In the hip, art-fueled Wynwood neighborhood, chef Michael Lewis’s KYU features Japanese yakiniku (grilled meats), chilled sliced Hamachi, white ponzu, green chile and herbs alongside roasted grouper with sake-braised white beans. It's an amazing spot to sip Yamazaki 12-year whiskey. The revamped Art Deco Plymouth Hotel, a new branch of Blue Ribbon Sushi doles out roasted corn with miso butter, togarashi and queso fresco (an homage to Miami’s Latin influence) and pan seared cobia on a bed of corn, edamame and tomato succotash.
The sultry, sophisticated Jaya at the Setai kitchen (meaning “victory”) serves brilliant dishes from chef Mathias Gervais, like delicate bluefin tuna with avocado, ginger, radish and yuzukosho.
Locals love chef NaiYaRa—where chef Piyarat Potha Arreeratn (aka chef Bee) cooks Thai street fare infused with Japanese flavors. Order the flashy 14 Carats, which includes taraba kani, truffle oil, uni, caviar and gold flakes (what is South Florida without a touch of decadence?).
From the owners of the ultra-modern Juvia, Sunset Harbor neighborhood spot Sushi Garage serves mains like miso maple sea bass—best washed down with a refreshing kumquat mojito shaken with sake, St-Germain, Perrier, mint and lime.
And, now a word on poke—which is Hawaiian, of course, but strongly influenced by Japanese cuisine. The buzzy, eco-chic 1 Hotel’s sunny rooftop spot, Watr, offers seaweed salad, sushi rolls and bowls like kimchi tuna with quinoa and avocado, best paired with Champagne. This is the spot for people-watching, but for a more casual meal you'll find a strong showing of bowls at the bright Poke 305, where the “Big Mao” comes packed with a rainbow of salmon, crab salad, tuna and mix-ins like daikon, seaweed salad, edamame, cucumber and wasabi aioli. Even the venerable steakhouse Prime 112 has offered a daily special since its inception: a poke bowl starring pricey Hawaiian big eye tuna, cut into delicious bite-sized cubes.