Skip navigation

Alvaro Perez Miranda plots two new concepts to bring a true taste of Japan to Miami

The creator of design-forward restaurants Wabi Sabi and Hiyakawa sees room to grow


The Miami restaurant scene is on fire and Japanese cuisine, in particular, is in high demand. The time is right for Alvaro Perez Miranda, who is building a small group of beautifully designed restaurants that offer a true taste of Tokyo.

The restaurateur with Venezuelan roots spent 15 years living in Tokyo, where he first moved to help open an Il Forno Trattoria. He later opened or developed some 70 more restaurants in Japan with Royal Host, a food-and-beverage company, and as a consultant.

Perez Miranda returned to the U.S. in 2006 and eventually settled in Miami in 2015, where he first revived The Vagabond Hotel’s restaurant and bar with chef Alex Chang. In 2019, Perez Miranda launched the sushi concept Wabi Sabi. And a year later, he also launched Hiyakawa, which has been described as an “architectural stunner,” where Perez Miranda’s love for art and authentic Japanese cuisine meet.

Perez Miranda, who is president and owner of Japan Authentic Food Systems LLC,  said his goal primarily was to bring to Miami the dining experience he knew and loved from Japan.

“Miami was lacking authentic Japanese food and every time I went to eat sushi — the sushi was good, I’m not putting anybody down — but it was not really what I wanted after spending 15 years in Japan.”

And Perez Miranda sees more room for growth, with two more Japanese concepts coming in 2021 and 2022.

Later this year, Perez Miranda plans to launch the more-casual Midorie, a concept that he plans to multiply. He envisions 20 or so units, with growth first in the Miami area and later to other markets.

Next up is Ogawa, which means Little River, an omakase-only concept Perez Miranda will design himself. The restaurant will have a Japanese garden to deepen the cultural experience.

Listen to Perez Miranda outline his plans and why he feels Japanese cuisine is ripe for growth across the U.S.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.