MIAReview

Itamae      review image
9.4

Itamae

Itamae, as far as we’re concerned, is the center of Miami’s raw fish universe, and the city’s best example of the tongue-melting powers of Nikkei food, a cuisine that blends Peruvian and Japanese influences into dishes like ceviche, tiradito, sushi, and much more.

And here is a small list of things we’ve eaten at the Design District restaurant that made us want to buy the entire kitchen Tempur-Pedic mattresses and a fancy white noise machine so they wake up every morning refreshed and ready to cook more of this stuff:

  • A roasted kanpachi collar with paper-thin skin that cracks like glass, revealing meat so soft and tender it tastes like a Dolly Parton ballad.

  • Striped bass ceviche swimming in a punchy ají limo that makes the inside of your mouth feel like the beat from "Get Ur Freak On."

  • Conchitas a la parmesana with a hat of blistered cheese so supple and plump it looks a little like Toad from Super Mario.

  • A passion fruit, lemon verbena, and yuza cremolada that is a three-act play of salty, sour, and sweet flavors that no amount of food adjectives can prepare your tongue for.

Unfortunately, we can’t promise that you’ll encounter these same dishes, because Itamae is one of those places where the menu changes almost daily, based on seasonality, available ingredients, and the da Vinci-esque imaginations of the people in the kitchen. But we can make one guarantee as to what you’re in for on any given visit: one of the best seafood experiences in Miami. That, first and foremost, is why you should make a reservation before you even get to the next paragraph.

Itamae      review image

But other delightful bonuses of Itamae include some lovely outdoor seating in a sunny courtyard surrounded by pretty architecture. And because it's in the heart of the Design District, there's also hilariously over-the-top influencer watching, and generously-spaced tables (so the influencers hopefully won't hear you making fun of them).

The restaurant is remarkably customizable for lots of situations too—casual enough for a quick lunch in gym shorts, but also highly appropriate for any sort of special occasion that calls for a bottle of wine, a supernatural tiradito, and the hands-down best dessert menu in Miami (there are usually two options—order them both). The terrazzo sushi counter inside is a great place to dine solo or with a friend while listening to hip-hop, drinking sake, and fighting over the last bite of that tiradito (but head's up: they sometimes close indoor dining when Covid cases are surging).

undefined

Itamae      review image

There are lots of ways to do Itamae, but the greater point we're trying to make is: just go. Like, now. Or tomorrow at the very latest. And when it’s all said and done, you too will leave with your own personal list titled: Things I Ate At Itamae That Changed My Life.

Food Rundown

The menu at Itamae changes frequently, but here are a few examples of the kind of dishes you might find here.

Cebiche Tradicional

This is truly the platonic ideal of ceviche. Every element works—from the crunchy cancha to the perfect fish to the ají that should absolutely be slurped off the plate.

Itamae      review image

Conchitas A La Parmesana

We are a bit jealous of this Hokkaido scallop. Not only does it get wrapped snugly in seaweed, but it also gets a beautiful little hat of bubbly, melted parmesan. That parmesan overflows onto the plate, so give these a quick swirl to ensure maximum parmesan, which also happens to be a great band name.

Itamae      review image

Baby Dutch Potatoes

These soft little potatoes come swimming in a green sauce made from shishito, egg, and preserved lemon. It’s tough to branch out from seafood here, but these are a worthy carb to have on the table.

Itamae      review image

Aori Ika Tiradito

This is the most visually stunning dish we've ever had at Itamae—and one of the most delicious. So, if it wasn't already clear, order this if it's on the menu. The fermented ají limo is just spicy enough to make your forehead tingle, and it also seeps into the slits that are carved into each delicate piece of squid with surgical precision.

Itamae      review image

Roasted Collar

The collar tends to be where all the best meat is hiding on the fish, and Itamae proves it with this dish. The skin gets torched so it’s nice and crispy when it hits the table, and it comes with rice served cold and a large dollop of a garlic/citrus green sauce that should be involved in every bite.

Photo Courtesy Itamae

Itamae      review image

Octopus Bañadito

You'll feel slightly guilty disassembling this tower of thinly-sliced octopus, avocado, botija olive, and sarza criolla. However, that guilt will quickly be replaced by a desire to sprint into the kitchen and hug the person who made this. (Don't do that, please.) The octopus is tender, the finely-diced sarza criolla provides a citrusy crunch, and you can really taste the botija olive in each bite.

Itamae      review image

Cremolada

Dessert is non-negotiable at Itamae, especially the cremolada, which defies all dessert logic by being sour, sweet, and savory all at once. It’s truly a dessert made for Miami, because it's refreshing enough to eat on a 90 degree night.

FujiFilmGirl

Itamae      review image

Featured in

.
The Best Peruvian Restaurants In Miami guide image
Guide
The Best Peruvian Restaurants In Miami

From ocean-fresh ceviche to hard-to-find Andean dishes.

The 11 Most Exciting Dinner Spots In Miami Right Now guide image
Guide
The 11 Most Exciting Dinner Spots In Miami Right Now

A night out at one of these places—whether it’s for a catch-up with a friend or an impressive date night—feels overwhelmingly of the moment.

15 Reservations To Make Before The Tourists Come Back To Miami guide image
Guide
15 Reservations To Make Before The Tourists Come Back To Miami

Because they will be back with a vengeance.

The Best Shaved Ice In Miami    guide image
Guide
The Best Shaved Ice In Miami

Desserts for those days when just the idea of putting on pants makes you sweat.

Suggested Reading

.
Le Jardinier review image
Review
Le Jardinier

Le Jardinier is an upscale French restaurant in the Design District good for a special occasion meal or fancy date night.

Hiden review image
8.7
Review
Hiden

Hiden is a $200 per person omakase spot in the back of a taco place in Wynwood, and is home to one of the best special occasion meals in the city.

La Mar by Gaston Acurio  review image
8.0
Review
La Mar by Gaston Acurio

La Mar by Gaston Acurio in Brickell Key serves Peruvian food, including a variety of cebiches, and has a great view of the bay.

Zitz Sum review image
9.2
Review
Zitz Sum

Zitz Sum is a great Coral Gables restaurant serving a mostly Chinese menu that’s delicious and unique.