With Miami’s proximity to the water, there’s no question that Miami has access to some of the freshest fish in town — making the sushi some of the best around. Here are the top spots to get that sushi fix, from the traditional izakaya-style experience to over-the-top meals.Read More
Miami’s 20 Essential Sushi Restaurants
Where to find pristine nigiri, inventive rolls, and plentiful omakase menus
This longtime Stephen Starr restaurant in Bal Harbour Shops, which just moved into a brand new location on the mall's top floor, continues to be a go-to destination for the Gucci-clad set thanks to chef Makoto Okuwa’s pristine sushi menu. In addition to the raw stuff, Makoto’s modern Japanese dishes, bincho charcoal robata, and surprisingly affordable lunch bento boxes have hungry shoppers making this a staple in their rotation.
From the family behind the now-closed Sushi Deli and Japanese Market comes Sushi Erika. Operated by the daughter of Sushi Deli’s owner Michio Kushi, Erika Kushi, it features a similar feel and menu as its predecessor, housing just four tables and a small no-frills sushi bar. Favorites from Sushi Deli, like the sweet shrimp, macadamia, and love rolls, make an appearance on the menu, along with well-priced sashimi options. At the same time, newcomers like octopus salad also are found on the menu.
While Wabi Sabi may be known for its pristine donburi bowls, sushi lovers can indulge in a la carte pieces of fish or opt for the Wabi Sabi Omakase with 12 pieces of nigiri and one maki of the chef’s choice.
Dragonfly Izakaya & Fish Market
Inspired by traditional izakayas, Dragonfly features a bevy of Japanese comfort food dishes like grilled octopus and crispy pig ears, but regulars return for one reason: its sushi. From traditional nigiri topped with fresh fish to clever rolls like the aptly named Doralzuela roll with
shiso chimichurri steak, sweet plantains, caraotas, guasacaca, and cream cheese, there’s something for every sushi lover.
Sushi Yasu Tanaka
Yes, one of Miami’s best omakase experiences can be found inside a food hall in the Miami Design District. Sushi Yasu Tanaka, from sushi chef Yasu Tanaka who formerly led The Den at Azabu, offers a pristine, nigiri-focused menu that can be purchased by the piece. But the real star is the $59, 10-course omakase option, which is easily one of the best omakase deals in town.
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From its days inside the former St. Roch Market, this Japanese-Peruvian restaurant has grown into a larger space all its own in the Design District’s Palm Court. The restaurant is helmed by brother and sister chef duo Nando and Val Chang and their father Fernando Chang, who are lovingly referred to as the “Chang Gang.” Itamae highlights the family’s Peruvian heritage with bright flavors found throughout the menu, which are tactfully combined with Japanese techniques and ingredients. Sushi lovers in particular opt for the creative nigiri offerings that rotate frequently. Its sister restaurant in Wynwood, B-Side, offers more casual rolls and is worth visiting, too.
This stunning Wynwood restaurant is an ode to Japanese cuisine with a variety of a la carte fried dishes, soups, appetizers, seasonal sushi, nigiri, and hand rolls offered by the piece in an architecturally stunning setting.
This aptly named omakase restaurant is literally “hidden” behind a taco shop in Wynwood. Once guests enter with a numeric code (provided when the reservation is made), they encounter an intimate, eight-seat restaurant serving up an elaborate menu featuring small Japanese appetizers, sashimi, and nigiri, all made with seasonal ingredients brought in from Japan. The meal is paired with sake, shochu, beer, and wine to wash it down. Make sure to reserve early, as seats book out months in advance.
This Austin import — which is described by Brett Anderson of the New York Times as “altering the city’s culinary identity” — has made a name for itself in Miami as a sushi staple. Located in Wynwood, it features creative sushi and sashimi made with fish flown in daily from the Tsukiji market and makimono, yakimono, agemono, and other Japanese dishes in a chic and serene atmosphere. Those who want to try the entire menu can opt for the 10-course chef’s tasting, a six-course signature tasting, and a six-course vegetarian tasting.
Omakai Sushi (Multiple locations)
Who says that well-priced sushi can’t be found in Miami? Omakai Sushi offers a proper omakase experience starting at just $26 a person and running up to $84 for its deluxe, multi-course meal filled with seasonal fish. Various hand rolls, nigiri, and sashimi can also be ordered a la carte.
Pubbelly Sushi (Multiple locations)
This sushi comes from the award-winning Pubbelly team so guests can expect a menu of classic sushi dishes with their signature creative, Latin-fusion twist. Items like tuna pizza, bigeye tuna rolls, and miso bread pudding fill the menu, while the can’t-miss crab roll served with yuzu butter is as delicious as it is Instagram-worthy.
Hidden behind Koa Restaurant on South Beach, guests are escorted through a dark corridor that opens up into a theater-like den dining room where they’ll dine on a 16- to 18-course dinner created by executive chef Sebastian Labno. The menu often rotates with show-stopping dishes highlighting Kamakura’s Brazilian roots and Japanese training, like lobster sashimi, uni with black truffle on crispy rice, A5 wagyu nigiri, and otoro uni truffle temaki. Reservations are required, and guests will receive special instructions on how to access the restaurant once booked.
Sushi Bar Miami Beach
One of Miami’s most unique omakase experiences is tucked away inside the Esme Hotel. Led by one of the country’s only female omakase chefs, Ambrely Ouimette, diners feast on a 17-course meal that let’s the “chef decide.” Expect contemporary nigiri enhanced with ferments, salts, koshos, and unique condiments. While the menu will shift almost daily, expect unique items like aged bluefin akami with dehydrated red miso, bagel spice, and the Hokkaido scallop with white truffle salt shaved black truffle, and spherified truffle caviar.
This tiny Downtown spot lacks all the bells and whistles of some of its ostentatious brethren — and that is just fine. The focus here is on the omakase experience that features a perfectly paced selection of nigiri, including memorable surprises like Chawanmushi, a Japanese egg custard packed with flavor, along with a miso soup to end things off. With an extremely limited seating capacity, reservations are a must.
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A chic, minimalist hotspot overlooking the Miami River, Zuma offers internationally acclaimed modern Japanese cuisine in the heart of Downtown. This decade-old restaurant, which recently underwent a significant refresh, was the first U.S. location from this Japanese chain, but it’s still going strong. Whether diners are looking to scope out the celeb scene at the lounge, hang out at the always-buzzy bar, or indulge in a massive sushi spread, there’s a vibe for everyone at this fan-favorite restaurant. Pro tip: its over-the-top weekend brunch gives guests an unlimited sampling of all of its best dishes at one price.
Azabu Miami Beach
This New York City import boasts a “hidden” sushi counter inside its main restaurant, which serves omakase using local and imported seafood from the top fish markets in Japan. Wash it back with one of the 40 imported whiskeys on hand. Keep an eye on its social media channels for announcements about various interesting collaboration dinners with local chefs and purveyors.
While not an inexpensive meal, the tiny, eight-seat Naoe in Brickell Key offers one of the best sushi experiences in Miami. The meticulous meal rotates daily (no substitutions permitted) with dishes like stone crab nigiri, fresh uni marinated in salt water, unagi two ways, and a mystery ice cream served at the end of the meal. And to drink? Sake from the Cory’s family brewery in their Japanese hometown.
Sushi by Scratch Restaurants: Miami
High-end omakase is having a moment here in Miami, and the latest newcomer on the scene is Michelin-starred Austin import Sushi by Scratch Restaurants. Now housed in a permanent location in Coconut Grove, guests dine at a 10-seat counter-only space manned by a team of three chefs and one bartender. With three seatings nightly (5 p.m., 7:15 p.m., and 9:30 p.m.), the 17-course meal consists strictly of nigiri with each item served as is — meaning no extras like soy sauce or wasabi. The menu changes regularly, but certain favorites have made their way to Miami, like the hamachi painted with a sweet corn pudding and topped with bread crumbs and the 1-2 Punch offering different presentations of bone marrow over two courses.
Akashi Japanese Restaurant (Multiple locations)
This classic Japanese spot off U.S. 1 offers rolls, sushi, and Japanese sides that have kept the crowds coming back for more than 20 years. The well-priced menu has something for everyone, from the classics like a Dragon Roll and fried pork gyoza to rolls like the Mermaid Roll filled with spicy tuna, avocado, and cucumber, topped with masago, seaweed salad, and spicy mayo, making it a popular spot for people of all ages.
Shibui Japanese Restaurant
Those looking for their sushi fix in the ‘burbs will find the answer at Shibui. The Japanese restaurant serves a huge variety of fresh sushi, sashimi, and rolls that have been a hit for more than 40 years, complete with tatami seating on the floor just like it’s done in Japan.
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