Omni’s offering is concise – yakitori, excellent small plates and a low-intervention wine list – but it’s a versatile favourite on Dominion Road that makes it just as appealing for special occasions as for casual catch-ups, date nights and lively group dinners.

It’s owned by couple Jamie Yeon (who looks after front-of-house) and John Yip, who’s always stationed in the open kitchen, expertly operating the binchotan and plating up skewers, and signatures like the katsu sando. It’s a tight operation – they’re a team of three, with sous chef Jack Tran – so Yip’s a busy chef, but here he shares his favourite Auckland dining spots when he steps out from his own kitchen.

Where’s your favourite for lunch on the go?
Really enjoying the daytime offering at Forest including delicious, wholesome snacks such as the brilliant scrambled tofu sandwich. It’s a nice light brunch to kickstart the day.

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And for a drink and snacks?
Annabel’s is my go-to for relaxing afternoon sips on a sunny day; a lovely wine list, lots of smiles and nice ambience. Beautiful snacks coming out of a tiny kitchen. Really looking forward to their next live jazz night!

If it’s a special occasion, where are you headed?
Alma! Honest, creative and seasonal food made with a lot of care and thought. I love Jo and Tash, they are such good people. The bar has amazing cocktails too, always consistent and you’re guaranteed a good, tasty time.

And where do you think does the best coffee in town?
I love Daily Daily, a really pleasant warm room to enjoy a nice slow-drip coffee. They rotate their filter coffee offering quite often so it’s nice to try beans from all over the globe made by friendly, keen coffee makers.

How about a meal with a big group of family or friends?
The one and only Ockhee! Great tunes and a big vibe for get-togethers over very tasty dishes. Paul, Lisa and the team take great pride in what they do – I really admire them. Start with the tofu mountain and steamed mandu (dumplings), all handmade with love by Lisa.

And what about the best food close to where you live?
There is a tiny cute Thai eatery very close to where I live in Sandringham called Top Ten Thai Takeaway. It’s run by a lovely couple who mostly do takeaways but there are 10 seats to dine in. It’s simple, honest Thai food. They use woks to cook so the fiery flavour comes through their dishes – and I reckon they do the best tom yum in Auckland.

What’s your personal favourite dish on the menu at your restaurant?
It would be the meatball yakitori or katsu sando – very labour-intensive work for Jack! He spends the whole day grinding, mixing and shaping the meatballs. They’re slowly grilled over embers and served with aged soy-cured egg yolk for an extra umami hit. It’s a one-way trip to flavour town.

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