The Best Meals In Miami For Under $15 guide image


The Best Meals In Miami For Under $15

Because all these $20 cheeseburgers are really starting to hurt our checking account.

Miami is good at many things, but it’s also annoyingly skilled at draining your bank account—especially if you eat out a lot. And look, sometimes good food means paying more, and there are plenty of small plates we’d happily spend $28 to eat again. But it’s also nice to have some great options when you don’t feel like spending more than $15. That’s what this guide is for. All the dishes below cost $15 or less, and won’t leave you hungry afterward.


Fritanga Caña Brava

The Meal: Carne Asada, $14

This guide could really be nothing but fritangas. The Nicaraguan restaurants are always among Miami's reliable options for an overstuffed styrofoam box that won't cost more than $15. But Caña Brava is our favorite. And here, the go-to fritanga order of carne asada, gallo pinto, and maduros is just $14. Adding a $2 side of queso frito will put you over the $15 threshold, but you also won't regret it.

The Meal: Rio de Janeiro Platter With Picanha, $13

The value provided at North Miami Beach’s Farofa is pretty incredible. The narrow, casual spot has a short menu that revolves around meat: picanha, chicken, linguiça, and more cuts of beef cooked on slow-turning skewers. And just about everything on the menu costs less than $15. We like the Rio de Janeiro platter, which comes with two sides and your choice of meat. Go with the picanha, because you should always go with the picanha.

The Meal: BBQ Silog, $13

North Miami Beach’s Lutong Pinoy is a standout among Miami’s small population of Filipino restaurants. It's tiny, but they have a huge menu and it’s all very reasonably priced. One of our favorite dishes here is the BBQ silog, a plate of three long barbecue skewers, a mound of garlic rice, and an over-easy egg on the side you can reorganize over that rice. You get your choice of pork or chicken with this plate—but the sticky, sweet chunks of pork are the move. If you are a sisig person, that’s also wonderful here (and under $15).

The Meal: Poul Frit, Rice & Beans, Plantains, & Pikliz, $14

Not only does Little Haiti’s Pack Supermarket serve some of the best Haitian fried chicken in Miami—but you can get ten drumsticks of that chicken plus rice and beans, plantains, and pikliz for $14. They also have a cheaper lunch special with three drumsticks, in case you’re not trying to take down all that chicken by yourself. There are some tables inside the casual cafeteria, but this is mostly a to-go operation.

The Meal: General Cheng's Chicken, $14

We usually go to Sang’s for the (also very affordable) dim sum. But the general Cheng's chicken (their take on general Tso’s) is one of the best plates of poultry in this city. Each piece of chicken is covered in a sweet, glossy sauce. The best part, though, is that the chicken somehow stays crispy underneath all that sticky sauce. It’s delicious, comes with a little bowl of white rice, and is more than enough for one hungry person.

The Meal: Bandeja Paisa, $15

For $15, just look at all that food you’re going to get: steak, fried pork rind, beans, plantains, rice, avocado, and an egg. Do you have any idea how refreshing that is after paying $25 for a bowl of spaghetti pomodoro? And it’s not just the quantity that’s impressive. That steak is great—thin with just a touch of pink in the center. The plantains go so well with the saltiness of the pork. It’s a really great dish, and more than enough for two people to split, which would, technically, make this dish cost $7.50 each.

The Meal: Pizza, $3 Per Slice

We cannot overstate how good a deal the pizza at Paradis is. These huge square slices are not only $3 each, but they’re filling, pair excellently with wine, and are so good. They’re constantly rotating the toppings based on the whims of their pizza creativity and whatever’s growing in the garden outside. But—whether it’s the pesto and potato or lamb with cumin labneh—we have loved every single bite. More good news about this North Miami wine bar: usually nothing on the menu of snacks, tinned fish, and baked goods is over $10.

The Meal: Palomilla Steak With Eggs, $11

There are quite a few Vicky Bakeries around Miami. So what makes the one in Coral Gables special? Breakfast. Yes, they have excellent pastelitos, but they also serve a palomilla steak with eggs, french fries, buttery tostada, and cafe con leche for under $15. It’s a deal that lures in construction workers, politicians, and housewives from all over Coral Gables. So arrive early because lines get long. If there is a crowd, wait in the ventanta line. It moves quicker and the probability of petting fluffy dogs is higher out there.

The Meal: World Famous Ted’s Special, $13

If there is one kind of restaurant that's duty is to fill you up for less than $15, it is the diner. And Donut Gallery in Key Biscayne (who oddly don't actually sell donuts) is one of our favorite Miami diners. You can’t come here without ordering the Ted’s special. That's just diner law. It’s an open-faced sandwich with ham, bacon, tomato slices, American cheese, and two fried eggs that run like a new computer—all on an English muffin.

The Meal: Pan Con Lechon, $8-10

Papo Llega Y Pon is a sandwich counter in Allapattah that serves a solid pan con lechon on Cuban bread. The small size is just $8 while the bigger one is $10—and the small (about six inches, we’d guess) should be plenty for a quick lunch break. It’s a simple sandwich: lechon they chop up right in front of you, diced white onions, a little mojo, and hot sauce. Places like this are becoming harder and harder to find in the City of Miami, so pay them a visit and whisper “thank you” into your sandwich.

The Meal: California Burrito, $9

Wynwood is not full of casual, tasty meal options for under $10. Except for The Taco Stand. That’s why this place is usually crowded—but it’s also because the food here is good, and Miami's best option for California-style tacos and burritos. So if you’re a bit burnt out on $16 cocktails and $18 small plates, come here and drop $9 on the very good California burrito, which is filled with beef, cheese, guacamole, salsa, and french fries.

The Meal: Vaca Frita, $13

Blue Sky is a Cuban restaurant that specializes in food by the pound—a concept we love so much. But even if you haven't been tasked with feeding an entire baby shower, you should still come here for the $12.95 vaca frita dinner: a big styrofoam box full of juicy vaca frita strips, rice, thick black beans, and maduros. You’ll never be able to finish it in one sitting. These dinners aren’t charged by the pound, but we weighed it anyway. 1.75 pounds, in case you were curious.

The Meal: Fish Butterfly, $14

Let us preface this by saying: seafood prices can be a little all over the place and fluctuate based on supply and demand. However, at Allapattah’s Plaza Seafood, the fish butterfly usually comes in under—or pretty darn close to—$15. And that’s a deal for some of the best fried fish in Miami (which also comes with rice, plantains, and beans or salad). Regardless if you’re trying to save money or not, you should check out Plaza Seafood if you haven’t already. It’s a Miami classic and also a great little seafood market too. It's mostly to-go, but they have a covered outdoor patio where you can sit and eat.

The Meal: Baleada Con Carne, $5

Adelita’a Cafe is a Honduran restaurant that’s saved us on many nights when we didn’t feel like cooking, but also didn’t feel like draining half our savings on delivery fees. Specifically, we like their baleadas. They have a few versions of this Honduran dish, which consists of refried beans, crema, and meat or eggs in a thick tortilla folded in half. The steak baleada is our favorite, and clocks in at about $5. Throw in a couple sides like rice and plantains, and you’ve got yourself a great meal.

Shanghai Style Soup Dumplings, $12

Dumpling King is a North Miami spot where you can get a whole bunch of very solid dumplings for about $12. You won’t have to worry about still being hungry afterward—the pan fried dumplings are huge, and stuffed generously with chicken, pork, beef, or vegetables. But we like the soup dumplings best, which are plump and filled with lava-hot deliciousness. Dumpling King works for easy weeknight takeout, or a casual dine-in dumpling feast.

The Meal: Jerk Chicken Roti, $10

B&M Market is a little market on 79th Street that also serves some of the best West Indian food Miami has to offer. The standard jerk chicken here is awesome, but the real move is to order the jerk chicken roti. Do that and you’ll get chunks of B&M’s spicy jerk chicken wrapped inside an unbelievably good roti for a very reasonable $10. For a stress-free takeout experience, place your order in advance online.

The Meal: Frita Original, $3.25

There are eight different frita variations on the menu at the great El Rey De Las Fritas—and all cost way less than $15, which is good because you can almost certainly eat two. The cheapest (and, honestly, best) version is the frita original, a classic mix of spiced beef, papitas, and a Cuban bun. If you don’t know what a frita is, welcome to Miami, person in the tech or finance industry who moved here four months ago. Please stop driving up our real estate prices.

The Meal: BBQ Roast Pork & Duck On Rice, $14

King Palace has a big, delicious menu. But they are particularly skilled at Chinese barbecue. Both their roast pork and duck are excellent and—would you look at that—not only costs $14, but also comes with rice. Lucky us. We like this place for takeout, but their small dining room is also perfect for a casual dinner with friends at a big round table.

The Meal: Falafel Pita, $8

You’ve got options at this Middle Eastern cafeteria/market in Coconut Grove. There are pita wraps with beef shawarma, lamb kafta, grilled chicken, and more. Or you can get one of the platters—lamb, beef, kibbie, chicken—all for under $15. If you're in a platter mood, you will not be able to see the plate under all that hummus, tabouli, and whatever else you ask them to throw on. But the cheapest—and very delicious—option here is the falafel pita. And this warm, crunchy lunch sleeping bag is only $8.

The Meal: Six Pack With Cheese, $10

Royal Castle has a big menu full of affordable diner food—but what you want to order here are the sliders. They serve these in “6 packs” for $9.99 if you want cheese (which you do), and a couple extra bucks if you want fries (which you also do). But all of the above still won't cost you more than $15. Each slider comes with diced white onions, a pickle, and a bit of ketchup and mustard. Not only is this place a Miami classic, the sliders are just a beautiful collage of all the flavors our brain associates with the word cheeseburger.

The Meal: Cubano Con Croquetas, $10

Enriqueta’s is such an important restaurant in an area that’s becoming less and less affordable with each passing month. We’re immensely thankful this classic Cuban diner is still doing its thing, because not only is it very affordable, but their sandwiches make us so happy—particularly the Cubano con croquetas (also known as the croqueta preparada). It’s essentially a Cuban sandwich with a couple croquetas smooshed inside. It costs just over $10, which is so refreshing for a restaurant sandwiched between the Miami inflation trifecta known as Wynwood, Midtown, and Edgewater.

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photo credit: Karli Evans

The Best Meals In Miami For Under $15 guide image