The Ten Best Places for Poke in Miami

With 2017 in full swing, the nation's latest food trends are sprouting up across the Magic City. Last year was all about doughnuts, particularly the Salty Donut. This year, Miamians still find ourselves craving something salty, but it has nothing to do with a ring of fried dough.

Poke, a trendy Hawaiian-born seafood bowl, has finally made its way to Miami. Pronounced po-kay, the dish blends diced raw fish — typically marinated in a thin soy-based sauce — with vegetables, seasonings, and creamy sauces into a medium-size bowl. Taste aside, what makes this dish so popular is its pleasing appearance, thanks to the vibrant colors of the ingredients. The concept, which comes from the Hawaiian word "to slice or cut raw fish," is favored in major cities such as Los Angeles and New York, as well as locations with large Hawaiian transplants.

Though poke has been popular for months or even years in other parts of the country and world, the opening of PokéBao in Coral Gables, the success of Poké 305 in Brickell, and the appearance of poke-inspired dishes on menus across town are clear indications that the bright raw-fish bowl will be one of Miami's most prominent food crazes of 2017.

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Photo by Clarissa Buch

1. Ono Poke
There's already a Salty Donut-style poke shop consistently drawing lines and selling out fast: Ono Poke in Wynwood, which opened just before 2017. Unlike other shops in town, Ono adds a Japanese touch to its poke. At almost any given time, customers will find Amir Anvari, who runs Makoto's sushi and raw bars, slicing fresh cuts of tuna and salmon in the shop's open kitchen (bowls cost $13 and $16). Ono prides itself on ingredients that are never frozen and always fresh. Concentrating on small, high-quality batches of seafood, Ono receives daily shipments of fish, which is why the shop usually sells out long before its 8:30 p.m. closing time. The shop also happens to be located one block east of the Salty Donut, at 2320 N. Miami Ave. Next time you're craving a doughnut, add a poke stop beforehand.

The Ten Best Places for Poke in Miami
Courtesy of PokéBao

2. PokéBao
This fast-casual restaurant in Coral Gables specializes in poke bowls and bao buns. Chef/owner Daniel Bouza drew inspiration for PokéBao from his time working at Nobu Lana'i in Lana'i City, Hawaii. The chef, who most recently worked at Makoto in Bal Harbour, says PokéBao was inspired by a little surf shack in Lana'i that served poke bowls. Daily signature bowls ($12.50) include spicy ahi tuna poke, made with yellowfin tuna, furikake rice, masago, fuego mayo, and green onion, and shrimp Lana’i poke, containing seaweed-and-cucumber sunomono salad, local prawns, papaya, sweet potato, sesame seed, spicy ginger, and passionfruit dressing. 

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Photo by Nicola Haubold

3. Poké 305
Located in downtown Miami, Poké 305 takes the already flavorful meal and infuses it with a Latin touch by using ingredients such as guacamole and yuca chips. In addition to offering curated bowls, Poké 305 also uses Chipotle’s method of ordering that allows customers to build lunch or dinner plates of their own, with custom bowls starting at $12.95. Anyone can create a salad, a burrito, or a bowl, served with miso soup. Bowls are filled with white rice, brown rice, or quinoa, and salads are made with a fresh spring mix. You then choose a dish-defining protein such as raw tuna, raw salmon, whitefish, chicken, or shrimp. Each order comes with an unlimited number of mix-ins, ranging from crunchy vegetables to Peruvian corn and wonton chips. 

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Courtesy of My Ceviche

4. My Ceviche
The local seafood restaurant chain is known for its signature ceviches and burritos. However, the eatery recently joined Miami's poke craze. My Ceviche's poke and ceviche bowls feature fresh seafood, but the difference is in the regional influences, according to co-owner Sam Gorenstein. That means line-caught mahi-mahi, octopus sourced seasonally off the Yucatán Peninsula, tuna line-caught in the Pacific waters of Panama, and salmon sustainably farm-raised in the open oceans off the Faroe Islands are available to add to your bowl.

5. K Ramen Burger Beer
Located inside the basement of the Townhouse Hotel, K Ramen Burger Beer has whipped up an eclectic batch of dinnertime plates since opening this past November. The eatery's name reveals what this place is about: ramen, burgers, and a variety of international beers. There's also poke. Using Japanese and American inspiration, K Ramen brings fine dining into an exceedingly casual setting. The restaurant's two poke dishes blend raw salmon ($12) or tuna ($16) with microgreens and various creamy, spicy sauces. The fish is so fresh it nearly melts in your mouth.

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