Ponsonby has no shortage of great places to dine, but while most of the venues are dotted along the bustling 1.7-kilometre length of Ponsonby Road, one of the best restaurants in the city is found on a side street down the hill, among much quieter surroundings.

Cocoro was opened by chef Makoto Tokuyama in 2010 and is consistently recognised among the top eateries in the country. Its name means “heart and soul” in Japanese, reflecting the finesse and care that goes into its food. The mood in the 40-seat restaurant is serene, with individual tables along its walls and a large communal table in the middle of the room.

An a la carte menu is available, but the signature, degustation, and sushi-sashimi set menus are our preferred way to dine here. Dishes such as the signature sashimi platter, South Island crayfish miso soup, and sake-chocolate ganache made with Valrhona chocolate and Marlborough sea salt celebrate the best of New Zealand’s fresh produce and ingredients, prepared with masterful Japanese culinary techniques.

In 2022, Tokuyama was appointed as a Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador in New Zealand by the Japanese government, thanks to his ability and passion for educating diners on what he calls “new-style” authentic Japanese food.

On the drinks list, find both New Zealand and international wines with the emphasis on organic and biodynamic varieties, plus a wide range of Japanese sake.

Contact Details

Updated: April 29th, 2022

We do not seek or accept payment from the cafes, restaurants, bars and shops listed in the Directory – inclusion is at our discretion. Venue profiles are written by independent freelancers paid by Broadsheet.