The Most Delicious Meals in Miami for Under $10
We've told you about the 18 best spots for cheap eats in Miami, but we’re taking it one step further, and lowering the proverbial bar (monetarily, that is) to $10, making sure you have enough moolah for tax and tip (for the most part, at least). Otherwise, you can scour pants pockets and couch cushions for loose change. From carne asada to over-the-top sandwiches, here are the 16 best under-$10-meals in Miami.
Price: $7.49 for two-taco platter
Where better to experience actual California fish tacos than a place from California… that is now in MIA? The SoCal fast-casual chain has opened up in a few of the old Lime spots around South Florida, plating healthy Mexicali cuisine long on fresh seafood. The go-to are the fish tacos, fried or grilled (healthy, like California) and topped with creamy white sauce, pico, and cabbage.
Spicy chicken empanada
Price: $2.49 each
This spot you may know and love from the AAA and the airport has a stand-alone empanada window at their kitchen on NE 79th Street just east of Biscayne. So saunter up and try these baked delicacies filled with everything from pulled pork and barbecue sauce and guava to pepperoni pizza fillings.
Live in Miami long enough, and the sound of a big knife clunking into a plastic chopping board starts to have a Pavlovian effect. You’ll soon start to salivate for mustard curry sauce. These beds of savory yellow saffron rice topped with marinated chicken are a staple of any Miami diet, and the default when you don’t know what to have for lunch. And if you ask people unfortunate enough to have left Miami what food they miss most, their first response is usually chop-chop.
Nashville Buffalo sandwich
The only sandwich that could also be a hockey playoff series is this fried chicken specialist’s take on Nashville's hot chicken. The Yardbird offshoot that serves up the same level of food at a fraction of the price is dredging this fried chicken breast in hot rooster sauce and topping it with pickles and bleu cheese aioli.
Three arrachera tacos (and free soup)
Calle Ocho has no shortage of phenomenal taco shops that feel like you’ve been dropped in East LA instead of Little Havana. And Taco Loco is as good as any of them, especially with these tacos filled with flame broiled steak. So what really sets this place apart? Free soup. That’s right, not only do you get three tacos per order, you also get a free bowl of the soup of the day, making this the best taco value in the city.
BBQ Pulled Pork Melt
Another food truck turned brick and mortar, this spot is now even more popular for its woodsy back area, ample beer list, and most recently for hiring Miami Heat player Justise Winslow as their brand ambassador. Most of their sandwiches fit the under $10 range, but the house BBQ pulled pork with sharp cheddar on Texas toast is extra gluttonous.
Bratwurst custom dog & side of French fries
DIY your own hot dog with FREE toppings like chopped onions, relish, and Thousand Island. If you’re in the mood to splurge, $0.50 and $0.75 gets you bacon, baked beans, sauerkraut, and much more. The outdoor restaurant caters to your inner kid with childhood favorites like cracker jacks, corn dogs, ice cream sandwiches, and Yoo-hoo.
Contra filet platter
Move past the cheesy decor and the fact the restaurant is named after an animal (which aren't even native to Brazil), and you'll see that this Brazilian fast-casual chain offers extra-large portions of healthy options, like the grill platter, which includes a choice of protein (in this case, the contra filet is NY strip), white rice, black beans, and a third side (!?).
Jerk chicken (small portion)
Not only is this one of Chef Michelle Bernstein’s favorite take-out joints, but they don’t use MSG. Instead, there’s tons of REAL ingredients, as the authentic spot is located inside a West Indian & Caribbean market.
Philly cheesesteaks in Miami? Yep, they exist and not just at Miami Subs Grill. Sure, it’s located in a sketchy part of town, but the sports-loving, Philadelphian owner makes the sandwiches with Amoroso rolls, provolone cheese, and of course, mushrooms.
Lechon Asu que tal Lechon hot sandwich
When it comes to Peruvian food, most people only know about ceviche and lomo saltado. But, there’s a whole other side to the cuisine that includes awesome chicharron sandwiches, egg-topped burgers, and smothered fries. This open-air restaurant inside a downtown arcade from the guys behind Ceviche Piano is the perfect cubicle escape.
Medianoche & batido
Local sandwich connoisseurs have sworn by this old-school Cuban cafeteria since before Wynwood became cool. Forgo the typical Cubano for its sweeter cousin, the medianoche with ham, pork, cheese, pickles, and mayo on sweet egg dough bread. Extra thick batidos, aka milkshakes, are the perfect complement, in flavors like wheat, papaya, banana, mamey, mango, and strawberry.
This is all kosher delights with an Israeli-Mediterranean twist (and the nicest owner this side of Israel). From falafel to Moroccan spicy sausage and chicken hearts all on pita, dishes come with six-plus mini bowls of picklings and salads.
Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and a bit of tofu. Stay with us here... this test kitchen onboard a food truck is hoping to change the way Miami eats one bowl at a time. Extremely flavorful and catering to salad-avoiding Latinos, you won’t even notice you’re eating something healthy until you’ve finished the entire damn bowl. The Southwest Bowl is a great intro course with greens, quinoa, tofu, sweet potatoes, tomato, sunflower seeds, avocado, and red sauce.
The weekday lunchtime (11:30am-3:00pm) just got better sweeter with a $10 deal of two sliderz, a side, and a drink from the guy behind Burger & Beer Joint.
Pizza by the slice
Price: $2.75 each
A staple since the ‘70s, this historic pizza parlor offers NY-style pizza with a bit of nostalgia, booth seating, and graffiti-covered walls. DIY your own slice (or a few) with toppings ranging from sausage to broccoli and pineapple.
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Matt Meltzer is a Miami based writer who loves free soup with a side of tacos. Follow him on Instagram @Meltrez1