Arjun Waney is no stranger to restaurants … especially in South Florida. The restaurateur behind some of Miami’s biggest names — Zuma, Coya and La Petite Maison — has set up shop in Miami Beach with a LatAsian concept that fuses Peruvian, Chinese and Japanese influences. Trying to capture all of that fare on one menu can be a tall order, but DÔA masterfully combines the three to craft a feast for the senses.
The two-page menu features an array of selections that can seem overwhelming at first. In the Raw section alone, for example, you have your choice of ceviches, tartares, tiraditos, maki, nigiri and sashimi. Also on that page, you’ll find items “For The Table” along with lighter bites like buns and salads. It’s a lot to take in, but thankfully the staff is happy and eager to help ensure your experience is one to remember. And so are we.
Traditional Ceviche might not sound too exciting on paper, but once that fresh fish and dashi leche de tigre hits your tongue, you’ll be lavishing it with praise; the fish changes daily to keep you on your toes. What’s not so traditional is the DOA Ceviche Roll, which also uses the fish of the day but throws in poached prawns and leche de tigre mayo to create ceviche 2.0; it’s a roll with heft, heat and a super-clean taste. Both ceviche dishes are worth ordering just to compare.
Not in the mood for fish? Then get some buns, hun. The steamed Pork Belly Bun features a soft, chewy and sweet bun that plays nicely with the succulent belly inside; the rocoto hoisin sauce is the icing on the cake. Grilled specialties like the Chicken Skewers pack some memorable flavor that will literally have you saying, “Oh sh*t, that’s good” at every bite, while the Sirloin “A Lo Pobre” Nigiri is decadence personified. It literally makes you feel like money; truffle, quail egg and steak has that effect on us.
One last piece of advice before we dive into the mains: Ask about the specials. On the night we visited, there was a causa with salmon tartare that we wish was on the permanent menu. If you hear that special is being offered during your visit, get one (or two).
Anyway, don’t overdo it with Page 1 of the menu because Page 2 somehow manages to raise the bar even higher. After trying the ceviche from earlier, we knew the Thai Fish had to be just as good — if not more. Our hunch was correct: The local fish with lemongrass, soy and rocoto came out fragrant, flavorful and fantastic. With the accompanying rice, the dish could easily feed a couple. But instead of splitting a dish, double down on the New York Strip. Easily our favorite plate of the night, this beauty of a steak was perfect: well-seasoned with a good char and a lovely charred tomato salsa. We did get a side — Robata Asparagus — but after all that food, it was too much.
Of course, we still made room for dessert. Since DÔA opened last year, we’ve heard everyone raving about the Churros. The hype is real, guys. These dulce de leche-stuffed sticks are a literal party in your mouth. They just dripped deliciousness, and mixing them with the cinnamon ice cream made our knees buckle. It’s the destroyer of diets, but we didn’t mind.
Prefer not to hit the gym for 12 hours? The green tea, orange and vanilla Mochi is a lighter option that’s just as unforgettable. Mochi in Miami has been hit or miss for us, but this rendition has just the right amount of chewiness. In DÔA, Arjun Waney has another hit on his hands. We were a little weary of yet another Latin fusion spot in Miami, but the quality and quantity of food that this place offers is above and beyond that of its peers. We can’t wait to go back.
DÔA Miami Beach is located at 2000 Collins Ave on Miami Beach. For hours of operation and other information, visit their official website or call 305-587-2000.