MIAGuide

The Best Meals In Miami For Under $15

Because all these $30 cheeseburgers are really starting to hurt our checking account.
A plate of steak, rice, and yucca.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

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 $32 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.

THE SPOTS

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Nicaraguan

Little Havana

$$$$Perfect For:Quick EatsCheap EatsSerious Take-Out OperationCasual Weeknight DinnerWalk-Ins
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The Meal: Carne Asada, $15

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 $15. 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, $13.50

The value provided at North Miami Beach’s Farofa is pretty incredible. The narrow, casual spot has a short menu that revolves around meat: steak, 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 Meal, $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 meal. You can opt for just skewers or get it with a mound of garlic rice, plantains, and a side salad. 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 also $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.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

The Meal: Arepa Rellena Mi Fondita, $13

Do people in Miami work? We ask ourselves this when we walk into Hialeah's Mi Fondita Colombiana, which is always packed at 2pm on any random weekday. But their delicious arepa rellena mi fondita is such a deal that you could probably quit your job and just eat here every day (we are not advising you do this). It's generously stuffed with steak, chicken, chicharron, and comes with a hefty side of fries for only $13. The empanadas are also delicious and only $1.75.

The Meal: General Cheng's Chicken, $14.50

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: Famous Italian on Cuban Bread, $9.95

Franky’s Deli feels like the kind of place you’d find in Brooklyn. Until you realize their Philly cheesesteak is made with cuban bread, and then you remember you’re in Hialeah. The family-owned sandwich shop has been around for decades and they’re actual wizards in sandwich sorcery. Ruler-sized sandwiches are just under $10 and they give you a hole-punch card for a free sandwich after your 10th visit—a goal you will quickly accomplish after you try these thin slices of capicola layered beautifully on fluffy cuban bread.

The Meal: Patacón, $12

Of course we love Frank Cachapas for their cachapas. But we also love them for their patacones. The plantain sandwich is roughly the size of a football and comes generously stuffed with shredded chicken (or beef), ham, queso de mano, and their delicious avocado and garlic salsa. Like the cachapas, they arrive with plastic utensils piercing through this beast of a sandwich—a poetic presentation of conquest as you valiantly attempt to eat it all. The Doral food truck also makes great stuffed arepas for $12 and all of their cachapas are under $15 too.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

$$$$Perfect For:Coffee & A Light Bite

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, $13.25

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: 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. It’s a Miami classic and also a great little seafood market. 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’s 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.

The Meal: Shanghai Style Soup Dumplings, $12

You can get a whole bunch of very solid dumplings for about $12 here. You won’t have to worry about still being hungry afterward—the pan fried dumplings are huge, and stuffed 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: Chicken Roti, $11

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 brown stew chicken here is awesome, but the real move is to order the chicken roti. Do that and you’ll get chunks of B&M’s tender chicken wrapped inside an unbelievably good roti for a very reasonable $11. 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 eight 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.

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