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Photograph: Courtesy Bon Gout

The absolute best ways to eat cheap in Miami

Nothing on this list of Miami cheap eats is over $10, but it also happens to be a rundown of many of our favorite things

Written by
Virginia Gil
&
Ryan Pfeffer
Contributor
Eric Barton
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First off, let’s make clear that this list isn’t about eating cheap in Miami for the sake of saving a few bucks. Yeah, everything on this list is under $10. But this list also includes many of our favorite things to eat in Miami. It includes classics that you just need to try if you live in or visit this city. We’ve also got some newcomers doing things that are entirely novel. Just to start, there are a few of the best sandwiches in Miami that, despite their reasonable price, would quite literally rival any sandwich anywhere. For under 10 bucks. Sure, yes, we write sometimes about tasting menus that’ll cost you a mortgage payment or Michelin-worthy restaurants in Miami with celebrity chefs where even the tip would cost more than every single thing on this list—combined. Those are special experiences no doubt, but dollar for dollar? These Miami cheap eats aren’t just inexpensive—they’re quite simply some of the best things you’ll eat.

RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants in Miami

Best cheap eats in Miami

  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • Little Gables

The price might have jumped from $6.50 (damn, you inflation) but Caja Caliente’s discos voladores are still well worth the extra coin. Translated to flying saucer, they’re like round media noche sandwiches smash-griddled until cheese and meat and sauce drips out and crisps up along the edges. The menu includes discos of ham, cheese, roasted pork, ropa vieja, prosciutto and goat cheese, and a dessert number with guava and cheese. But you have to try the croqueta preparada with ham and cheese served with chef Mika León’s famous green sauce.

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  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Little River
  • price 1 of 4

The Vietnamese sandwiches at Tran An already made this list when they were a reasonable nine bucks or so. Come weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m., and these bad boys are half-priced, albeit still headlined with meatballs or house-roasted pork, or pâté, or sometimes a combination of all that. These are overstuffed numbers full of fresh veggies and sauces but made crushable with a crusty French baguette that keeps everything generally in place. Luckily, the napkins are free.

  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • East Little Havana
  • price 1 of 4

Sanguich’s emphasis on fresh, house-made ingredients has earned this Little Havana spot a well-deserved reputation as the creator of some of this city’s tastiest sandwiches. The media noche is basically a Cubano (city ham, lechon, swiss cheese, pickles and mustard) but sub in a sweet bread that gives it a depth and also, inexplicably considering its awesomeness, makes it the only sandwich on the menu under $10.

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  • Restaurants
  • Haitian
  • Liberty City
  • price 1 of 4

You can feed a small army with just one of Naomi’s meat and twos. The Haitian menu is made for first-timers trying the cuisine, laying out the classics and letting folks pair their proteins with the sides of their choosing. Goat is a popular choice but you can’t go wrong with the baked chicken. For less than $10, Naomi hooks you up a traditional combo with a half chicken, a mound of peace and rice and collard greens. It’s a satisfying meal with guaranteed leftovers to do it all over again the next day.

  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • West Little Havana
  • price 2 of 4

Tourists beeline to the Little Havana restaurant to taste it, and locals know to trust Versailles to make one of Miami’s best Cubanos. Built with superior-quality ingredients—sweet ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and just a squirt of yellow mustard—the traditional sandwich on Cuban bread is made fresh to order and served hot. Splurge on the special for an extra buck; it’s bigger and stuffed with more of the good stuff you like. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian
  • West Coconut Grove
  • price 1 of 4

Our only gripe with this Coconut Grove health food institution is its early 6 p.m. closing time; the place caters to locals and the area’s nine-to-fivers. Still, it’s worth ditching work for a fresh green salad (lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, sprouts, cucumber) topped with house-made chicken salad. It comes with your choice of green vinaigrette or herbal dressing. Pro tip: Order both, plus a few extras to stash at home.

  • Restaurants
  • Haitian
  • Little Haiti / Lemon City
  • price 1 of 4

Most of the food this Little Haiti barbecue joint serves is well within the $10 mark. But none stands out more than the zakos—a mashup of tacos and Haitian-spiced BBQ meats. The zoe-style tacos (available with chicken; griot, Haitian fried pork; brisket or fried fish) come three to an order and each one is wrapped in a soft tortilla and topped with queso fresco, sour cream, cilantro and pickles. It’s the Mexi-Caribbean flavor explosion you didn’t know you needed.

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  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Wynwood
  • price 2 of 4

Not all drunk food needs to be eaten at 4 a.m.; some late-night meals are good enough to scarf down during the light of day, like the El Peppe slice at Pizza Tropical, Gramps’s walk-up window serving New York-style slices and pies. Crispy and thin, the oversize slice is topped with ribbons of real, fresh basil and crunchy pepperoni discs. While only open for takeout right now, the handy meal is the kind of thing you can grab and eat while exploring Wynwood’s vast graffiti landscape.

  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian
  • Midtown
  • price 2 of 4

Millennials took a lot of grief from boomers over spending mortgage money on putting avocado on toast. But the reason trust funds went empty due to this dish is that it’s good (also because it’s so damn photo-worthy). Carrot Express does a fine version for the kind of dough that won’t clear out your bank account, with smashed avocado, crumbled feta, and red pepper flakes on sourdough toasted until it’s crispy.

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  • Restaurants
  • South Beach
  • price 3 of 4

Slightly drunk at 2am? Already starving by noon? Sandwicherie is the place to fill up for cheap at all hours. All its regular subs are under $10, but head over to the signature sandwiches side of menu and you’ll get access at that price to the tropical, with avocado, mozzarella, veggies, and a trio of fruits that somehow work on a sandwich: papaya mango, and pineapple.

  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • Hialeah
  • price 1 of 4

If you can stuff it between two slices of Cuban bread, you can order it at this Hialeah cafeteria, which specializes in fresh juices ($3–$5) and sandwiches. Though of all the “pan con x” possibilities that are less than $5, the steak sandwich—fried top-round beef, shoestring potatoes, lettuce and tomato—is the sweetest deal. Come lunchtime, the place turns into a frenzy, so bring cash and prepare to practice your Spanish.

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