This Middle Easternmediterranean eatery in downtown Auckland’s Fort St appeals from the outset. Soft lighting made from whisks and graters creates a friendly, relaxed atmosphere in which the onus is on family comfort food enjoyed in an unpretentious setting. The fresh, Mediterranean-style food of Yael Shochat (above) is designed to be eaten as shared plates. A set of salads is put on the table for everyone, and dishes like brik, a North African tuna and lemon pastry parcel, and free-range chicken meschan, a traditional Arab dish, are interesting and unusual, served very simply, enhancing the home-cooked feel. The wine list is entirely suitable for Ima’s casual dining style, and includes several Israeli and Lebanese wines that work wonderfully with the dishes.
53 Fort St, City, 09 377 5252, imacuisine.co.nz Breakfast, lunch & dinner 7 days; mains $30-$60