is being labeled the Great Recession ripping Miami in full force, many people are
losing their homes and jobs. The prices of local goods, especially
prepared food, are not a reflection of Miami residents' struggling economic
status. It's nice to know that even in
Miniburger and shake, $5
less than a year ago at the former Rocky's Burgers, Burgers & Shakes has
already become one of North Beach's most popular eateries. Ground beef, chicken, and fresh mahi-mahi burgers regularly range from around $6 to more than $10 on this
simple menu, but lunchtime brings a miniburger-and-shake deal for $5.
If you're in the mood to try new things, sample the veggie burger, which is
made with a portobello mushroom and features a selection of toppings such as olive
oil, arugula, avocado, and capers.
4. David's Café
Empanada and tiradito meal, $4.45
The story of David's Café began on tiny
Normandy Isle in 1976 when Cuban refugee Alfredo Gonzalez opened Three
Boys Luncheonette. Success spurred Gonzalez to turn an old Jewish deli into the
first David's Café in 1977. Now it has become the longest-standing establishment on
this list. Part of this success can be attributed to the authentic family
recipes, such as the delicious and bargain-priced tiraditos ($1.25) and empanadas
($1.05), which come in beef, chicken, pork, spinach, and other varieties. The
menu is similar to a traditional diner menu, but the bargains don't stop there. Lunch
specials start at $6.95, and a regular half chicken is a hefty $12.75, or
nearly twice as much as what our No. 1 charges.
3. Pizza Rustica
Specialty slices, $4.95
people would not consider a $5 slice a good deal, but the slices at Pizza
Rustica are not typical. Rustica makes large 16"-by-12"
square pizzas that get cut into nine gigantic slices with topping combinations
that will knock your taste buds into orbit. The original location on Eighth
Street and Washington Avenue in South Beach experienced such success that it spurred the opening of ten more locations all over Dade and Broward. Try the interesting eggplant and goat cheese or
the original Rustica (pictured) with tangy plum tomato sauce, mozzarella,
artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, diced tomatoes, prosciutto ham, and fresh
basil drizzled in olive oil.
2. New York Bagel Deli
Egg sandwiches, $3.49-$4.99
Pizza Rustica, New York Bagel Deli found success in South Beach first before
expanding to other locations. Now there are three more near downtown Miami and franchising
opportunities available. The egg sandwich comes with a choice of Swiss,
cheddar, mozzarella, or American cheese and the traditional toppings of ham,
bacon, and sausage. Things get a little more interesting from there, with themed
sandwiches such as the Florentine ($4.49), with egg, spinach, tomatoes,
mushrooms, Swiss, paprika, and chipotle. The South of the Border ($4.49) takes
things a step further with eggs, black beans, corn, tomatoes, cheddar, avocado,
paprika, and chipotle.
1. La Granja
Quarter-chicken meal, $4.45-$4.75
tops our list for many reasons, but a couple of things in particular stand out -- sheer size
and quality. The chicken is slow-cooked on a spire rotisserie for unmistakable
tenderness and moistness one can achieve only with diligence and care. A
quarter chicken comes either with dark ($4.45) or white meat ($4.75), black beans, and a heap of white
rice and can really be combined to make two meals, or at least one meal and
a delicious late-night snack. If you are not in the mood for chicken, the
remainder of La Granja's menu is also at a bargain rate. Steak, fish, and pork
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platters range from $8.95 for a half-pound of grilled pork to $15.50 for a
gigantic one-pound grilled steak.