Zuma Miami offers flavorsome, modern japanese dishes
By: Shayne Benowitz
Craving Asian food in Miami? Here are the best eateries serving up both traditional and inventive Asian cuisine.
For foodies, there’s never been a better time to visit Miami. The city has long boasted the flavors of Cuba and Latin America, and brand new locally-owned, chef-driven restaurants are opening up every day. There’s also a broad range of Asian cuisine across Miami, from Coconut Grove to Bal Harbour and everywhere in between. Whether it’s Chinese, Thai, Japanese or an inventive, only-in-Miami fusion, here’s where to find the best Asian food in Miami.
Ask a Miamian what their favorite Japanese/sushi restaurant is and there’s a pretty good chance that they’ll respond with a twinkle in their eye: Makoto. Helmed by Chef Makoto Okuwa at the swanky Bal Harbour Shops, it’s a treat for a lunchtime shopping break or an extravagant dinner. Amongst their exquisite menu, top dishes include the frosty kobe fried rice with foie gras and a jidori egg that cooks tableside before your eyes, the wagyu short rib robata grill and the Hamachi ponzu sashimi. 9700 Collins Avenue, Bal Harbour, FL 33154.
Top Chef star Dale Talde’s eponymous restaurant inside The Confidante hotel (formerly The Thompson) became an overnight hit with its late night happy hour menu and high-energy, “hip hop” vibe inside a gritty, yet stylish industrial space. And that says nothing of the pan-Asian food, which is positively addictive at Talde. We’re talking Korean fried chicken, crab fried rice, pork wonton ramen noodles and Vietnamese garlic shrimp. Everything packs a flavor punch that makes it impossible to put down your chopsticks. 4041 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140.
There’s perhaps no local restaurant group more beloved than Pubbelly and their Pubbelly Sushi is at the top of the heap. Think of this laidback Sunset Harbour restaurant as a destination for creative, deconstructed sushi and inventive Japanese. With everything from sushi rolls to New England-style rolls and a robata grill, you’ll be in small plates heaven here. A few items not to skip: the spicy big eye tuna crispy rice roll with truffle oil, the snow crab roll with ponzu and clarified butter and the wagyu beef tartare roll with a truffle poached egg for dipping. 1424 20th Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Also in Sunset Harbour is the newly opened NaiYaRa by longtime Miami-based Thai chef Piyarat Potha Arreeratn, lovingly known as “Chef Bee.” The stylish dining room, with its industrial high ceilings and organic wood chandeliers, serves up both traditional and experimental dishes influenced by Thailand’s various regions. From the melt-in-your-mouth salmon tacos with avocado and truffle oil to the finger-licking delicious sriracha chicken wings with sweet chili, there are more than a few crave-worthy dishes. You’ll also find everything from the familiar Pad Thai to the exotic green curry sea bass here. 1854 Bay Road, Miami Beach, FL, 33139.
Downtown & Brickell
Another powerhouse Japanese stunner is found downtown inside the luxurious EPIC hotel. Zuma is a magnet for celebrities visiting Miami, from Kim Kardashinan to Will Smith. The London import is found inside a stylish and luxurious dining room overlooking the Miami River where everything from sushi to robata to tempura is executed to perfection. Brunch is an event here with unlimited Champagne, cocktails, buffet and made-to-order entrees. Don’t leave without sampling their decadent dessert platter. 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Miami, FL 33131.
New to the Brickell scene, Komodo opened its doors as a flashy outpost for contemporary Southeast Asian cuisine by nightlife impresario David Grutman. Make your dinner reservations late and revel in the high-energy scene created by the man behind South Beach’s hottest clubs LIV and Story. Menu highlights include Peking duck, lobster dynamite roll with crispy quinoa and the namesake Komodo roll with wild mushrooms, white soy, tempura enoki and truffle oil. 801 Brickell Avenue, Miami, FL 33131.
For a casual take on Asian cuisine, head to SuViche in Wynwood (additional locations in Brickell and South Beach). Fusing Japanese sushi with Peruvian ceviche and tiraditos, it’s all about hyper-fresh and flavorful raw fish here. Wynwood is also their only location with a Pisco bar where you can sample a range of cocktails made with the Peruvian spirit that’s similar to brandy. Go for the namesake SuViche roll made with crispy shrimp, cream cheese and avocado topped with tuna for a delightful morsel. Their SuViche ceviche is made with the addition of Japanese spices for a one-of-a-kind punch of flavor. 2751 N. Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33127.
With its original location established in 1993 in South Miami, Akashi’s sister location in Coconut Grove near the CocoWalk shopping center is one of the best places in the neighborhood for a traditional Japanese/sushi dinner. With everything from sushi, sashimi and hand rolls on the menu, they also specialize in entrees like teriyaki chicken, fish-katsu and pan-friend tilapia. Their namesake Akashi roll is made with eel, krab, avocado, cucumber and spicy mayo with eel sauce, cream cheese, masago and sesame seeds. 3444 Main Highway, Coconut Grove, FL 33133.
For your ramen fix, head to the newly opened Ichimi in beautiful Coral Gables. Using a noodle-making machine imported from Japan, enjoy ramen in one of three preparations: traditional swimming in broth, dipping-style with a side of broth and cold in a salad presentation. The space is intimate and cozy, perfect for a relaxed meal out. Other menu highlights include scallion pancakes, fried oysters, gyoza dumplings and pork buns. 2330 Salzedo Street, Coral Gables, FL 33134.
Established in 1984, South Miami’s Tropical Chinese has something of a cult following. About 16 miles southwest of South Beach, it’s worth the drive for their authentic Hong Kong-style dim sum, and it’s a pilgrimage every Miami foodie has made at least once. With more than 56 varieties to choose from, fresh, steaming dumplings roll through the dining room on carts where you make your selections. They include everything from the crispy shrimp ball, roast pork turnover, beef dumplings and stuffed tofu. Tropical Chinese is committed to fresh, natural ingredients and this is reflective of their entire menu of Chinese classics. 7991 SW 40th Street, Miami, FL 33155.
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