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14 Outstanding South Florida Japanese Restaurants That Go Beyond Sushi

Because Japanese food is so much more than sushi

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Sushi seems to be everywhere in South Florida, including places where it really has no business being. Although nobody will be faulted for their nigiri and maki habit, there is so much more to Japanese food than those morsels of seasoned rice and seafood (but if sushi is being craved here is where to find the best in the area). South Florida actually has a variety of restaurants where guests can sample other types of Japanese specialties ranging from ramen to curry. Below is a list of 14 of South Florida’s best Japanese restaurants that are not just about sushi.

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Monkitail

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Part of South Florida’s “Philly Invasion,” this modern take on a traditional izakaya is chef Michael Schulson’s addition to the newly revamped Diplomat Resort in Hollywood. The resort can be seen as Broward’s version of the Fontainebleau and carries the laid-back vibes that Miami’s northern neighbor is known for while still being elegant. The menu at Monkitail is diverse and features classic robatayaki, as well as Schulson’s more unique fusion creations. The edamame and truffle dumplings in sake-infused dashi are a must-have.

Located in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Kuro sets itself apart from most Japanese restaurants in South Florida with its desserts. Japan has a rich pastry and confectionary tradition, but sadly most Japanese restaurants in the area may only feature a pedestrian green tea ice cream. Pastry chef Michael Galindo will have none of that here. Instead, diners can finish a meal with unique creations that include a black sesame panna cotta with pickled ginger jelly, pomegranate foam, and crispy seaweed sponge.

Marumi Sushi

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Don’t be fooled by the name — there is so much on the menu at this authentic izakaya to make even the biggest sushi addicts try something new. A large portion of the menu is devoted to small plates diners can enjoy with beer or sake, like chilled tofu and crispy croquettes. There are also more substantial dishes, including rice bowls and hotpots. The most interesting items, however, appear on its ever-changing list of daily specials.

Ceviche DOZO

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Japan is full of many tiny eateries that are one-man shows. Chef Harumi Mattiacci has brought that tradition over to Hollywood with her quaint neighborhood joint, Ceviche Dozo. She offers a couple of ceviches, but the most soul warming specialties here are her rice bowls, including one featuring her Japanese curry. The prices are as attractive as the food and make it easy to eat here several times a week.

Crispy seafood
Ceviche Dozo/Facebook

Matsuri

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Located at the intersection of Red Road and Bird Road, this is one of Miami’s older authentic izakayas. Once inside, guests are certain to find at least one table of Japanese business travelers enjoying a taste of home. Much of the menu is actually written in Japanese. As with many izakayas, Matsuri offers numerous small plates, including a large variety of vegetable dishes. The restaurant also features complete dinners inspired by the seasons.

Shibui Japanese Restaurant

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This longstanding Kendall restaurant offers two levels of seating and gives diners the option to either sit on chairs or on the floor, as one would traditionally do in a Japanese home. The menu features many expected Japanese favorites like teriyaki and tempura. However, Shibui is one of the few places that regularly offers sukiyaki in the area. This comforting stew includes beef and numerous vegetables in a mildly sweet soy broth and is served in a metal cauldron here.

Su Shin Izakaya

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Located in the heart of Coral Gables’ business district, this no-frills eatery has a menu full of traditional Japanese fare. Su Shin offers a long list of rice and noodle specialties, including ochazuke – a simple dish of rice drowned in green tea. The izakaya also offers several hotpot dishes, including a seafood yosenabe. On the cooler side is a selection of small plates dressed in tosazu, a vinaigrette flavored with dry bonito flakes.

N By NAOE

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Chef Kevin Cory’s Kaiseki restaurant, NAOE, is perhaps one of the most celebrated dining destinations in Miami. His sister restaurant, N by NAOE, may not be as famous as his first brainchild, but it is definitely worth checking out for shabu shabu. This Japanese style of cooking involves dipping paper-thin slices of beef, as well as vegetables, in an umami-rich broth. Cory’s obsessive attention to detail is present in everything here, quite possibly making this one of the best places for shabu shabu outside of Japan.

Yakko-San

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Sometimes the craving for Japanese food arrives late at night. Sometimes, there is nothing better than a plate of yakisoba after a night of drinking. Fortunately, Yakko-San is open until 3 a.m. every day to satisfy those urges. The menu kitchen doesn’t dumb things down, either. Expect to find dishes like grilled beef tongue, crispy fried gizzards, and triggerfish jerky. This restaurant also offers a selection of Japanese-style pasta dishes that fuse Japanese and Italian elements.

Triggerfish
Yakko-San/Facebook

Chef Makoto Okuwa’s restaurant inside the luxurious Bal Harbour Shops is known for its flawless sushi, but diners can more fully experience Chef Okuwa’s creativity away from the sushi bar. The menu is quite cosmopolitan and features dishes that infuse Japanese flavors into western dishes, such as a wasabi chimichurri and a brown rice risotto. Makoto is also an ideal venue to sample the richness of domestic and imported wagyu beef either seared at the table on a hot stone or served simply as a steak.

Ramen Lab Eatery

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This fast casual eatery in Boca Raton may well be worth the trip from Miami. It boasts a meticulously concocted broth, as well as fresh, handmade noodles. In true ramen shop fashion, the menu is very concise, offering a handful of broth varieties, as well as a selection of toppings. This may also be one of the few places where vegans can enjoy a bowl of this quintessential Japanese comfort food. To round out the menu, the kitchen also dishes out a few rice bowls for the soup adverse, as well as a selection of appetizers.

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

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Few things are better than meat that has come off the grill only seconds before taking a bite. Gyu-Kaku is a national chain specializing in yakiniku dining with locations in Miami and Pinecrest. This type of restaurant allows diners to grill meat themselves at the table. The concept is similar to Korean barbecue, but the flavors are all Japanese. The restaurants feature a la carte, as well as set price menus.

Japanese barbecue spread
Gyu-Kaku/Facebook

Ichimi Ramen

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This Coral Gables eatery offers a concise menu of izakaya favorites for diners who need their fix. It is its namesake ramen, however, that is the real draw here. Besides its bowls of noodles in in a variety of broths, including the rich and porky tonkotsu, the restaurant also offers cold ramen dishes. Additionally, the restaurant offers noodles with dipping sauces, called tsukemen. On occasion, the kitchen will also feature seasonal ramen preparations.

Dragonfly Izakaya & Fish Market

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The standout feature of this Doral izakaya is its market. Whether it was intended merely to add to the ambiance, it does offer diners the opportunity to stock up on a box of Pocky or a bottle of artisanal soy sauce. The menu features interpretations of traditional Japanese dishes, as well as some well-priced lunch sets featuring. Dragonfly’s brunch menu, however, is its most unique draw. Expect Japanese takes on traditional American brunch fare, like eggs benedict that featuring kurobuta pork, a steamed bun, and yuzu miso hollandaise.

Monkitail

Part of South Florida’s “Philly Invasion,” this modern take on a traditional izakaya is chef Michael Schulson’s addition to the newly revamped Diplomat Resort in Hollywood. The resort can be seen as Broward’s version of the Fontainebleau and carries the laid-back vibes that Miami’s northern neighbor is known for while still being elegant. The menu at Monkitail is diverse and features classic robatayaki, as well as Schulson’s more unique fusion creations. The edamame and truffle dumplings in sake-infused dashi are a must-have.

Kuro

Located in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Kuro sets itself apart from most Japanese restaurants in South Florida with its desserts. Japan has a rich pastry and confectionary tradition, but sadly most Japanese restaurants in the area may only feature a pedestrian green tea ice cream. Pastry chef Michael Galindo will have none of that here. Instead, diners can finish a meal with unique creations that include a black sesame panna cotta with pickled ginger jelly, pomegranate foam, and crispy seaweed sponge.

Marumi Sushi

Don’t be fooled by the name — there is so much on the menu at this authentic izakaya to make even the biggest sushi addicts try something new. A large portion of the menu is devoted to small plates diners can enjoy with beer or sake, like chilled tofu and crispy croquettes. There are also more substantial dishes, including rice bowls and hotpots. The most interesting items, however, appear on its ever-changing list of daily specials.

Ceviche DOZO

Japan is full of many tiny eateries that are one-man shows. Chef Harumi Mattiacci has brought that tradition over to Hollywood with her quaint neighborhood joint, Ceviche Dozo. She offers a couple of ceviches, but the most soul warming specialties here are her rice bowls, including one featuring her Japanese curry. The prices are as attractive as the food and make it easy to eat here several times a week.

Crispy seafood
Ceviche Dozo/Facebook

Matsuri

Located at the intersection of Red Road and Bird Road, this is one of Miami’s older authentic izakayas. Once inside, guests are certain to find at least one table of Japanese business travelers enjoying a taste of home. Much of the menu is actually written in Japanese. As with many izakayas, Matsuri offers numerous small plates, including a large variety of vegetable dishes. The restaurant also features complete dinners inspired by the seasons.

Shibui Japanese Restaurant

This longstanding Kendall restaurant offers two levels of seating and gives diners the option to either sit on chairs or on the floor, as one would traditionally do in a Japanese home. The menu features many expected Japanese favorites like teriyaki and tempura. However, Shibui is one of the few places that regularly offers sukiyaki in the area. This comforting stew includes beef and numerous vegetables in a mildly sweet soy broth and is served in a metal cauldron here.

Su Shin Izakaya

Located in the heart of Coral Gables’ business district, this no-frills eatery has a menu full of traditional Japanese fare. Su Shin offers a long list of rice and noodle specialties, including ochazuke – a simple dish of rice drowned in green tea. The izakaya also offers several hotpot dishes, including a seafood yosenabe. On the cooler side is a selection of small plates dressed in tosazu, a vinaigrette flavored with dry bonito flakes.

N By NAOE

Chef Kevin Cory’s Kaiseki restaurant, NAOE, is perhaps one of the most celebrated dining destinations in Miami. His sister restaurant, N by NAOE, may not be as famous as his first brainchild, but it is definitely worth checking out for shabu shabu. This Japanese style of cooking involves dipping paper-thin slices of beef, as well as vegetables, in an umami-rich broth. Cory’s obsessive attention to detail is present in everything here, quite possibly making this one of the best places for shabu shabu outside of Japan.

Yakko-San

Sometimes the craving for Japanese food arrives late at night. Sometimes, there is nothing better than a plate of yakisoba after a night of drinking. Fortunately, Yakko-San is open until 3 a.m. every day to satisfy those urges. The menu kitchen doesn’t dumb things down, either. Expect to find dishes like grilled beef tongue, crispy fried gizzards, and triggerfish jerky. This restaurant also offers a selection of Japanese-style pasta dishes that fuse Japanese and Italian elements.

Triggerfish
Yakko-San/Facebook

Makoto

Chef Makoto Okuwa’s restaurant inside the luxurious Bal Harbour Shops is known for its flawless sushi, but diners can more fully experience Chef Okuwa’s creativity away from the sushi bar. The menu is quite cosmopolitan and features dishes that infuse Japanese flavors into western dishes, such as a wasabi chimichurri and a brown rice risotto. Makoto is also an ideal venue to sample the richness of domestic and imported wagyu beef either seared at the table on a hot stone or served simply as a steak.

Ramen Lab Eatery

This fast casual eatery in Boca Raton may well be worth the trip from Miami. It boasts a meticulously concocted broth, as well as fresh, handmade noodles. In true ramen shop fashion, the menu is very concise, offering a handful of broth varieties, as well as a selection of toppings. This may also be one of the few places where vegans can enjoy a bowl of this quintessential Japanese comfort food. To round out the menu, the kitchen also dishes out a few rice bowls for the soup adverse, as well as a selection of appetizers.

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

Few things are better than meat that has come off the grill only seconds before taking a bite. Gyu-Kaku is a national chain specializing in yakiniku dining with locations in Miami and Pinecrest. This type of restaurant allows diners to grill meat themselves at the table. The concept is similar to Korean barbecue, but the flavors are all Japanese. The restaurants feature a la carte, as well as set price menus.

Japanese barbecue spread
Gyu-Kaku/Facebook

Ichimi Ramen

This Coral Gables eatery offers a concise menu of izakaya favorites for diners who need their fix. It is its namesake ramen, however, that is the real draw here. Besides its bowls of noodles in in a variety of broths, including the rich and porky tonkotsu, the restaurant also offers cold ramen dishes. Additionally, the restaurant offers noodles with dipping sauces, called tsukemen. On occasion, the kitchen will also feature seasonal ramen preparations.

Dragonfly Izakaya & Fish Market

The standout feature of this Doral izakaya is its market. Whether it was intended merely to add to the ambiance, it does offer diners the opportunity to stock up on a box of Pocky or a bottle of artisanal soy sauce. The menu features interpretations of traditional Japanese dishes, as well as some well-priced lunch sets featuring. Dragonfly’s brunch menu, however, is its most unique draw. Expect Japanese takes on traditional American brunch fare, like eggs benedict that featuring kurobuta pork, a steamed bun, and yuzu miso hollandaise.

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