Before you roll your eyes and puff that Miami doesn’t need another food hall, hear us out. The very essence of food halls is what differentiates Miami from most other metropolitan U.S. cities: diversity. It’s at food halls that you can taste sushi and pasta in the same meal, and walk away with a deeper understanding of our roots. Such is the case at the Design District outpost, St. Roch Market, the newest food hall to join the ranks. We love St. Roch for many things, like its airy interior and vibrant vegan options. But what warms our heart most is that it’s home to easily the best Japanese fusion spot in Miami: Itamae.

Casa Itamae.

Nestled unsuspectingly in the back of the food hall, Itamae has already garnered local fame for its unique attack of Japanese-Peruvian cuisine. Itamae is where you can get intricately rolled concoctions topped with fresh-as-can-be ceviche over the counter. It’s also where you can melt at the kindness of creator, Fernando Chang’s friendly warmth and excited smile. The key ingredient at Itamae is family, the connecting fiber that sets the concept apart. Cousins and nephews serve you knowledgeably and you can’t help but feel at home.

Their most popular dish is the Nikkei bowl, aptly named after the style of cooking they’ve mastered. Instead of mixing the ingredients together as we’re want to do, we suggest eating individual bites to get the full effect of freshness and flavor. From the shrimp tempura in the Sancho roll and the Acebichado’s crisp ceviche, to the beet paired tuna tataki, Itamae knows what they’re doing. They even have their very own take on an avocado toast where fresh fish lounges atop a sheet of avo mash and a rice patty bed. Good news for veggies too, their vegan roll is equally as delicious as everything else on the menu.

You’ll Definitely Be Back.

Next time you’re craving something spectacular, or just need to surround yourself with good energy, Itamae is our pick. It’s a no-frills spot inside the Design District’s current culinary gem. Surprisingly low-key for the Design District, St. Roch has curated its concepts exceptionally. They chose skill and familiarity over names and fame. And with Itamae’s presence, they definitely know where the good people are.

Photos by FujiFilm Girl.