Overall Recap: andivance 4 star rating; this place is great for special occasions.
We went to Zuma for Christmas Eve dinner & we were not let down. Check out my below review for an explanation of the over all 4 star rating.
We started with the shishito peppers, and a bottle of wine while we scanned the menu. The appetizer was delivered to the table within 5 minutes of placing the order; I was very impressed! Usually shishito peppers come pre-salted and have no spice to them. The Zuma version has some spicy peppers mixed in, and the salt was on the side. I enjoyed the salt on the side so that I could chose how seasoned I wanted my peppers to be. So you can say I was hooked on the meal from the start. 🙂
After long deliberation we went ahead and ordered the Classic Taste Menu, which is a chef’s choice of some of their signature dishes, but changes for each customer. What came in our classic taste menu:
- Tuna Tataki– One of the best I have had, but not for anyone that doesn’t like onions.
- Seabass Sashimi– Also one of my favorites, it was perfectly marinated.
- Tomato To Nasu No Wafu Salad– Very tasty, but large pieces, so it is a little sloppy to eat on a date.
- Spicy Tuna Roll– I have had better, but really no spicy tuna rolls are bad.
- Fried Calamari– Lots of breading, but the breading still tastes good.
- Miso Soup– A little boring, but nothing to complain about.
- Miso Marinated Baby Chicken– Patrick’s favorite. It was so good.
- Salmon Teriyaki– As good as it gets!
- Grilled Asparagus– It had a smokey taste, so it wasn’t for me, but Patrick loves the smokey taste.
- Green Tea Banana Cake with Coconut Ice Cream– We ate the whole thing, and normally I do not like green tea or banana cake
We were also advised to order the corn on the cob which I was skeptical about. Being a native Iowan, I know what sweet corn is, and most places do not get it right. However, I highly recommend the Sweet Corn with Shiso Butter at Zuma.
Tip: the corn is not ideal for a first date since it is still on the cob and gets stuck in your teeth, but otherwise amazing. 😉
The staff was quick and attentive. Right when we sat down the wine specialist came to help us pick out a bottle for the table. All of the food came out fast, and the dishes were taken away as soon as we finished. Everyone was pleasant and I was very happy with the explanations of each dish by the bussing staff.
The only reason why I will give the service 4/5 stars is because when we decided to go with the Classic Taste Menu, the waitress tried to up-sell us by letting us know that it may not be enough food compared to the Signature Taste Menu, but we decided if we wanted anything extra we could order it. We were stuffed by the time we left, and the only thing extra we added was the corn & the shishito peppers.
The photo says it all. The interior is beautiful, and the location is right on the water. The ambiance is breathtaking, and the music is just the right volume.
Here is the only downside. Be prepared to drop a little bit of dough at Zuma. I am definitely not arguing that the money is not well spent, because we REALLY enjoyed our time here. But the bill limits return visits. We could have dined for a little less if we didn’t order the bottle of wine and focused on dishes instead of the taste menu, but we wanted to really indulge in the fine dining for our Christmas Eve Dinner. Once again I want to stress, money well spent.
likelihood to return:
Overall, I give this place a 4 star only because it is expensive. With so many great options in Miami, I am rating the likelihood to return at 4 stars instead of 5. However, it was very fast service, the manager stopped by a couple of times to check on us, and the atmosphere was beautiful. If the bill was a little less (or my wallet a little larger) I would definitely return for another meal often!