Miami, FL

Worth A Trip? Jia Serves Fancy Chinese Food in Miami's South of Fifth Neighborhood

Best of South Florida

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Crispy Hunan-style pomfret at JiaPhoto by Seth Browarnik for World Red Eye

A new dinner club-themed upscale establishment has opened in Miami's South of Fifth neighorhood, offering guests a taste of moder Chinese food with an elevated twist.

The 2,500-square-foot space combines Chinese and Art Deco decor with a tropical flair, from the rustic natural wood accents and focal bamboo chandeliers to the 12-person marble bar's raffia backdrop adorned with a vibrant Chinoiserie decorative and the chic distressed wood partitions throughout the venue that create a flow of intimate spaces within.

To bring the dinner club element to life, the restaurant features a glamorously decorated private dining lounge and spacious outside dining patio. The private lounge area/dining room lives in the back of the restaurant, with seating for up to 25 guests, offering a closed-off space for exclusive parties and elevated entertainment scheduling. Think karaoke night and live music acts, each catering to Jia’s overall dinner club element, with nightly music programming by LA-based artist advisor, Hayes Bradley.

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Photo by Seth Browarnik for World Red Eye

When asked why he decided to bring an upscale Chinese establishment to Miami, Jia restaurateur/owner Ken Ray said it was all about "authenticity."

"I wanted to offer guests an experience that not only highlights a fun and high-energy ambiance of a dinner club, but — more importantly — exquisite and noteworthy dishes highlighting a cuisine that is under represented in Miami," said Ray.

To that end, Ray selected chef Weng Choon “William” Lai to create the Jia menu, offering the award-winning chef a chance to craft a number of innovative takes on modern Cantonese cuisine. As such, Lai’s cooking presents an authentic, yet elevated, approach to Chinese fare. At Jia, Lai uses a diverse selection of local and seasonal ingredients to offer a contemporary Miami spin on a few familiar (and some not so familiar) Chinese dishes.

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Photo by Seth Browarnik for World Red Eye

Among the menu's standout dishes: his Master Char Siew, an iconic honey-roasted pork dish representative of authentic Chinese bbq culture, one with a long histroy of tradition in Lai's hometown. At Jia, the chef adds his own creative take to the dish by infusing white wine as the star ingredient, replacing the typical rice wine vingar used in the dish.

Additional stand-out menu items include Lai's Crispy Cube Tofu (silky tofu, black sesame, sichimi togarashi, and a green sichuan sauce); Black Truffle Sticky Rice (steamed glutinous rice with fresh-shaved black truffle); Northern Crystal Noodles (crab roe and meat in a delicate broth witth thin rice noodles); Crisp Mushroom Salad (royal trumpet mushrooms, preserved red bean curd, arugula, watermelon); and Norway Cod (in a black garlic reduction and ginger oil).

Love dim sum? Jia will offer a specialty late-night menu available Thursday through Saturday from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., featuring an array of handmade dim sum offerings and platters.

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Jia co-owner Ken RayPhoto by Seth Browarnik for World Red Eye

Jia. 808 1st St., Miami Beach; open Monday-Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to midnight; Thursday-Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.; and Sundays from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; jiamiami.com.

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