though only for 2 persons, I reckon it was enough for 3-4 people if you're not big eaters. Portion sizes are definitely decent for the price you are paying. Ima has stuck true to its theme of "simple, honest, healthy and nurturing" food. The food at Ima Cuisine definitely evokes the sense of "home-cooked" rather than "restaurant food". It was delicious and well presented. Personally, I preferred the Moroccan Chicken over the lamb due to the flavour. But everything was prepared really well overall. Lamb was cooked so well that the meat was tender and fell apart. No dessert that night as was busting from the entree and main!All in all, a great experience albeit the longer waiting times. It was worth it in the end though.
Had a very enjoyable meal at Ima. Food simple but tasty and well executed. Nice cosy atmosphere and friendly service. The filo cigars stuffed with pistachio and Turkish delight on the desert platter were divine. We tried Ima because we had read good things about it in various places and it didn't disappoint. Glad to have found this cosy little place in the centre of town that has the feeling of a friendly neighborhood place, but without having to get into the car and drive to the burbs.
Nice little restaurant, happy staff. Food needs improvement though. Chicken main came out sweaty, with its juice running all over the plate. A messy presentation. Chicken was warm, not hot, probably due to the fact that it had to be deboned and stuffed with filling. Spices/flavors were not balanced, chicken had minimal taste. Overall disappointed and will not go back to Ima again. But I must emphasize that the staff were pleasant.
Ima is one of my very favorite restaurants in Auckland. The people are charming and friendly. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming.And the food! Everything my family has ever eaten at Ima has been delicious. When we first stumbled upon Imas one evening, we had a dessert platter. So delicious and interesting, we decided to come back for dinner at the first opportunity. Good decision. The slow cooked lamb with ebly and things is fragrant and tender and a generous portion. The seafood pasta al Carticcio comes with a surprise which I will not spoil here, and it was delicious. It was worth the trip over the bridge to come to Imas. When the opportunity came along to come to the city for breakfast, I looked forward to some more of Yael's delicious food. How does this sound - Shakshuka: eggs, moroccan merguez sausage and spicy slow roasted tomatoes. Well it tasted even better than it sounds. And Ima's blintzes - crepes filled with vanilla and citrus ricotta and orange syrup - exquisite. Naturally they make delicious coffee, and there were a pile of fresh baked good that I will have to go back for soon. Next mission - lunch... I heard this rumour that Yael makes her own fresh falafel...
We have heard good things about Ima and Ibn and always wanted to check it out, and finally we did!
LOVE it! I had the Ceviche which was so good for starter and then the Lamb shoulder for a main.
This place is great for something a little different to try!
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