What is it? Kevin Cory’s eight-seat restaurant flies under the radar but the omakase experience, which is offered twice nightly and lasts an average of two hours, is like none other in the city.
Why go? Cory is meticulous in his technique—importing his family-made soy sauce, flying in fish from Japan and poring over every delicate presentation. His attention to detail will cost you, but you won’t regret a dime.
What is it? The best New York export to find a home in Miami Beach since Shake Shack. Blue Ribbon is tiny, scene-y and expensive—but we wouldn’t change a thing.
Why go? Sidle up to the cozy sushi counter and watch the pros go to work. You’ll want to double-down on orders of the toro (the silkiest tuna you’ll ever eat) and signature Blue Ribbon roll.
What is it? For 30 years, this wood-paneled gem in one of the many nondescript strip malls along Bird Road has lured in-the-know Miamians with fresh, reasonably priced sushi. Just be prepared to wait for a table, even if you make reservations.
Why go? Beautifully arranged platters of bluefin toro and other specialty fish are actually affordable here (approximately $5 compared to its usual going rate of $20 an order).
What is it? Here’s where you take your intransigent aunt for fancy sushi. She deserves fish flown straight from Japan and rice cooked in specialty equipment and you deserve a night off from her unyielding criticism. The beachfront property also boasts a stellar cocktail program, featuring 40 imported whiskeys.
Why go? Not into the hard stuff? Let your server guide you through the comprehensive, and admittedly overwhelming, selection of sake. Ask for samples until you find the right one to pair with the tempura corn and the delicate miso cod—which you can’t leave without sampling.
What is it? Stephen Starr made us rethink mall food with this upscale Japanese restaurant inside the Bal Harbour Shops. Whether or not you’re fresh off a shopping expedition, this place is worth a stop.
Why go? Two words: crispy rice. It’s on nearly every sushi menu across town, but no place has perfected the rice-to-fish ratio quite like Makoto. The toro tartare with caviar is also a treat.
What is it? The posh London transplant does Japanese izakaya in a roomy, ultramodern space. Arriving at the waterfront restaurant by yacht? Someone on staff will bring the sushi to you.
Why go? Brunch brings ceaseless pours of premium champagne, bloody Marys and the occasional Japanese whiskey tasting, plus an endless buffet of sashimi, Japanese bites and several other menu favorites for $95, reasonable by Zuma standards.
What is it? Another great strip mall find, only this one is north and considerably more well-known thanks to a devoted chef following, who make the trek after service. The Japanese tapas restaurant opens till 3am nightly.
Why go? The food is authentic and affordable, including a superb sashimi selection and daily nigiri specials sold by the piece. For the sake-phobic, Yakko-San carries a smattering of artisanal Japanese beers.
What is it? In a town where everything is constantly changing and shuttering, South Beach’s first sushi restaurant remains successfully in business since 1987.
Why go? Cozy sunken booths that give the impression you’re sitting on the ground but won’t make your legs cramp, hand rolls wrapped in crunchy seaweed (yep, that’s a thing) and budget sushi that’s actually fresh.
What is it? From its humble beginnings as a small college town restaurant in Gainesville, Florida, to a lofty, Japanese hotspot anchoring a major downtown Doral development, Dragonfly is steadily a neighborhood favorite no matter where it pops up.
Why go? The daily happy hour is a steal, featuring $1 oysters, appetizers for less than $5 and sushi rolls clocking in under $10. Plus, there’s a full fish market carrying fresh seafood and artisanal Japanese products in case you’re tempted to duplicate the experience at home.
What is it? This flashy spot attracts celebrities with its famed miso black cod, yellowtail jalapeno, rock shrimp tempura and other Nobu signatures.
Why go? Since moving to its new digs inside the Eden Roc Miami, Nobu is larger and less of a scene. Give it a shot on your next date night.