Miami's Top Ten Inexpensive Restaurants
Miami is a city laden with restaurants of little value. There are stylish joints, the kind where mediocre $24 tuna tartares and $30 chicken breasts, filled with fontina and foie gras, are the norm. There are hackneyed Asian concepts, the type where $20 sushi rolls are packed with fried shrimp, doused in cloying soy syrup, and slathered with too much spicy mayo.
billwisserphoto.com Pastrami on rye at Josh's Deli in Surfside
There is nothing wrong with an expensive restaurant -- as long as high prices are supported by delectable cuisine. In the Magic City, though, there is a lot of hype. At times, there is little gravitas.
But there are exceptions. At the following ten restaurants, quality surpasses pricing. Good food is offered at less than $20 per person. There is ceviche, fried fish, Cuban fritas, and salami sandwiches. Sure, cheaper joints abound. But these inexpensive spots proffer some of the best values in town.
10. El Mago de las Fritas
El Mago de las Fritas via Facebook El Mago de las Fritas, a Calle Ocho staple.
A Cuban frita sounds simple in theory. It is, after all, just a hamburger. But ask any Miamian which restaurant makes the best frita in town. Observe as a debate unfolds: Morro Castle? El Rey? El Mago! At El Mago de las Fritas, the polemic Cuban hamburger is made up of a patty mixed with fresh-ground spiced sausage, layered with thin fried potatoes, and all plunked between two slabs of soft white bread. At $3.50, the hamburger is remarkably affordable. It is also delicious. Make it a double for $5.50. Make it "al caballo" with a fried egg for an extra buck. Or double it up with a fried egg ($6.50). Take a bite outta that sandwich and consider whether El Mago makes a helluva frita. Yes, it does. It's also one of the most affordable bites around.
9. Maoz Vegetarian
Emily Codik Falafel sandwich at Maoz Vegetarian for $5.95
Maoz Vegetarian is a chain restaurant with locations around the world. But its global identity does not lessen the quality of its falafel, which is offered either in sandwich ($5.95) or salad ($7.95) form. Prices include unlimited fresh toppings from a salad bar: red cabbage, tabouli, roasted cauliflower, and more. The fare is entirely vegetarian and Kosher. Much of it is also vegan and gluten-free. The falafel joint is located on Washington Avenue, just a few steps from Lincoln Road -- and a short walk from many overpriced spots. Maoz Vegetarian is healthful, good falafel. It's among the greatest deals on the Beach.
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