Above the Miami Heat

Chef Sunny Oh

It’s no surprise Juvia became an instant favorite among Miami natives and visitors alike. The blending of a vertical garden with sleek modern décor creates an exclusively exotic feeling without having to leave South Beach. Restaurateurs Jonas and Alexandra Millan are not new to the successful restaurant business, as their other restaurant, Sushi Garage, is also a Miami hotspot. The blend of ambiance and cuisine at Juvia makes this restaurant a one-of-a-kind gem that keeps it standing out from the crowd on Miami’s hot food scene.

The restaurant includes both indoor and outdoor spaces depending on your preference, but not the elements, as the outside includes a retractable roof in case of (unlikely) inclement weather. From the tables around the edge of the restaurant, patrons have an unobstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean and South Beach’s famous Art Deco district. A unique and lush interior greets you as soon as you step off the elevator into this almost Amazonian establishment. The greenery continues as you venture onto the outdoor patio, which includes couch seating around the fountain in the center, counter seating along the garden wall, and several tables for two on the opposite edge.

Back inside, a lively bar can be seen serving up a wide variety of cocktails that are meant to complement—or help make more bearable—the heat of Miami. The interior is accented by a signature garden wall and an open kitchen, both of which, along with the bar, create a buzzing ambiance for patrons.

Once you get past the James Beard–winning restaurant design you will find the food is just as satisfying as the surroundings. Executive chef Sunny Oh, who ran the kitchen at Miami’s Nobu for over a decade, has created a menu that is a fantastic blend of regional Asian cuisines prepared with classic French technique while including the vibrant flavors of South America. The menu is heavy on seafood as the restaurant is a stone’s throw from the Atlantic. Some standout items include the king crab risotto and the sashimi-grade tuna steak. All the carnivores out there need not worry as there is also a collection of intriguing meat dishes sprinkled throughout the menu, with options such as Korean-marinated short ribs or a bone-in rib-eye.

With deep purple accents everywhere and a vibrant crowd, dinner at Juvia has the sort of atmosphere you can only get in Miami. Make no mistake: the restaurant is just as pleasing in the daytime, when the South Florida sunshine pours through the open space, allowing you to appreciate the organic wood accents while enjoying an excellent brunch. Items like the king crab eggs benedict and pink shrimp acevichado are alluring enough to draw you away from the powdery beaches for an hour or two—or maybe longer, if you feel like lingering with the views. If guests at other tables are any indication, then mimosas and oversized sunglasses are strongly suggested as well.

A trip to Miami would be remiss without a trip to Juvia, so be sure to include it on your schedule the next time you run away to South Beach to escape the winter winds of New York.