8 Under-the-Radar Japanese Restaurants in Miami

By Carissa Chesanek  |  April 2, 2014

Here in Miami, we have a lot of upscale and trendy Japanese restaurants (Zuma or Doraku Sushi, anyone?) that are as much about scene as cuisine. But sometimes we want to bypass all the flash and just enjoy fresh eats inside a relaxed, hole-in-the-wall setting. Here are eight hidden-gem Japanese restaurants that will satisfy the craving. 

  • Yakko-San

    Tucked away inside North Miami Beach's Intracoastal Mall, you'll find this lively, late-night local favorite offering unique plates like crispy bok choy or kawahagi grilled trigger fish. Of course, there's also traditional items too, ranging from tempura to noodles, that complement that lychee-infused Japanese white sangria. 

    3881 NE 163rd St.; 305-947-0064

  • Yugo Restaurant 

    From the team that brought Lan-Pan Asian Cafe in Coral Gables comes this modern Asian space with a mix of cuisine, ranging from crispy lamb ribs to vegetable stir-fry. As for drinks, expect plenty of traditional cold sakes and exclusive Japanese microbrews to sip on.

    357 Alcazar Ave.;  305-442-8600

  • Credit: Short Order


    Foodies and locals alike know about this tiny eatery hidden away in Brickell Key, offering a chef's choice dinner menu for $200 per person. Chef Kevin Cory creates a unique - and always changing - Japanese menu for two nightly seatings (6 PM and 9:30 PM), feeding just eight people a time.

    661 Brickell Key Dr.; 305-947-6263

  • Sushi Ko Japanese Restaurant

    Inside this no-frills relaxed space, the decor might not be high-end, but the quality of food sure is, especially when it comes to the prime seafood selections. Highlights on the menu include thin white fish topped with cold ponzu sauce and garlic chile and a shrimp tempura roll with eel and avocado.

    7971 SW 40th St.; 305-264-6778

  • Shibui Japanese

    Despite its simple, strip-mall setting, this family-owned restaurant has been bringing in sushi snobs since it opened roughly 30 years ago. The fusion-type dishes (think Japeruvian ceviche and a "smoky" roll) keep in-the-know eaters coming back.

    SW 102nd Ave.; 305-274-5578

  • Izakaya Japanese Restaurant

    Inside this supercasual Coral Gables spot, you'll find a large menu (in both English and Japanese) with an ample selection of small, meant-to-be-shared plates. And all the classics are here too, like stir-fried garlic-flavored beef, fish teriyaki, sautéed vegetables and the popular raw conch in spicy sauce.

    159 Aragon Ave.; 305-445-2584

  • Japanese Market

    A real hole-in-the-wall, this North Bay Village supermarket brings in the locals with its high-quality, inexpensive grub and various wine and beer selections. Sure, you're most likely going to wait for a seat inside this compact grocery store, but the fresh sushi selection (crunchy shrimp roll and spicy tuna) and sake options will make it worth the wait.

    1412 79th St. Cswy.; 305-861-0143

  • Toni’s Sushi Bar

    While tourists might not know about this sushi staple in South Beach (the first Japanese restaurant in the area), true Miamians head to this Washington Avenue space for its sought-after sushi and sashimi boats. But it also provides other worthwhile Japanese plates too, including its own roasted duck breast in teriyaki sauce that's topped with shiitake mushrooms.

    1208 Washington Ave.; 305-673-9368