Zuma specialises in contemporary Japanese food and nowadays it is an internationally recognised brand that is found in some of the world’s hottest locations including London, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Dubai, Bangkok and New York. Zuma has made its name by being the best. The food is outstanding, the service impeccable, the wine selection superb and the locations always jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
Zuma is the brainchild of Chef Rainer Becker and Arjun Waney. Becker, who originally hails from Germany, fell in love with Japanese food whilst living and studying in Tokyo. His menu is based on authentic Japanese dishes to which he adds his own modern twists. He opened the first restaurant in 2002 in London and has gone on to create a unique experience that has kept Zuma at the forefront of trends for over 10 years.
What is particularly commendable is that as it has expanded it has managed to keep its high standards. This is an achievement in itself, particularly in places like Miami where many brilliant restaurants fail. The market in Miami is tough, the transient crowds are unpredictable, the seasonal high and low periods extremely challenging and the customers fickle and fussy. Yet Becker has succeeded where so many others have failed and his restaurant is full every night.
Zuma Miami is located in the Epic Hotel on Brickell overlooking the Miami River. Walk quickly through the vacuous, marble lobby that seems to be the unimaginative design choice of hotels these days and enter the world of Zuma. The interior is sleek, the zen inspired design is by the famous Tokyo designers Nori Yoshi Muramatsu, who integrate natural local products and textures with the very distinct look and feel of the Zuma brand. The Miami restaurant is a large space of calming neutral tones, the pale pistachio green chairs add a hint of colour against the sandy flecked marble, blond wood and gleaming steel. But it is the view that will hold your attention (until the food arrives anyway), for the terrace and main restaurant have an enviable views across the water.
The menu is similar at all locations, with local twists added in to differentiate each restaurant and here in Miami the seafood is the jewel in the crown. Although those vegetable-centric folk who pilgrimage to Zuma for the finest ingredients from the vegetable and tofu world will not be disappointed either, Zuma continues to serve up its fantastic vegetable focused selection of dishes even in Miami. The ingredients are, of course, top quality and the dishes are so beautifully presented that they appear like edible works of art.
Zuma is incredibly popular and if you want to eat here it is best to book well in advance. The good news is that Miami isn’t like London, so you don’t need to plan three months ahead to get a table. That said it is best to plan ahead. It is also worth mentioning that Zuma attracts a well-heeled crowd and enforces a smart casual dress code.
Zuma – 270 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami, FL 33131 (located inside the Epic Hotel)
Footnotes and credits: This is an independent review. The writer has always dined as a regular guest and paid for their meal. Photography has been sourced from the website and via Google images.