By: Dana Rozansky
Ever since my trip to Japan nearly two years ago, I’ve been praying to the sushi Gods to send me some #sushiporn in the form of omakase. For those not familiar with the concept, omakase is a Japanese tradition in which you let the chef choose your order. It literally translates into, “I’ll leave it up to you.” Ever since I left Japan, I thought all hope was lost when it came to finding a comparable omakase experience in the 305…until now.
Over the past year or so, Miami has truly stepped up its sushi game and brought us several omakase spots that genuinely rival Japan. So next time you’re feeling adventurous and want someone else to do the ordering for once, here are your best bets:
Ahi Sushi is a completely unassuming sushi bar on Calle Ocho that happened to catch my eye one night when I was heading to Azucar for ice cream. Always on the hunt for good sushi, I did a bit of research and found that people were raving about this place – both because of its high-quality fish, but also because of its price. In a world where an omakase experience often costs upwards of $120 a pop, Ahi is truly a steal at just $80 for a 9-course feast. This place is tiny and casual, with just six seats in the entire joint. If you’re looking for a quality meal without the frills and expense of your usual omakase experience, Ahi is your spot.
Location: Little Havana
Price: $80 (9 courses)
The first time I dined at Azabu, I was seated next to Lenny Kravitz…so needless to say, this place is the real deal. And just when I thought I couldn’t speak more highly of Azabu, I discovered that they have a ‘den’ where you can enjoy an Omakase experience. The den is a hidden sushi bar tucked away behind the main dining room where you can indulge in fresh fish flown in daily from the fish markets of Japan. You’ll sit back and watch the skilled sushi chefs, many of whom hail from the original Michelin-starred Azabu restaurant in NYC, preparing each course. Enjoy Japanese whiskeys or sake pairings and you’ve got yourself a perfect date night.
Location: South Beach
Price: Options range from $120- $250 (Details here)
When I heard about a new 4-seat omakase experience at none other than the Versace mansion, my ears perked up and I made the first available reservation. Upon arriving at the mansion, we got whisked upstairs to Gianni's Suite where we entered a lounge-like space equipped with a sake vending machine of sorts, a pop-up bar in the corner, comfy couches and overall good energy. We grabbed a glass of sake and waited for the 1-hour omakase experience at the sushi bar directly adjacent to the lounge to begin. During the next hour, I indulged in piece after piece (17 total, to be exact) of some of the freshest fish, wagyu and unexpected creations I had ever had. In fact, I went in with the pre-conceived notion that I was not an uni fan, and Sushi by Bou proved me wrong. In addition to the insane food, the service was equally impeccable. Everyone from the sushi chef to the bartender was incredibly knowledgeable when it came to the fish, the sake pairings, cocktails and more. Word to the wise: Make your reservation ASAP because it’s going to book up FAST.
Location: South Beach
Price: $125 (17 courses)
Brag Kilgore’s latest venture, Kaido, is the newest addition to the ever-evolving Design District food & beverage scene. The interior is dark, sultry and full of character. From the expansive bar with Japanese whiskeys and sakes galore, to the secret passageway that leads you to Kaido’s hidden bar in the back, this is not an experience to be missed. If you’re looking to enjoy an innovative cocktail and light Asian-inspired bites, this is a perfect stop. The real show stopper, however, is the hidden bar behind Kaido which is called Ama. Here you can enjoy Kilgore’s interpretation of omakase which is aptly dubbed ama-kase. Get ready for a journey through 16 courses at the 8-seat bar. Trust me - you won’t want to miss it.
Location: Design District
Price: Options range from $95-$220.
I must admit that I’m writing this one with a small chip on my shoulder, since I’ve never actually had the pleasure of dining at Hiden. Despite my fomo, I need to applaud Hiden for the unwavering demand they’ve received ever since they opened last year. The secret to getting a reservation at Hiden? Simply put, you need to book months in advance. With just eight seats, each one of those seats is certainly a hot commodity. While I can’t personally vouch for Hiden, I consulted with enough of my foodie friends who unanimously rave about the experience. SO, if you’re someone who plans far in advance, you’re in luck because there’s no other way to get in on the action. At Hiden, you can expect a delicious, innovative eight-course chef’s choice menu consisting of a variety of hot and cold dishes, sushi and dessert.
Price: $150-$170 (8 courses)
So take a break from your spicy tuna and salmon avocado rolls and live a little…just leave it up to the pros and I promise you’ll be in great hands.