Best Miami Dishes for $5 or Less

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With what

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 in5. Burgers

& Shakes
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

Similar to

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

La Granja

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

platters range from $8.95 for a half-pound of grilled pork to $15.50 for a

gigantic one-pound grilled steak.

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