Saving money and eating out don’t always get along, especially if you’ve had the unfortunate luck of routinely going to the kinds of restaurants that think $25 is an acceptable price for a cheeseburger. The places on this guide are not those kinds of restaurants, which is good news if you’d like to leave the house and go eat somewhere but are still recovering from that wine-induced 4am online shopping spree. These 16 spots are going to go easy on your wallet while still serving up some very good food.
We would pay more money than we should for a great arepa, but thankfully we can just come to Midtown’s colorful little La Latina for some of the best ones in Miami - and only spend around $5-8. If you manage to focus on something other than the arepa selection, you’ll find empanadas for under $4 and very good Venezuelan platters with rice, plantains, and a protein for less than $10. They also stay open till 5am on Friday and Saturday, which will come in handy next time you’re leaving Wynwood at 2am on a mission for food.
El Rey’s frita original is the best frita in Miami and is just $3.75. And if you want the souped-up frita suprema with a fried slab of white cheese and sweet plantains stuffed inside, it’ll only cost you $6.95. Even if (like we once did) you order all eight versions of El Rey’s fritas, you’ll still probably have money left over for a drink at Union Beer Store down the street. There are plenty of other sandwiches at this Little Havana diner - all of which are under $10 - but coming here and not getting a frita just feels like committing a petty crime.
South Beach is exactly the kind of neighborhood that would make you complain about how expensive Miami is. And the next time that happens, walk over to this tiny Italian bakery and spend a few minutes staring at all the very good baked things that aren’t way overpriced. Get a slice of pizza for $2.50, a breakfast calzone with egg, ham, and mozzarella for $5, or walk out with an entire baguette for less than $3 just because you can.
Money aside, we find it very hard to not pull over every time we pass Dogma in MiMo. But considering these great hotdogs are just about all under $5, it’s a miracle we’re not 90% encased meat at this point. There really isn’t a bad call on the menu, and you should probably try a few to find your favorite. Just make sure the Colombian-style tropical dog with crumbled potato chips, pineapple, and bacon is one of them.
Stop by this casual Coconut Grove cafe for breakfast and pick from things like the La Completa, which comes with three eggs, toast, and potatoes. There are also breakfast sandwiches, french toast sticks, and a big cast-iron pancake - none of which costs more than $10. There are some great lunch deals too, like an egg salad sandwich for $6, croquettas for $2, and more great Cuban food that they could certainly get away with charging more for.
Miami isn’t really one of those cities where you can grab a slice of pizza on a paper plate every 100 yards - but we do have Pizza Tropical. The little stand in the back of Gramps in Wynwood serves one of the best slices in the whole city. For about $4, you can get a big, floppy NY-style slice of pepperoni, Hawaiian, or one with any number of other toppings. They also run a couple of weekday specials, including two slices and a coke for $6 from noon-4pm, and a beer, shot, and slice combo for $10 from 11am-7pm.
There are always a few things that happen during any trip to Palacio De Los Jugos: you’re going to get some good Cuban food, there’ll be a lot of it, and you’re not going to pay too much. There’s a trio of breakfast specials (which includes a $4 avocado toast with bacon and an egg), a $6 Cuban sandwich, and dozens of platter combinations of rice, plantains, and protein you could easily split with someone else or save for tomorrow’s lunch.
The seats and tables inside Go To Sushi are tiny and have seen better days, the menu is taped to the wall by the cash register, and most of the orders here are to-go. But aesthetics aren’t why you come here - you go to this Upper East Side spot for surprisingly good sushi. Most rolls are under $10, and they also have a selection of smaller plates like yakitori skewers and a great crispy baby octopus for $5. You have paid far more money for far worse food in much shinier restaurants around town.
For the most famous Cuban restaurant in the known universe, Versailles’ prices are incredibly reasonable. People would still probably stand in line to eat at this huge Little Havana restaurant if they charged $20 for arroz con pollo. But here, the massive dish you almost certainly won’t finish is only $8.95 - and daily specials like arroz imperial, vaca frita de pollo, and more very good things are all below $10.
You realize how good a deal the sandwiches at La Sandwicherie are when you hold one in your hand and realize it’s the size of a regulation NFL football. These things are huge - and range from about $7-10, which is true at all three of their locations in Brickell, Wynwood, and South Beach. If you end up spending too much money here, it’s because you bought a few bottles of their house vinaigrette to-go, which are also extremely worth the $6.
When we need something very delicious quickly, and possibly after consuming three or more drinks, we go to BND Burger. The Wynwood spot serves some very good little cheeseburgers on potato buns. The basic one is just under $7, and the cheese fries (which you should get) aren’t more than $5 either. There are also wings, quesadillas, and tacos - but the burgers are what you should focus on.
There isn’t much left in Wynwood and Edgewater that doesn’t feel new and shiny and at least $7 too expensive, but Enriqueta’s is a relic in the best way possible. This little Cuban diner has been around since the ’60s, and it feels that way. They serve great, simple Cuban dishes - and there really isn’t much on the menu over $10. They do a very good Cuban sandwich here for about $5 as well as some breakfast specials, like a classic two eggs with bacon, toast, and a cafe con leche.
Barbecue restaurants can get pricey, and you’ll spend a bit of money at Little Haiti’s Bon Gout if you go for the $15 brisket dinner or the $20 whole fried fish. But what you should do instead is order the zakos, which is this Haitian spot’s version of tacos. They come in orders of three (for less than $10) and are filled quite generously with chicken, brisket, or the wonderful Haitian specialty called griot - cubes of pork that are slowly cooked before being fried nice and crispy.
If you had an intense dream about cuddling with a piece of naan last night, and now can’t stop thinking about the way it held you ever so gently, hit up Downtown’s Raja’s Indian Cuisine. The narrow little restaurant has some very good combo deals for $8-12, like a plate of chicken tikka masala with your choice of rice and vegetable. It’s more than enough food to split with a friend - even if your friend that day happens to be a fluffy piece of excellent garlic naan.
Sure, $3.50 for a taco is not the biggest bargain in town. But when you consider that Taquiza serves some of Miami’s best tacos (as well as other incredibly good things), this starts to look more like a good deal. You should definitely get a taco or two, but please do not leave without getting totopos and guac, which - as much as we hate to admit it - is very worth the extra $3 charge. Even if you ball out with the guacamole, you really don’t have to spend more than $15 to have one of the best meals you’ll find in Miami Beach.
You’ve got three options at this Middle Eastern cafeteria/market in Coconut Grove. There are pita wraps for $10 or less with beef shawarma, lamb kafta, or falafel. Or you can get one of the platters - and if you do, you will probably not be able to see the plate under all that hummus, tabouli, and whatever else you ask them to throw on. And make sure to grab a pastry from the bakery on the way out, since none of them are more than $2.