Sashimi, maki and more: These are the 5 best sushi spots in Miami
Whether you're traveling to Art Basel in June or visiting multifaceted Miami "just because": These 5 sushi spots in Florida's capital should be on every foodie's bucket list.
April 6, 2022
Welcome to Miami - arguably one of the most beautiful and diverse cities in the US. If you're hungry for the best spots for outstanding sushi and a great atmosphere after days at the beach, trips to the Everglades, or long sightseeing tours in and around Florida's capital, you'll find it at these five addresses.
Before we dive into the world of fish and rice, for those new to sushi, let's briefly review the history and key terms of the japanese specialty.
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Miami is the spot for foodies - even sushi lovers will get their money's worth here. © Gautier Salles
From Japan to the USA: The Journey of Sushi
In the beginning, there was practicality: The journey of sushi began as a method of preserving fresh fish, which was soaked in rice and salt. It was not until the beginning of the 19th century that the fish and rice morsels were portioned into bite-sized portions and increasingly found their way onto the daily plates of Asia.
After all, it was the Californians who took on the Asian specialty in the 1960s and began to prepare it in a "Western" way. Since then, modern sushi has increasingly become a global trend food. And today? It's hard to imagine menus around the world without it. Even in Miami, which is known for its exciting culinary scene, maki, sashimi and the like are on everyone's lips.
Important terms for sushi newbies
Before we start with our top 5 tips for the best sushi places in Miami, here are some important terms that every sushi fan should know:
The thick inside-out rice rolls, filled or covered with various ingredients, often avocado and salmon, were developed in California.
Maki are wrapped in a nori sheet and contain various fillings - from vegetables to seafood. The gunkan maki are popular among gourmands, often filled with caviar.
Rice on the bottom, fish or seafood on top: the nigiri are true classics.
Maki and nigiri, true sushi classics. © Florian Metzner
Whether steamed, boiled or fried, the stuffed Japanese rice pockets called gyoza are among the most popular appetizers with sushi fans.
The guest is king - the Japanese also thought a long time ago. Omotenashi means the warm and quality hospitality of the island people.
Those who want to surprise their palate can opt for the so-called "omakase". Here, the chef decides which of his creations he will delight the guests with - perfect for all those who are tired of always reaching for the same dishes when dining and want to be inspired by the professional.
Omakase! The chef decides which specialties will be on the evening's table. © Thomas Marban
Izakaya in Japanese means "sake store where you linger". It is a small traditional "pub" with a cook, where you sit either at the counter or on cushions at the typical low tables, drink sake and eat classic Japanese dishes.
In connection with sushi, one often hears about the so-called robata grill. This is the grill around which the guests gather while the chef handles the fire and knife. The finished dish is traditionally served directly to the customers with a long wooden shovel.
Our top 5 sushi places in Miami
1. chotto mat miami
1666 Lenox Ave #1664, Miami Beach, Florida 33139, USA
Why: outstanding Nikkei cuisine and great urban ambience
Peru meets Japan in Miami: A visit to Chotto Matte is worthwhile not only for the outstanding Nikkei cuisine. The eclectic urban flair of the restaurant, with its palm trees as tall as houses, the high, open space, and the Asian-inspired interior, will also delight travelers' souls. The menu trumps with multi-faceted delights: From vegetable tempura and spicy tuna sashimi to chotto ceviche, king oyster mushroom tostadas and pollo picante, the selection at Chotto Matte is as eclectic as it is flavorful.
2. azabu miami beach
161 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, United States
Why: intimate omakase sushi experience at the Den
Cozy up at the Roboto Grill and watch the pros at work. © Azabu Miami Beach & Deepsleep Studio
The Azabu concept may have originated in New York City, but it's hard to imagine Miami's South-of-Fifth neighborhood without it. Locals line up to dine at the exclusive in eatery on Ocean Drive: Awarded a Michelin star, people make themselves comfortable here in the dining room with its open robata grill, sample Japanese specialties such as sea urchin and drink fine sake at the bar.
The highlight is the exclusive hidden back room "The Den", where only 18 people can sit and enjoy authentic Omakase-style sushi.
3. ZUMA Miami
270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Miami, Florida 33131, USA
Why: internationally renowned Izakaya Dining
Foodies head downtown in search of excellent sushi. ZUMA Miami is one of the city's best addresses, combining traditional izakaya dining with modern Japanese cuisine. The menu is extensive, the setting stylishly casual without sacrificing elegance. Here you can enjoy the sea view on the terrace, toast a successful meeting in the sake bar, and embark on a culinary world tour at the sushi and robata counter. The ZUMA chain, which already has eleven restaurants, for instance in London, Hong Kong, Istanbul or Dubai, is world-famous for its cuisine à la Rainer Becker - an absolute must-try for foodies. On Saturdays and Sundays, ZUMA even invites you to brunch!
4. blue ribbon sushi bar & grill
The Plymouth Hotel, 336 21st St, Miami Beach, Florida 33139, USA
Why: 30 years of culinary experience
Clear the stage and counter for the best sushi indulgence at the renowned Blue Ribbon Miami. © The Blue Ribbon
Since 1992, chef-brothers Bruce and Eric Bromberg have been causing a culinary stir with their Blue Ribbon restaurants - their love of outstanding cuisine in a stylish setting also characterizes their Blue Ribbon Sushi spot at the Plymouth Hotel. In addition to the usual classics, including superb Dragon Rolls and Niji, sushi lovers are served fine appetizers - such as Wakame Slat or Maguro Zuke - and main courses like Tobanyaki Salmon.
210 23rd St, Miami Beach, Florida 33140, USA
Why: Nightlife and sushi in one place
The Mandrake is rightfully considered one of Miami's top Instagram spots. © Mandrake
If you're looking for a unique atmosphere and nightlife, Mandrake is the place to go. Fresh fish flown in daily is turned into delicious Japanese, Korean and Chinese specialties, such as salmon caviar rolls, toro tuna on crispy rice or king crab noodles, izakaya-style. The Mandrake also scores highly in terms of flair: neon signs hang here next to greenery-covered walls and ceilings, and brick walls in industrial chic are followed by delicate Japanese wooden doors and arches.
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