After previously covering Top Ten Lunch Specials in Miami for Under $10 and Best Food Items in Miami for $1 it was time to find some middle ground with that midday meal. A $5 lunch should leave you just full enough and with the sweet satisfaction that you got a good deal.
The following meals don't skimp with hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, falafels ,and soup dumplings all included. We have touched on many areas and cuisines of Miami, so you can freely explore without breaking the budget in the lunch hour and beyond.
See also: Ten Best Spicy Dishes in Miami
Remember as a kid when you were lucky to get a peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread with the crust cut off in your brown bag lunch? OK, picture that and then take it up several notches with a low price tag. Blocks takes a pocket and stuffs it with banana and strawberry slices and Nutella AKA mother's milk with a combination of chocolate and hazelnut. Is it dessert? A snack? A pita? Lunch? Who cares it has Nutella and is always available with all three ingredients for $4 -- unlike their actual lunch specials that range from $6.25 - $9.95
At this grocery store and eatery there are few tables so wander the aisles for goodies and then make your way to the counter. The falafel sandwich ($4.50) comes with tahini, cucumbers and tomato wrapped in the most pillow-soft just-made pita bread. It is a great option if you are somewhere between Brickell and Coral Gables with nothing but $5.
A proper soup dumpling ($3.75) is hard to find. Kon Chau may not have large ones but they are delicate, soothing and full of flavor. Bite the tip and slurp away. Want to try something different? The restaurant has an all day dim sum menu with most items priced between $2.80 and $5.
Our favorite of hidden delis located in Hialeah frequented by hip hop royalty is Franky's Deli Warehouse. This little gem remembers your name and spreads the love along with mayo and mustard. Our favorite of sandwiches is the #1. The small version ($4.50) of this Italian sub with ham, capicola, salami and provolone is a big deal. The bread is crusty and if you simple say yes to their laundry list of questions you will be set. "Lettuce, onion, pickles?" "Olives, hot peppers, sweet peppers?" "Mayo, mustard, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper?"
6. Dogma Grill
Let go of the dogma that hot dogs should cost a buck and should be on every street corner. That's just not the case, especially in Miami, and it is hard to find something substantial to put between the buns. Dogma grill serves up some variety from NYC Pushcart ($3.95)to a Colombian-style Tropicale dog ($4.75) to the Southern dog with chili and coleslaw ($4.50)
As we've recently discovered, this neighborhood Bodega and deli, has a pretty awesome afternoon secret. During the lunch hours this place is bustling with locals and constructions workers who head to the glass case in the back. They point to what they want and it is placed in a good sized box, if the lid closes and no alarms are raised you go to the front and pay $5. We like the roast pork, boiled plantain and rice, but there is also chicken many ways, pastas and salad. It is so much better than a salad bar, where we can't be trusted.
4. La Granja
The local Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken chain is more than fast and inexpensive food; it is tasty. The 1/4 chicken special offered during lunch (Monday-Friday before 4 p.m.) comes with rice and beans for $4.95. It is a beauty and a steal. If you feel like splurging you can add a drink and maduros for $2, but why bother. This plump, flavorful, juicy quarter of a chicken is clucking fantastic.
A dollar for a taco may be commonplace in California, but in Miami we are thrilled if we see 3 for $10. Well, Mi Rinconcito keeps the quantity and taco quality but cuts the price in half. Yup, that's right, you can have three tacos--choices include, chicken, beef, pork, lengua or chorizo-- for $5. As Chef Richard Hales would say, "MYW": Miami, You Win!
One of the best pizzerias in Miami has quite the lunch deal. You get one slice, two garlic knots and a soda for $4 between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you wanna feel extra big around the belt and a bit smaller in the wallet, you can get two slices and a soda for $5.50 but keep it under budget. Plus, one slice is guaranteed to make you come back and make the trek to north Dade for the best New York style pizza in town.
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For thirty years the man, Ortelio Cárdenas, simply known as "El Mago" has prepared the Cuban hamburger known as the frita. They have been covered on countless food shows and even Obama has gotten his hands on a couple (although, naturally, he told reporters not to tell Michelle). The secret is in the sauce and El Mago isn't spilling his signature spread, but miraculously you can still get the famed frita for under five dollars.
Follow Carina on Twitter @CarinaOst