With fresh fish so easy to come by, it can be hard to sift through Miami’s slew of sushi options to find the true diamonds in the rough. These four locations that will please your taste buds in ways that only the highest quality fish and perfect vinegar-to-rice ration can.
The amount of attention Chef Cory pays to every minute detail of the meal is astounding. He is attentive to the temperature of the sushi rice, keeping it just warm enough to be the perfect companion to the chilled, expertly cut, highest quality fish. Some of the fish will have flown in that day from as far away as Japan. The entire meal will be omakase, meaning the chef chooses it for you. The sake comes highly recommended and is made by Cory’s family’s sake brewery, Nakamura Brewery, which was established in the 1800s.
Reservations at Naoe are a must and have to be made weeks to over a month in advance. For travelers flying into the area, Naoe is a short drive from the airport and Brickell is part of the greater downtown area with a wonderful urban feel. Naoe has very limited seating with two seatings available a night, one at 6:00 p.m. and the second at 9:30 p.m. for up to 8 people each. The restaurant does not accept walk-ins.
If you want to eat like the locals, Matsuri is the clear winner. It has been voted best of Miami and really is a hidden gem, tucked away in a strip mall where it’s been hiding for over 20 years. Unlike Naoe, saving up for a single meal isn’t a requirement. Sushi starts at $1.50.
The menu offers items you can’t find anywhere else in Miami, like raw beef topped with quail egg. Ramen is a specialty and entirely authentic. Don’t come here if you’re expecting a roll with cream cheese; it’s an ingredient they don’t carry.
For those who prefer a more Americanized style of sushi, you won’t settle for sub-par California rolls at Zuma. The California roll is stuffed with real Alaskan King crab for an incredible flavor profile. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, try the sea urchin prepared two ways, topped with ikura. In addition to sushi, there is a wide range of fully cooked selections including a flaky and tender sea bass.
For vegetarian tastes, the Don Buri featuring perfectly prepared sticky rice, roasted sweet corn, assorted veggies and black truffles will make you a devoted fan.
Though the menu is absolutely enormous, be warned some of the portions, especially from the appetizer list, are a little on the small side. Entrees are meant to be shared, tapas style, over a raspberry martini.
Sushi Deli is located inside Japanese Market in North Bay Village, and it’s only open during the day, closing at 6:30. It’s also closed Mondays and Tuesdays. The décor isn’t fancy and the tables are slightly cramped due to the small space, so chances are you will have to wait for a table. It is, however, well worth waiting. The menu isn’t expansive, but it is beautifully handwritten. The prices are low enough to feel like a steal and makes the strict rules — no phones and no photos — easy to follow. The fish and wasabi are fresh and perfectly portioned. The chef treats every piece of fish like a piece of art, so you’re in good hands if you go the omakase route.
Derek Holaday is a freelance writer based in Miami with over 10 years of experience in travel and transportation writing. He currently works with Miles Rent a Car Miami. In his free time, Derek tries to indulge in the unmistakably divine cuisine Miami has to offer.