I’ve lived in South Florida since 2017. And I’ve lived in a variety of different areas (I’m a chronic mover).
But one of my favorite neighborhoods to date has been Coconut Grove. Largely – due to the food scene.
Sure there are a lot of places to grab a quality bite to eat in Miami. But the restaurant scene in the Grove just offers something a bit different.
It manages to be upscale without all the flash (and the DJs). It’s fancy yet family-friendly.
Quit sacrificing taste for presentation, *cough* Brickell *cough*.
But most importantly, it’s foodie-forward.
To be honest, I haven’t had bad sushi in Coconut Grove. Every restaurant in this category manages to serve up quality rolls in a relatively fast and efficient manner. And trust me, I’ve been to most of the places on this list dozens of times so I’ve tested that consistency out quite a bit.
Sushi, in fact, is one of my favorite dishes.
There’s a running joke in my household. Instead of my husband asking what I’d like for dinner, he simply asks “Sushi or pasta?” knowing that I’m probably craving one of the two.
And today, this seafood lover is going to rank what I believe, is the best sushi in Coconut Grove – or at least the best sushi within walking distance of CocoWalk.
Prices listed are as of the time of this writing.
1. OMAKAI Sushi
If you’re looking for an upscale but affordable authentic sushi option, look no further than OMAKAI Sushi. OMAKAI is focused on creating an authentic Omakase experience at an accessible price.
Omakase, for the uninitiated, means “I leave it up to you”. In this case, “you” is the chef.
In fact, OMAKAI has an entire section of its menu dedicated to this concept called The OMAKAI Experience ($95) which includes a variety of signature dishes and chef selections including soups, salads, Sashimi, oysters, Nigiri and hand rolls. And if you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying such an experience – trust me, you’re in for a treat.
The menu also features a la carte options including Sashimi, Nigiri, hand rolls and even vegan rolls.
A la carte rolls at OMAKAI will run between $5-$15.
Note: OMAKAI also has locations in Wynwood and Aventura.
2. Sushi by Scratch Restaurants
Speaking of upscale – if you’re really in the mood for a fancy experience you might want to check out Sushi by Scratch Restaurants.
Sushi by Scratch Restaurants is an Omaske speakeasy spot featuring an intimate counter with only 10 seats right in front of the chef’s prep station.
According to the website, the Omakase Experience features 17 courses featuring delicacies from both land and sea.
I will admit, due to the exclusive nature of this restaurant, this is the only one on the list I haven’t been to quite yet but the reviews are strong. And it’s certainly on my must-try list.
In fact, the only negative thing I’ve heard anyone say is in regard to the prices – but what do you expect when the word Michelin is uttered in the same breath? I think they knew exactly what they were getting themselves into before they went.
Reservations are required at this restaurant, as is a $25 deposit per person. The Omakase Experience runs $185 per person plus a 20% service charge.
3. VARSOL Sushi Bar (by Akashi)
Next up we have my personal favorite go-to sushi place in Coconut Grove – VARSOL Sushi Bar.
Don’t let VARSOL’s unassuming exterior fool you. There’s an upscale zen-garden-esque indoor patio space in the back that couldn’t be any prettier, or any more peaceful.
Plus, the food is just excellent!
Their menu is extensive – featuring Japanese cuisine in a variety of wok bowls and hot appetizers – which means I can more easily convince my seafood-hating husband to go more often than a sushi-forward experience like OMAKAI.
And speaking of picky eaters (no offense babe) VARSOL takes no issue with special accommodations and roll add-ons, albeit for a fee – which can be hard to find at a sushi place.
For instance, I love to add jalapenos to my rolls. I sometimes also like to add cream cheese if I’m feeling feisty.
I’d love to recommend a particular roll here but the truth is, they’re all good. My typical order usually involves some combination of a rainbow roll, a specialty roll and a side of steamed gyoza.
Rolls at VARSOL typically run between $15-$25.
Tip: I highly suggest making a reservation for this restaurant.
4. Sushi Sake Grove
Next up we have a relative newcomer to the Grove, Sushi Sake.
This is yet another restaurant with an exterior that might fool you into thinking it’s a hole-in-the-wall sort of establishment until you walk in the door and notice the super high ceilings, trendy artwork and Instagram-worthy Tatami-style floor seating (don’t worry, there are plenty of regular chairs and tables, too).
But being the sushi pro I’ve fooled myself into thinking I am, I prefer to sit at the bar. Because the sushi bar is where I get the best advice on what to order, and the most personalized service.
Sushi Sake’s menu is extensive. It features a variety of soups, salads, noodles, hot plates, fried rice and of course, sushi rolls.
There’s even a kid’s menu.
If you’re looking for variety – Sushi Sake has a greater number of roll combinations than any other restaurant on this list. They have everything from simple California Rolls to baked eel to seasonal chef-special rolls with gold shavings (yes, really).
Rolls at Sushi Sake run between $8-$30.
Sushi Sake has a variety of locations including Little Havana, South Beach, Coral Gables, Miami Springs, Pinecrest, Doral, Hialeah and North Miami (just to name a few).
5. Sushi Garage
When I am in the mood for Japanese cuisine and a casual night out – or if VARSOL is full – Sushi Garage is my go-to.
Sushi Garage serves traditional Japanese food and is conveniently located in the heart of CocoWalk with ample outdoor seating. It’s a great spot to grab tapas-style plates featuring sushi, sashimi, noodles, rice bowls, salads, dumplings and more.
Speaking of tapas – you should note that the portion sizes at Sushi Garage are a bit smaller than what you’ll get at other places on this list. Their sushi rolls, as you can see from the photo above, are usually a bit less packed and have less rice per bite than traditional rolls. But as someone who enjoys tapas and smaller plates, I certainly don’t mind.
Plus, you can’t beat Sushi Garage’s happy hour. Happy hour happens every day from 5-8 pm with 1/2 off all alcoholic beverages, $7 specialty cocktails and rolls for as little as $6.
Expect to pay $6-$21 per roll at Sushi Garage.
Sushi Garage also has locations on Miami Beach and Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale.
Note: Reservations are also highly recommended at Sushi Garage.
Pro-tip: If you like heat, ask for a side of scotch bonnet sauce!
6. Midorie Miami
Next up we have a couple of fast-casual options for those who like quality sushi on the go.
First, we have Midorie – a fast-casual Japanese restaurant that locals love.
Midorie is located on the first floor of the Courtyards at Village Grove with limited seating for up to only 22 diners.
Their menu features a selection of noodles, bowls, starters, omakase experiences, maki, nigiri, sashimi and temaki.
They even have rolls featuring Wagyu.
Rolls here run between $9-$45.
7. Sushi Maki
Sushi Maki is bringing up the rear on the genuine sushi train (before we get into my favorite vegan sushi spot).
This sushi restaurant is a quick-service, fast-casual chain located near Monty’s by the Bay.
Despite the fast-casual theming, they still make their rolls by hand on-site at Sushi Maki, so the rolls always taste and look quite fresh.
But I have to admit, I sometimes find the service to be slow. Sometimes even slower than the table-service options mentioned on this list.
I also sometimes find the sushi to be a bit bland and lacking in flavor. I mean, it’s nothing that some sriracha can’t fix but I certainly wouldn’t rank it above Midorie in the fast-casual sushi arena.
This one is probably best for those occasions when you just find yourself craving some sushi and you happen to be closer to the Bay than to CocoWalk.
Sushi Maki has many locations throughout South Florida.
Rolls at Sushi Maki between $9-$19.
8. PLANTA Queen
Last but not least on our list we have the only kind of sushi my husband will eat – vegan sushi from PLANTA Queen.
PLANTA Queen is located on the second floor of CocoWalk overlooking the city center of Coconut Grove. Because of those stellar views, despite being a chain, it can be a great place to take guests visiting from out of town.
It features an upscale setting and a fully vegan menu.
I have to say, PLANTA serves up some of the best vegan sushi I’ve ever had. But at the end of the day – it’s still vegan sushi. I prefer mine with, ya know, fish.
Rolls at PLANTA Queen run between $6-$17.
PLANTA Queen has many locations across the country.
Sushi lovers – have you eaten at any of the restaurants mentioned on this list? What’s your favorite place to get sushi in Coconut Grove? Let me know in the comments below.