Omakase is the Japanese word that translates to the simple message of “I’ll leave it up to you” — and is the dining tradition of letting the chef choose what is served based on seasonality, quality ingredients, and minimalist preparation. It’s an exclusive and pricey experience often shared in an intimate setting with only a handful of guests. Needless to say, the Magic City is on board in celebrating meticulously crafted dinners curated by top sushi chefs. Here’s a list of Miami’s go-to favs.Read More
Omakase in South Florida: 10 Stellar Spots
Like going to Japan — without the long flight
1. Kuro (in Seminole Hard Rock)
Housed inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, this sleek eatery welcomes weary gamblers, tourists, and food lovers with beautifully presented modern Japanese fare. Head to the intimate omakase room in the back, grab a table, or better yet, have a seat at the sushi bar as the omakase chef presents diners with a meal comprised of Kuro’s greatest hits showcasing favorites like tuna crispy rice, wagyu beef tacos, and scallop sashimi with lemon yuzu gel.
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2. Oishi Thai
Chef Danny Khoet proves food and art can go hand in hand with the countless inviting images posted on his Instagram account. There’s no advertising for it, but regulars know to approach the sushi bar and ask for omakase, which ranges from eight to 18 pieces and blends Japanese imports like uni, salt water eel and Kobe beef with local Florida fish (snapper, wahoo and grouper.)
3. Wabi Sabi by Shuji
Miami, FL 33138
As its name implies, this newcomer is inspired by the ancient Japanese aesthetic philosophy of wabi sabi, which aims to find beauty in imperfection and elegance in simplicity. Chef Shuji Hiyakawa, who grew up inside his father’s Udon noodle shop in Japan, proves that even a city obsessed with beauty can do just that. The eatery serves authentic, yet simple Japanese sushi bowls and, come August 22nd, will offer a 15-course omakase serving Japanese products and Florida shrimp. Seating is for 6.
4. Dragonfly Izakaya & Fish Market
This expansive eatery offers it all: sushi, robatayaki, and even a market up front selling Japanese favorites like chocolate biscuit sticks. Come for omakase, which is still only a word-of-mouth event offered Thursday to Sunday, to pair up with the restaurant’s shipment from Japan. Depending what’s available, hungry guests can expect to dine on buttery melt-in-your-mouth servings of aged tuna and Japanese Amber Jack. Chef heightens the experience with his own special touches, such as a potently fragrant orange oil (made from peels of 200 lemons, limes, and oranges), hand-grated wasabi, and rice made using akazu (vinegar made using sake lees).
5. Kaido Miami
James Beard Finalist Brad Kilgore puts his spin on the omakase experience in Kaido’s private cocktail lounge, AMA. While Kilgore is not a trained sushi chef, he is eager to take diners on a 16-course Japanese-inspired sensory trip of a he calls “ama-kase.” During the meal diners are served to dishes like uni fondue with rock shrimp and 24-karat gold, the “scrambled egg” chawanmushi, a savory flan hybrid made with preserved black truffle butter, enoki mushroom carbonara, and a short rib with black bean glaze and charred kimchi. Desserts include a clever take on milk n’ cookies and the night ends with a gold Chinese takeout box parting gift.
Start the omakase experience here as James Bond would, entering a bustling taco stand in Wynwood then head to the back where a nondescript door is accompanied by a keypad. Enter the secret code (emailed to guests the day of their reservation) and it quietly glides open, revealing an eight-seat omakase gem. Under the guidance of chef Tetsuya Honda and chef James Heinlein guests are treated to a 15-course omakase using ingredients flown in from Japan. Think items like a Shigoku oyster served with pineapple, caviar, and tamarind-sudachi green tea; buttery bites of toro; Japanese scallops softly cooked in a brown butter and yuzu sauce; and bites of A5 Wagyu ribeye that almost melt in your mouth.
7. Katsuya South Beach
Katsuya has made its mark world-wide with locations popping up as far as Dubai and Qatar. Miami’s two locations blend high-end Japanese fare with a stylish, Miami vibe. Omakase here includes swanky bites like toro tartare and beluga caviar prepared table side, Wagyu gyoza, king crab tempura, and liquid nitrogen snowball cheesecake. Beverage options including sake flights and an extensive assortment of Japanese whisky to choose from.
8. Zuma Miami
Overlooking the Miami River, Zuma Miami has a secret omakase menu that changes depending on availability. The restaurant offers four different omakase options, which increase in price. The lunch omakase features Zuma classics, the signature omakase is a larger version of the lunch option, while premium has higher-end selections, and seasonal, as the name implies, highlights seasonal ingredients. Guest get to try dishes ranging from cold sashimi, a salad, tempura, assorted maki and nigiri, roasted fish, grilled meats and vegetables.
9. Azabu Miami Beach
Tucked away inside the Michelin-starred eatery Azabu Miami Beach is its exclusive sushi bar, The Den. Helmed by Tokyo-trained chefs, it offers an intimate, seasonal omakase menu with a mix of grilled and raw items, along with options like a uni tasting or toro tasting for an added fee.
Chef/owner Kevin Cory is the mastermind behind this intimate and minimalist setting serving seafood that the website boasts is “it’s not fresh...it’s alive.” First opened in Sunny Isles where it garnered a steady and faithful following before relocating to Brickell Key, Naoe serves a maximum of 8 guests for each seating (6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.) and uses products from a variety of locations including Florida.