Restaurants key icon.
Restaurants key icon.


Tuesday5:30 – 9:00 pm.

Wednesday5:30 – 9:00 pm.

Thursday5:30 – 9:00 pm.

Friday12:00 – 2:00 pm, 5:30 – 9:00 pm.

Saturday12:00 – 2:00 pm, 5:30 – 9:00 pm.


56a Brown Street, Ponsonby, Auckland

09 360 0927

Japanese cuisine comprises a whole lot more than just sushi rolls and tempura, and more fish types than simply salmon and tuna. At owner-operated Cocoro in Auckland, the dining menu showcases the versatility that Japanese cuisine offers and also that there are plenty more types of fish in the sea - all while celebrating delicately prepared seafood and locally sourced produce. 

Cocoro means ‘heart and soul’ and it’s named for what goes into the food and service that diners can expect to receive. Each visit should feel like a bespoke culinary experience, one that is ‘ichigo ichie’ - an idea that translates loosely to stopping to enjoy each individual moment. 

While there is an a la carte menu available for those after something simple, the real showstopper at Cocoro is the degustation menu. Take your pick from three carefully crafted, different degustation menus, before settling back and following the courses through the flavours of Japan. Along with the classic Nigiri sushi, a menu highlight is the signature sashimi platter, a striking work of art offering over 30 varieties (yes, you read that right!) of seafood. The effort and technique that goes into sourcing and preparing such a feast is certainly no mean feat.

The restaurant’s focus on degustations stems from owner-chef Makoto Tokuyama’s personal journey with food. Growing up in a Zen Buddhist temple in Japan, mealtimes were always a culmination of locally sourced seafood, produce from local farmers, and pickles, soups and rice prepared by his grandmother, Chizu. She also taught him the importance of respecting the ingredients and minimising waste - which are teachings both evident in his practices today. Nowadays, Makoto likes to source the highest quality local ingredients, and use his skills and backstory to create unique masterpieces for each degustation menu on offer.

Cocoro takes a modern and minimalist approach to decor, so expect plenty of wooden textures, intimate lighting and a large communal table with smaller tables lining the walls. Its location is also discrete: a destination restaurant with a brick exterior off bustling Ponsonby Road. Like many Japanese offerings, it may be humble on the outside, but you can expect a magical journey within. 

Words by Nicole Mudgway & Photography by Jerome Warburton

Information not correct? Report an error


56a Brown Street, Ponsonby, Auckland

Nearby Places

Ponsonby Central

Exterior view of Ponsonby Central from the lane entrance.
Place Auckland
Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

There are a tonne of fresh and hip eateries and cafés hidden within, that tantalise with their extensive menus.

Duck Island Ponsonby Road

A staff member working behind a counter at a brightly decorated ice cream shop.
Place Auckland
Cafes key icon. Goods key icon.

Duck Island has been crafting small-batch ice cream in the Waikato since 2015.

The Shelter

Red coffee machine with red writing against a black and white patterned wall.
Place Auckland
Fashion key icon.

There’s a new way of doing business here in Auckland, a collaborative shared space drill that seems to save on risk, worry and premature closures; friends and foes unite with the similar goal of success.

Dantes Pizzeria

Pizza in oven.
Place Auckland
Restaurants key icon.

An authentic Italian pizzeria with the freshest ingredients – right down to the mozzarella which strings its way throughout the melting pot of flavours each topping provides.

Similar Places


Japanese food on a table.
Place Auckland
Restaurants key icon.

Located on the waterfront in the city centre, Ebisu also lies at the heart of Japanese cuisine in Auckland.

Brothers Juke Joint BBQ

Food on a tray on a white and wooden table.
Place Auckland
Restaurants key icon.

From the kings of the Auckland craft beer scene, Brothers Beer, comes its edible equivalent.

Espresso Workshop (Britomart)

View of Espresso Workshop from Britomart Place.
Place Auckland
Cafes key icon.

A prime example of how focusing on one product and doing it well can be so successful, the Espresso Workshop covers all the bases when it comes to coffee taste, service, knowledge and experience.

Bird on a Wire

Bowls of food.
Place Auckland
Restaurants key icon.

The guys at Bird on a Wire crisp up some of the best beer battered chips around. An easy companion to one of their Dirty Bird burgers.