Miami's Top Ten Inexpensive Restaurants

Categories: Best of Miami

Pastrami on rye joshs deli bill wisser.jpg
Pastrami on rye at Josh's Deli in Surfside
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.

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.

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El Mago de las Fritas via Facebook
El Mago de las Fritas, a Calle Ocho staple.
10. El Mago de las Fritas
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.

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Emily Codik
Falafel sandwich at Maoz Vegetarian for $5.95
9. Maoz Vegetarian
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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Location Info

El Mago De Las Fritas

5828 SW 8th St., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

Maoz Vegetarian

1657 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

Buena Vista Deli

4590 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

Viva Mexico

542 SW 12th Ave., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

My Ceviche

235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

Harry's Pizzeria

3918 N. Miami Ave., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

La Sandwicherie

229 14th St., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

Josh's Delicatessen and Appetizing

9517 Harding Ave., Surfside, FL

Category: Restaurant


3881 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

La Camaronera Fish Market

1952 W. Flagler St., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

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Raul Torres
Raul Torres

They seem to have forgotten the most wondrous mom and pop establishment which should be at the number 1 spot every year... La Fama Cafeteria 3040 Northwest 2nd Ave. As a wee little tyke in Wynwood, back in the day when not many a gringo would dare even drive through the neighborhood...I'd frequent La Fama on a daily basis for a healthy dose of Latin hospitality and culture...the staff there is hilarious, warm and always attentive like that tia who never stops offering seconds or mas jugo...called me biased, but as a Latino you couldn't ask for more substance from a little bullshit, simplemente comida deliciosa at ÑOOO que barato! prices


Great list. La Cam is deservedly #1. 

Mark Casino-Brown
Mark Casino-Brown

Would be good to do a list for just South Beach. Seems like there you can only eat for $2 or $200, not much in between.


 And, Sakaya Kitchen, LA Cafe, A La Folie, Cafe Nosh :)


Apalled to see Yakko-san's made the list when the quality of their food and service has been going down the drain in recent years.

For Asian cuisine that is really worth your while, try Yuga in the Gables.


Great list, but you forgot Los Verdes

Great idea for an article! I agree with your picks that I know -- Harry's, Buena Vista Deli are tops. Loved Josh's Deli, especially the matzoh ball soup that has welcomed twists. My Ceviche on Brickell was a disappointment -- in the ceviche bowl there was little fish, the greens were limp, and then my friend ordered the regular ceviche which came in a plastic takeout container even though we ate in. And the fish was just ok. On the other hand, I'd also add to the list Chef Philip Ho for dim sum (I also wrote up).

Frank Castle
Frank Castle

U forgot taco shop in hialeah, best authentic mexican food

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