Fresh seafood parades on either side of the glass of Galanga Thai Kitchen and Sushi Bar's expansive aquarium. As decorative foliage casts dappled shadows atop the bustling bar, sushi chefs keep one eye on the tank and one eye on their 23 inventive sushi rolls. In the kitchen, the chefs also flip flame-kissed steaks and whip together Thai specialties that include drunk noodles and panang curry. Sips of wine, sake, or imported beer augment each bite, and decadent desserts provide mealtime sendoffs in the form of deep-fried cheesecake, chocolate mousse, and green-tea ice cream steeped by an abominable snowman.
Asia Bay serves the "best sushi in this town," according to actor Alec Baldwin, who tweeted his recommendation while in Fort Lauderdale to film Rock of Ages, according to pbpulse. The man behind this A-list-worthy cuisine is executive chef and co-owner Peter Hepp, who according to Miami New Times "is hip to the aesthetic of clean lines, vivid colors, and brightly delineated flavors." Hepp's chefs drizzle the menu's more than 60 sushi and sashimi plates with colorful sauces as carefully as painters adorn canvas, yielding dishes that are as nice to look at as they are to eat. The 50-seat dining room operates under a similarly modern theme, with large picture windows, white leather chairs, and curved-back banquettes which Social Miami calls "minimalist-chic."
Outside, a patio held up by stilts lifts diners above the rippling waves of the Tarpon River, helping garner Asia Bay an OpenTable Diners' Choice Award for Best Outdoor Dining. Here the decor invites relaxation with large parasols, old-fashioned street lamps, and seagulls who will give backrubs for fresh-cut sashimi.
A 1,200-gallon aquarium greets diners as soon as they enter Tokyo Blue, an upscale Pan-Asian restaurant located inside the Ocean Manor. Situated on 200 feet of private beach, this elegant eatery features modern flourishes such as glowing glass columns, glossy blue floors, and a full bar illuminated by blue lights. Once the clock strikes 10:30 p.m., a DJ helps transform this chic space into a hopping nightclub, where patrons can refuel with a late-night menu or journey onto a second-story patio ideal for basking in the ocean air and high-fiving the occasional flying fish.
Against this trendy backdrop, Chef Mai—who earned his cooking chops at the popular Miami restaurant Nobu—simmers tenderloin in green curry, drizzles shichimi butter on baked Maine lobster, and pan-sears Chilean sea bass in 25-year aged balsamic and teriyaki sauce. Meanwhile, sushi chef Jo skillfully assembles 30 specialty rolls, including classics such as the California roll as well as eclectic mash-ups such as the Mexican roll with shrimp tempura, avocado, spicy mayo, cream cheese, and sesame seeds.
Hovering inside orbs that are half-silver, half-glass, lights dangle from SAIA's high, white ceilings. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame oceanic landscapes, their views of cerulean waves, rainbow-colored mermaid tails, and green palm trees contrasting with the restaurant's all-white walls and tables made of wood so dark that it almost looks black.
Atop these tables lie plates filled with sumptuously bright hues—sushi rolls, wagyu beef, and Mongolian-barbecue lamb lollipops—along with crimson, berry-heaped cocktails. The diverse menu's dishes have varying places of origin and are crafted by Thai chef Subin Chankesorn, who grew up exploring Thailand's markets and who has traveled extensively across Asia and the Caribbean.
Plates of fresh-made sushi and sashimi travel to tables around Sushi Song's cozy dining room, which is bordered by brick walls and illuminated with romantic lighting. In the kitchen, cooks carefully assemble rolls brimming with inventive ingredients such as Maine lobster, quail egg, and barbecued eel.
Chef Yozo Natsui's training in his native Japan, combined with more than 15 years of experience behind the stove, helped earn Bluefin Sushi & Thai Grill the distinction of Best Sushi, 2010 in the Sun Sentinel's Best of South Florida series. Inside a sleek dining room, servers transport fresh slices of fatty tuna and hand rolls from the sushi bar, where Yozo and his cadre of chefs carefully assemble edible cylinders lined with fresh seafood and cool vegetables. They accompany their platters of seared-steak teriyaki with soup or salad, and envelop medleys of vegetables in tempura batter before exposing them to a deep fryer—which is hotter and more philosophically profound than a bourgeois fryer. Servers pour an extensive selection of cold, hot, and flavored sake alongside various wines, imported Asian beers, and Thai iced tea.