The stamp of most nachos, beyond the chips and cheese, are the three dollops that showcase the colors of the Mexican flag: guacamole, sour cream, and salsa. Although in Miami, we let our own freak flag fly atop our nachos because we do them a little differently than everywhere else.
Naturally, our nachos have their own style as the toppings, chips, meats and vessels vary amongst restaurants. Here are the top five nacho offerings that are distinctly Miami.
See also: Ten Best Meatballs in Miami
5. Nachos at Huahua's Taqueria
Miami is for the dogs (and their owners). In case you missed it, our fair city was named No. 1 in pampered pups. So even when we have a craving for a delicious junk food like nachos, our pets are on our minds. Huahua's got its name from a chihuahua named Jalapeña. The restaurant provides doggie water bowls and the occasional treats. We even heard that there is a couple who buys plain fried chicken tacos for their great dane. For the humans, they get nachos ($7.49) with queso blanco, black beans, pickled jalapeños, salsa, cilantro, and the choice to add carne asada, citrus chicken, or guac for an additional charge. They are pretty finger-licking with that liquid
gold white cheese, but remember your dog gets first lick.
4. Tuna Nachos at Island Grill at Mandalay
These nachos are so Miami that they aren't even in Miami. Next time you head down to The Keys, you have two chances (yes, two!) for the most incredible nachos. Island Grill at Mandalay in Key Largo and with another location in Islamorada has the tagline that they are "Home to the original tuna nachos." With ample parking and boat docking, stop on by for something you have never seen before. The chips portion is comprised of fried wontons, topped with seaweed salad, covered with fresh ahi tuna, and drizzled with teriyaki, wasabi mayo and Sriracha sauce. The final garnish is sesame seeds and scallions. It's all Miami favorites rolled into one delightful starter and a perfect addition to your weekend getaway.
3. Helmet Ballpark Nachos at Marlins Park
If you think these are typical nachos, then you need to put on your thinking cap. These nachos from the FanFest concession stands come in a Marlins helmet. The tortilla chips have the Midas touch with homemade chipotle cheese sauce, pico de gallo, sour cream, jalapeños, shredded cheddar, and fresh scallions. You also get to keep the bowl as a souvenir. It's as exciting as stealing a base.
2. Tostones Fiesta at Salsa Fiesta Urban Mexican Grill
It is without question that Miamians are bananas about plantains. It should be no surprise that this Venezuelan fast-casual restaurant chain first came to Miami when they expanded to the States. They give you the option of their nachos fiesta with tortilla chips or tostones. The tostones are incredible and offer the needed structural support for beans, cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole ($7.69). You also get your choice of mushrooms, chicken, ground beef, carnitas, steak, fish or veggie. We recently tried with the fish (add $3) and the mahi paired just perfectly with the plethora of toppings on top of the plantains.
1. Sneaky Nachos with Vacas Frita at Latin House Grill
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As a pioneer of food trucks in Miami, Latin House Grill has always been a trendsetter. From one brick and mortar location to now their second in Pembroke Pines, we happily reminisce as we stuff our faces with nachos. Sneaky nachos ($11.99 for regular, $15.99 for large) are multi-colored chips smothered in a tangy house cheese with crema, avocado lime, pico de gallo, and a laundry list of proteins. You can get chicken, chorizo, carnitas, Carolina pulled pork, ribeye, fish tempura, soy and chicharron. Or, for an extra $2, you can get the heavy hitters -- premium meats -- carne asada, fire house shrimp, and calamari or the ultimate: vaca frita. The latter is the ultimate in Miami and the colorful pizzazz of the chips and thoughtful artistic drizzle makes these nachos, na-cho average nachos.
Note: for the best traditional nachos, try Los Magueyes where the chips are nice and crisp and they ask how you want your meat cooked on your steak nachos!
Follow Carina on Twitter @CarinaOst