We’ve been dreaming about a trip to Tokyo for years now. But hey, good things come to those who wait, right? In the meantime, we’re tiding ourselves over with meals at Miami’s own stellar Japanese spots. Here are ten of our favorites—enjoy. (Or shall we say tanoshimimasu.)
Our 10 Favorite Japanese Restaurants in Miami
We could easily visit this swank Japanese-inspired cocktail lounge every night of the week and splurge on high-end drinks and small, shareable plates. (Sorry, wallet.) But what we’re really looking to score is a reservation inside Kaido’s secret dining room, Ama. Bring on the 16-course Japanese-inspired tasting meal.
151 NE 41st St. #217; 786-409-5591 or kaidomiami.com
This Asian-inspired restaurant and bar serves sake and sushi inside a fairy-tale dining room. We’re eyeing the shrimp and scallop wontons paired with the vodka-based cocktail Meek Dills (yes, like the rapper), made with lychee liquor and dill.
210 23rd St., Miami Beach; 305-397-8036 or mandrakemiami.com
Tucked inside the Taco Stand in Wynwood is this elegant dining room behind a secret door.Hiden quickly outgrew its “secret” status thanks to a ridiculously tasty 16-course tasting menu (think freshly steamed rice, aged fish and baked oysters). P.S. This place is so popular, you’ll need to book a reservation about three weeks in advance.
313 NW 25th St.; hidenmiami.com
Azabu Miami Beach
This Michelin-starred concept from NYC is split between an elegant dining room, a chic cocktail bar and an 11-seat secluded sushi den inspired by a Tokyo izakaya. In any setting, you’ll sup on some unforgettable fish. We’re big fans of the salmon tataki drizzled in a kelp dashi dressing.
161 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 786-276-0520 or miami.azabuglobal.com
This edgy Miami Beach restaurant is oozing with a cool and mysterious feel (maybe because the space used to be an auto garage). Whatever you do, don’t miss the fried rice stone pot, the tuna chicharrón roll, the toro sesame leaf taco and the chirashi, a gorgeous rainbow bowl of the Garage’s freshest fish of the day.
1784 West Ave., Miami Beach; 305-763-8355 or sushigarage.com
With stunning views of the Miami River, Zuma will always be one of our go-to Japanese hot spots. Besides an expansive menu of sushi and sashimi, we can’t get enough of the spicy beef tenderloin glazed with sesame, red chili and sweet soy. Oh, and while we’re at it: Put in an order for the miso-marinated black cod.
270 Biscayne Blvd. Way; 305-577-0277 or zumarestaurant.com
Philly’s Michael Schulson adds a contemporary spin to Japanese cuisine through a menu of pastrami bao buns, spicy tuna rice crackers, edamame dumplings with truffle and black cod fried rice with miso caramel. Or try the ten-plate chef’s tasting with dessert. Either way, we’re pretty sure it’s gonna be delish.
3555 S. Ocean Dr., Hollywood; 954-602-8755 or monkitail.com
The high-end tasting menu at this exclusive Brickell Key spot will set you back $220 per person, minimum. The tiny restaurant holds only eight diners at a time and offers two seatings per night. Each meal starts with the most decadent bento box you’ve ever seen, followed by a never-ending procession of traditional nigiri.
661 Brickell Key Dr.; 305-947-6263 or naoemiami.com
There are a few things you need to know about this popular spot: It’s located inside a casino and it has a ginormous menu that includes Wagyu tacos. Oh, and it has some of the most unique Japanese-inspired desserts you’ll ever taste: sesame panna cotta, Japanese doughnuts with matcha anglaise and black sesame mochi with dulce miso. Um, we’ll take all three.
1 Seminole Way, Fort Lauderdale; 954-327-7625 or seminolehardrockhollywood.
Makoto Okuwa’s restaurant in Bal Harbour is the sushi standard in Miami. When you belly up to the sushi bar and see the chefs preparing your spicy yellowtail with wasabi and avocado, you might be tempted to snatch it right out of their hands. (But please don’t, because…manners.)
9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour; 305-864-8600 or makotorestaurant.me