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Miami's Top Ten Fritas Cubanas

At El Rey de las Fritas, Cuban hamburgers are stuffed with fried plantains.
At El Rey de las Fritas, Cuban hamburgers are stuffed with fried plantains.
Emily Codik

An original frita cubana couples Cuban bread with a spiced beef patty, seasoned with cumin, paprika, and pepper. Some add chorizo to the mix. Others cap meat with an American-style hamburger bun. Despite minor variations, one thing remains consistent: Papas fritas, deep-fried and grease-slicked julienned potatoes, crown beef like a handful of sprinkles atop ice cream.

The frita has recently come into its own. President Obama visited El Mago de las Fritas. Burger Land did an episode on the dish. And our buddy Sef Gonzalez is planning a pop-up May 6.

See also:

- Read this week's review on Miami's Fritas: El Mago and Beyond.

- Burger Beast Announces Frita Feast Pop-Up Dinner

The frita debuted in Miami via Havana's friteros over a half-century ago. Now, the frita fray shows no sign of slowing. Its realm spills from Calle Ocho to Hialeah and beyond. Its popularity surges.

Here's where to find the best fritas cubanas in town.

The Cuban frita (with a side of French fries, of course) at Fritas Domino.
The Cuban frita (with a side of French fries, of course) at Fritas Domino.
Burger Beast via Facebook

10. Fritas Domino

Fritas Domino is Miami's original frita shop. The restaurant, which was first located on Calle Ocho, introduced the Magic City to the Cuban hamburger in 1962. Now, the latest location serves its French fry-filled goodness on 67th Street. At Fritas Domino, patties are zesty. Frites are pale, oleaginous, and linear. Fritas Domino makes this list because its first spot is credited with bringing a taste of Havana's friteros to Miami.

Frita sliders at Sergio's.
Frita sliders at Sergio's.
Burger Beast via Instagram

9. Sergio's

There are five Sergio's locations in Miami. Head to Coral Way, West Kendall, Kendall, or even Hialeah Gardens. Once there, snag a taste of their original frita ($3.90). But also take a bite of their mini Cuban frita sliders ($3.50). The little bites, offered as part of their seasonal tapas menu, pack copious frites with mucho ketchup and a fresh, delicately piquant patty. As the slider craze expands, so does the itty-bitty frita fad.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Minced, raw sirloin and tenderloin topped with pomme frites.
Minced, raw sirloin and tenderloin topped with pomme frites.
billwisserphoto.com

8. PB Steak

PB Steak and Pubbelly are known for experimenting with all sorts of foods. The restaurants fuse cuisines, vibes, and flavors. The Cuban frita is no exception. At PB Steak, there's a steak tartar slider ($5) -- jammed with thinly sliced frites and minced raw tenderloin and sirloin. The potato bun, smothered in clarified butter, is slathered with a house-made green mustard, made with chive and capers. Sure, it's unconventional. But it's just so good.

Branded frita cubana at Cuban Guys in Hialeah.
Branded frita cubana at Cuban Guys in Hialeah.
Cuban Guys via Facebook

7. Cuban Guys

In Miami, there are fast-casual Tex-Mex restaurants, fast-casual seafood spots, and fast-casual Asian joints. There are also fast-casual Cuban restaurants. Cuban Guys, a concept that launched in Hialeah and is expanding with additional locations across the county, offers an array of Cuban staples: media noche, pan con bistec, and Cuban bowls (white rice topped with black beans, chopped sweet plantains, string fries, and a choice of protein). The winner, though, is their frita cubana ($3.50). Cuban Guys uses fresh beef and fries its potatoes daily. (Their motto is: "Not just fast food. It's awesome food fast.") Keeping with the fast-casual theme, the joint brands its burgers with a big CG -- in case you forget where you're eating that frita.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Cuban frita at La Palma.
Cuban frita at La Palma.
Burger Beast via Facebook

6. La Palma

You might know La Palma for its churros and chocolate caliente -- a Miami ritual for rare, chilly winter nights. You might also know the Calle Ocho restaurant for its late-night hours (it's open 24 hours a day). But what you might not know is that La Palma makes some fine fritas. Pair the Cuban burger, coupled with house-fried papitas, with some churros. Add hot chocolate. There! Now you have the kind of meal that initiates any tourist to the deep-fried Miami experience.

Freakin' frita by Islas Canarias' food truck, Cubancube.
Freakin' frita by Islas Canarias' food truck, Cubancube.
Cubancube via Facebook

5. Cubancube (Isla Canarias)

Cubancube food truck is run by Miami's first family of croquetas: Islas Canarias, a Magic City staple for fried croquettes. Recently, the restaurant owner's son and daughter loaded up their famous potato patties in a truck and launched a menu with reinvented Cuban classics. The truck's best bite is their freakin' frita. Topped with cheese, Cubancube signature sauce, and potato sticks, this frita is a great rendition. Unlike other brick-and-mortar establishments, Cubancube (which appears at food truck roundups and catering events) makes its own Cuban bread. And that's why it's one of the top fritas around.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Frita china at Bread + Butter.
Frita china at Bread + Butter.
Jessica Daly

4. Bread + Butter

Alberto Cabrera's frita china ($6) pairs a chorizo-based patty with napa cabbage kimchi, cilantro, and a spicy sriracha ketchup. Piled high inside a potato roll, Cabrera's frita isn't traditional. But that doesn't stop it from being tasty. In fact, the chef is so committed to the frita world that he's launching a modern frita shop soon. In the meantime, savor his experiments on Cuban hamburgers at his Cuban gastro-counter in Coral Gables, Bread + Butter. Because everything tastes better with Sriracha.

No bacon, no cheese. Frita original at El Rey de las Fritas.
No bacon, no cheese. Frita original at El Rey de las Fritas.
Emily Codik

3. El Rey de las Fritas

El Rey de las Fritas has outposts across the city, but that's not what sets this frita joint apart from the rest. Instead, it's the variety of Cuban fritas listed on the menu. Purists opt for an original ($3.25); thrill-seekers prefer the frita dulce. The burger crams a spicy beef patty, crested by fried batons of potato, copious amounts of onion, and -- yes, there's more -- fried sweet chunks of fried plátano. Sound rich as sin? It is. That's why it's so damned good.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Morro Castle's $2.49 frita on an American hamburger bun.
Morro Castle's $2.49 frita on an American hamburger bun.
Emily Codik

2. Morro Castle

Some scoff at Morro Castle. It uses American hamburger buns on its frita ($2.49). But owner Leo Villalobos has been doing it this way for years. At the Hialeah establishment, potatoes are julienned and fried on the premises. The result is a slightly coiled fry, golden and shimmery. The soft bun compliments a salty stuffing: all-beef patties topped with onions and the crisp papitas. Morro Castle's rendition is so affordable, you can splurge and buy guarapo. Part of a complete meal, sort of.

The best frita in Miami can be found at El Mago de las Fritas.
The best frita in Miami can be found at El Mago de las Fritas.
Emily Codik

1. El Mago de las Fritas

No one knows Ortelio Cárdenas' recipe. At his Flagami cafeteria called El Mago de las Fritas, the 74-year-old arrives at 7 a.m. He seasons his meat, makes his sauces, and fries his julienned Idaho potatoes. He works until about 10 p.m., flipping patties and stuffing buns. The Cuban frita ($3.50) is practically greaseless -- quite the achievement for a hamburger stuffed with fries. But there's more to this restaurant than good food. The service at El Mago is amiable. Martha, El Mago's daughter, swings by booths to chat. Waiters wear genuine grins. And behind the counter at this cramped cafeteria, El Mago is always working his magic. Dedication, attention, and good burgers make El Mago de las Fritas the best frita in town.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.

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Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Sergio's

3252 SW 22nd St.
Coral Gables, FL 33145

305-529-0047

www.sergios.com

miles
PB Steak

1787 Purdy Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-695-9550

www.pbsteak.com

miles
Cuban Guys

3174 W. 76th St.
Hialeah, FL 33018

786-507-4494

www.cubanguys.net

miles
La Palma Restaurant

6091 SW 8th St.
Miami, FL 33144

305-261-1113

miles
Islas Canarias

285 NW 27th Ave.
Miami, FL 33125

305-649-0440

miles
El Rey De Las Fritas

1821 SW 8th St.
Miami, FL 33135-3417

305-858-4223

miles
Morro Castle

1201 W. 44th Place
Hialeah, FL 33012

305-556-4252


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