Come Join Us
WELCOME TO SAWA RESTAURANT & LOUNGE
CONTEMPORARY MEDITERRANEAN/ JAPANESE CUISINE
Shops at Merrick Park
360 San Lorenzo Ave, Suite 1500
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Fax : 305.447.9365
Facebook: Sawa Restaurant & Lounge
Hours of Operation:
Sun-Thurs 11AM -11PM (12AM bar)
Fri - Sat 11AM - 12AM (2AM bar)
Mon - Fri 4PM - 7PM (Bonus Hour @ the Bar)
Bar Happy Hour:
7 Days a Week 4PM - 8PM
Fri & Sat 8PM & 10PM
- MetroRail- Douglas Road Station
- Coral Gables Trolley
- Click for DRIVING DIRECTIONS
- Parking: Street (metered), Parking Garage ($10 Max), Valet ($8)
Guest Services :
- Dine in or Take out
- Private Events
- Pet Friendly Patio (Doggy Menu)
- Hookah Lounge
- Live Belly Dance
- Premium Bar
Dine-in, Take-out, Reservations, Walk-Ins
Cash, Visa, Mastercard, American Express,
Prime Card accepted excluding special promotions
Behind the Scenes
SAWA'S KEY CAST
Owner : Ramzi Zahr
Born in Lebanon and raised in Boston, Ramzi Zahr learned the restaurant business from family, working his way through the ranks from the ground up. “As a kid, when I told my Uncle I wanted to work in his restaurant, I envisioned something cool, or lucrative, like serving tables. I thought I could just jump in. Well, he had different plans for me,” says Zahr. “He made me wash dishes, clean floors, and take out garbage, and he paid me minimum wage.” he laughs, “but it taught me a lot about hard work, and earning my position.” From then on, Zahr worked his way through almost every restaurant position, providing him invaluable insight into each cog of the intricate machine that is any successful restaurant.
The Zahr family moved to Miami and opened a small crepe shop before launching local favorite “C’est Bon Café” in Merrick Park, Miami in 2001 where Ramzi got his first shot at true restaurant co-ownership, along with his parents. Though he’d already worked many family restaurants with a work-it-like-you-own-it mentality, this felt different. When the opportunity arose for a prime restaurant space on the main floor of Merrick Park, Ramzi launched his own concept “Sawa Restaurant & Lounge” in April 2010. “It was hard. You think opening a restaurant could be glamourous, but for it to work you have to put everything you have into it. You have to be there every day, you have to stay up nights, and you have to care.” Says Zahr. “but when your hard work pays off and you see people coming back, living important life moments, enjoying themselves and forgetting their worries, you know it is all worth it.”.
Ramzi is, by his own admission, a risk-taker. “The more outside the box an idea, the more intrigued I am.” But with a degree in Business Management, no risk Zahr takes is frivolous which lends to his success and outlets his creativity. Ever the hard-working entrepreneur, Zahr has no plans on slowing down any time soon. With a new top secret “eclectic” restaurant project slated to hit Miami soon, Zahr is ready for more late nights, long days, and unforgettable experiences.
Executive Chef : Jouvens Jean
Talented, charismatic and determined, self-taught Jouvens Jean possesses a professional and personal background to impress most, with a slew of top-notch cooking gigs under his apron, and a line-up of respectable accolades – including winning Food Network’s Cut Throat Kitchen season 6, 2014 and also Food Network’s Chef Wanted season 13, 2013.
Born and raised in the Bahamas to Haitian parents, Jouvens spent his formidable years devouring seafood plucked straight from the turquoise waters of Nassau. Summers were spent sampling fresh conch salad on the beaches and working the ins and outs of local super markets and construction jobs with his father.In the summer 1993, his parents moved him almost 200 miles west to Miami, Florida for better opportunity and education. Jouvens began cultivating a deep interest in cooking, when a close friend, working at a local red sauce Italian restaurant, helped him land a job working under the table as a prep cook. For two years he kept his mouth close, eyes and ears open and learned the fundamentals of the kitchen. From 1997 - 1999, his career gathered momentum, first at Coco Pazo Café in South Miami, where he was named chef de partie at the young age of 19, and then at Kiss Café in Coconut Grove, where he held the title of sous chef.
Jouvens truly honed his craft after landing a position as chef tournant, overseeing all cooking stations at the famed Baleen restaurant at Grove Isle, where he served under esteemed chef Robin Haas until 2002. Eventually finding his way to Atrio at the Conrad Miami Hotel, a well-received Latin-Asian concept headed-up by acclaimed Executive Chef Michael Gilligan, Jouvens was appointed executive sous chef, leading the restaurant in culinary competitions as well as designing and executing a dinner at the famed James Beard House in New York City.
Amidst all of this growth and professional acumen, Jouvens attended Florida International University, where he also served as a teaching assistant in the school’s cooking classes. He had the prestigious opportunity to serve as an assistant culinary instructor in the study abroad program in Tianjin China at FIU-TUC (Tianjin University of Commerce). While at FIU he also served as a culinary coordinator for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s popular Bubble Q in 2007, and graduated with a B.A. in Hospitality and Tourism Management in 2008. In 2009, the W South Beach hotel selected Jouvens and appointed him the position of Executive Sous Chef of their brand new beachfront property.
Jouvens’s first break through roll came in 2010 where he was introduced to an innovative restaurateur Ramzi Zahr. The two automatically hit it off and Jouvens was offered the roll of Executive Chef/Partner at the dual concept, Mediterranean/Japanese Restaurant & Lounge, Sawa at Merrick Park in Coral Gables FL. Sawa was an instant hit and was well received by foodies and restaurant patrons for its daring fusion of concepts.
After numerous well-deserved awards and accolades and a very successful few years at Sawa, the young chef was once again struck with the opportunity to challenge him self by opening Starwood's luxury resort property, St. Regis Bal Harbour as the Chef de Cuisine of outlets in 2012. Jouvens was challenged with operating four of the resort's six food and beverage outlets, a challenge he gracefully conquered.
As the saying goes “home is where the heart is” so in 2015, Jouvens made a culinary pilgrimage to Haiti, back to his roots to do research for his up and coming book highlighting Haitian gastronomy. His book, Tap Tap Diaries, will be published in late 2019. In the midst of all of his culinary accomplishments Jouvens serves as a sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves and won the 2017 Best Warrior Competition for his battalion.
In 2018, Jouvens had the honor of creating a dinner for the James Beard Foundation at the James Beard House in New York. Because of his well-established brand and reputation Jouvens was approached by Gloria and Emilio Estefan to be the consulting chef for their premier restaurant, Estefan Kitchen in mid 2018. In 2019, Jouvens returned "home" to Sawa to resume his position as the Executive Chef of two operating sister-locations and a third slated to open Q2 of 2019. Jouvens was awarded the 50 Most Powerful & Influential Black Business Leader of 2018. In early 2019, Jouvens was once again sought out by the Food Network to go head to head with Chef Bobby Flay on the popular Food Network Show Beat Bobby Flay.