From pressed Cuban sandwiches to the smell of plump arepas overflowing with steak wafting across Calle Ocho, Miami is full of cheap food options that won’t break the bank. Head to any of these stalwarts for a taste of some of Miami’s best cheap eats.
Everyone comes for the cortaditos, plantain plates and famed Cuban sandwich at Versailles. Miami’s long-hailed destination for Cuban food is a staple for visitors and locals alike. And for good reason: the cute mugs of sweet (but savagely strong) coffee are $1.85, and the famous Cuban sandwich – sliced into two enormous halves – comes pressed with sweet ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard, for a mere $6.50. This is one eatery that will help you make your way through Little Havana on a reasonable budget.
There’s a bit of New York City in Miami thanks to Steve’s Pizza. This pizzeria slings New York-style slices from a small counter-service operation, complete with customizable toppings (Canadian bacon, green peppers, black olives, meatballs) and necessary white paper plates. A regular slice is $3.50, and square Sicilian ones are an extra twenty cents. Space inside is limited to a few wooden booths, but there’s also some seating outside. Here, guests will come for the aroma alone, and stay for the slew of toppings that offer the perfect marriage of two beloved food cities.
Not only does La Sandwicherie hawk sandwiches until 5am, but they’re enormous and especially cheap for their size. Depending on what you get inside, sandwiches range from $5.85 to $10.90, bursting with the likes of French salami, brie, prosciutto, smoked salmon and avocado on baguettes. There are sweet sandwiches too, like the Sweet Tooth, which is jammed with slices of banana, pineapple, mango, papaya and Nutella. This particular spot is a popular late-night haunt, bursting in the early morning hours with heeled club-goers from all over Miami Beach, so you’d be remiss not to grab a sandwich after your own night out.
La Camaronera Seafood Joint and Fish Market
Everyone flocks to this unassuming seafood market for its pan con minuta sandwiches. Standing for over 40 years, La Camaronera stuffs soft white rolls with hunks of snapper, breaded shrimp and lobster for no more than $8. Hailed by locals and visitors for offering some of the best shrimp in Miami, this quick and easy eatery does not sacrifice flavor for cost. After you’ve knocked back a sandwich, grab some dessert on your way out: a plate of key lime pie or flan is a mere $4.25.
Half Moon Empanadas
What could possibly be better than a warm, golden brown empanada? This is particularly true in Miami, where 52 percent of residents hail from Cuba and are committed to keeping local recipes alive. But for Half Moon, perhaps the fact that each empanada is under $3 and the size of a large hand, filled with beef, chicken, spinach or ham and cheese, is most impressive to its patrons. Each is branded with a golden stamp, specifying what’s inside so you never have to guess. Just meander up to the counter window, pick one (or two, or three), and eat them on the go or outside on one of the few barstools.
It’s unsurprisingly all about chicken at Chicken Kitchen. With locations across the city, Chicken Kitchen is a quick, healthy and easy solution to hunger without emptying your wallet. Here, nearly everyone opts for the Original Chop-Chop: grilled chicken swirled with mustard curry and plopped over a platter of rice. It’s barely $5 – as is the rest of the menu, making it considerably difficult to spend over $10 per person. Just saunter up to the bar and be rewarded with a wealth of chicken and rice from one of Miami’s favorite chicken joints.
Doggi’s Arepa Bar
These swollen arepas are jammed with the likes of chicken, grilled vegetables, churrasco beef, fried plantains and plenty of cheese. With yellow corn exteriors wonderfully charred and speckled with grill marks, Doggi’s Arepa Bar will give you a taste of Miami without imposing on your bank account. Venezuelan sandwiches are no more than $12 apiece, prepped to be flanked by yucca fries smothered with cheese and fresh, colorful juices. You can snag a seat at one of Doggi’s three locations, from Miami to Key Biscayne.
Daily Bread Marketplace
You can shop and eat at this Middle Eastern marketplace, where sacks of pita bread, cans of tomatoes and chickpeas and platters of dried fruit are stocked on shelves. Load up on pitas and salads wrapped with falafel ($6.99) or beef shawarma ($9.99), then pluck mini squares of pistachio baklava and chocolate nut rolls from the case for dessert. There are a few tables scattered throughout, but otherwise the space is unadorned.
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