The Miami Dining Examiner has been wanting to try Juvia, a French/Japanese/Peruvian restaurant with spectacular views of South Beach, for a long time. Miami Spice and a lazy Sunday afternoon was the perfect excuse to try it.
Juvia is located on top of a parking garage on Lincoln Road. If diners park in the garage (1111 Lincoln Road) they cannot access the restaurant from the parking lot, but need to got to the first floor, exit and re-enter on the southeast corner, where the name of the restaurant is listed on the wall. Juvia is on the ninth floor penthouse.
The décor has a very clean and organic vibe, with driftwood colored wood, white and stainless chairs, starfish shaped lighting fixtures and a wall covered in plants. Although the Miami Dining Examiner had reservations, to sit inside would have been a twenty minute wait, so she and her guest sat outside.
Although it was two pm in August, the table by the railing was partly covered in shade and had a stiff breeze working in its favor. No tablecloths on the grey tables (too windy), but selfies taken in front of the spectacular, panoramic view are a must.
Water, served in pretty purple glasses and melodic electronic music, set a relaxed, cool vibe at Juvia. Menus, made of white washed wood, carried on the sleek, natural theme. A refreshing bottomless mimosa ($23) was ordered as the Miami Dining Examiner and her guest surveyed the menus. On Sunday, there was a regular menu, a Miami Spice menu and a brunch menu.
For Miami Spice, all the offerings are bento boxes. The server at Juvia suggested getting a crudo bento box ($23) with four of their most popular crudos, to split and one entrée bento box each, so that is what was ordered.
On the website Juvia states the dress code as not allowing men to wear shorts, tank tops or flip flops, so the Miami Dining Examiner and her companion wore sun dresses.
"We're overdressed," stated her guest, after surveying other guests around.
While some diners were dressed to the nines at Juvia, others were wearing the forbidden shorts and flip flops, but when dining outside in Miami in August, who can blame them?
The crudos were beautifully and artfully presented in a wooden bento box. The small rock shrimp were swimming in an orange bath of Amarillo sauce, accented with sliced red onion, baby cilantro and crunchy corn kernels. It was delicious. The tuna poke, a tartar with truffle oil and dry miso, was in a cylinder shape and topped with miniscule flowers and scallions. The salmon crudo featured two velvety slices of peach colored salmon, wrapped around something crunchy and slightly sweet (jicama?) and was the Miami Dining Examiner's favorite crudo. The Hamachi espuma had two slices of white fish, with a whipped citrus butter rosette; it was cool, buttery and delectable.
The chicken voudovan in the Miami Dining Examiner's bento box was less successful than the crudo bento box. The chicken, while pungent with spices in a curry sauce, lacked something - acid, salt? It came sliced, with the skin still attached. Jasmine rice, with a little puddle of sauce in the center, a salad and the daily sweet, competed the box. The salad, with baby spinach and roasted cipollini onions and mushrooms, was tasty. The panna cotta, creamy white pudding flecked with vanilla beans and topped with berries, was served in a tiny mason jar with a teeny spoon to scoop it our. Adorable and delicious!
The Miami Dining Examiner's guest got the seared tuna bento box, which she enjoyed. It was five small slices of tuna, with jasmine rice, an avocado and tomato salad and panna cotta.
These are not huge portions. Diners with a big appetite (or thin wallets) probably shouldn't visit Juvia. Lunch for two (including tax and tip) was over a hundred bucks. An 18% gratuity was included on the check and service was tag-team, which doesn't always make for the most gracious service.
On the positive side, the inside bar and dining room at Juvia looked lovely and there's a spot for a DJ to spin techno tunes outside. A neighboring table got oysters (minimum 3 per order), which looked good and Juvia has some varieties (Kumamota and Malpeque) not normally seen in these parts. Perhaps the Korean short ribs bento box would have been a better choice for Miami Spice.
Verdict? The Miami Dining Examiner is glad she finally made it to Juvia. The view was amazing and she would return for the crudos, oysters and panna cotta. Oh, and that bottomless mimosa.
1111 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, Florida 33139