Little Havana might just be the easiest neighborhood in Miami to eat at when on a budget. For $50, you will have enough to for three meals for two and enough for dessert at a fourth stop. Cuban and Hispanic-influenced meals are quite generous on their portions, so prepare to pace yourself in order to have an appetite to last you for all three meals.
Starting Cash: $50
Pastelitos are a popular Miami breakfast despite their sweet nature. This treat, made up of puff pastry enveloped around a filling of guava, cheese, meat, or a combination, makes for a great way to start the day. The flaky pastry shatters as you bite into it, giving way to the sweet and luscious interior relative to your tastes. We recommend the guava pastelito, as this flavor embraces Cuban tendencies to favor this fruit for various things. Finding the best in the city is a contested argument, but Pastelmania is generally at the top of most lists. Enjoy your pastelito with an uber-sweet Colada for two, a large shot of coffee that is usually referred to as Miami locals’ jet-fuel.
Where to find it: Pastelmania. 2015 W Flagler St Miami, FL 33126. (305) 541-3675
Remaining Cash: $40
Fritas are Cuba’s answer to the ever-popular hamburger. Similar to the common American lunch, Fritas are sandwiches containing paprika spiced beef and chorizo patties topped with diced white onion, julienned fried potatoes, and ketchup on a Cuban Roll. This ode to the hamburger provides a bit of “sazon” to fuel you through the afternoon. The best can be found at the appropriately named El Rey de Las Fritas, meaning “The King of the Fritas.” The Fritas here are authentic and flavorful, providing a proper representation of this sandwich that has come to symbolize Miami in more ways than one.
Where to find it: El Rey de Las Fritas. 1821 SW 8th St Miami, FL 33135. (305) 644-6054.
Remaining Cash: $25-30
At this point, we’re going to suggest Nicaraguan food for dinner. Although we are in a Cuban-centric neighborhood, you’d make a mistake in not indulging in Nicaraguan food during your trip here. Stop at Pinolandia, a 24-hour Nicaraguan Fritanga providing the area with hefty portions of what many consider to be a must stop when craving cuisine from this Central American nation. At this point, splitting an entrée is enough for two people. We recommend carne asada with gallo pinto and (of course) fried cheese. The squeaky side-dish is chewy and indulging in all the right ways, leaving you ready for dessert.
Where to find it: Pinolandia. 119 NW 12th Ave Miami, FL 33128. (305) 324-4656
Remaining Cash: $10
A bonus stop at Azucar for dessert is a must, as this stop serves Cuban culture embodied as creamy and luscious ice cream. Those in the know always get the Abuela Maria flavor, the homemade vanilla ice cream mixed with guava, cream cheese and galletas Maria. This flavor has quickly become a Cuban-American classic.
Where to find it: Azucar Ice Cream Company. 1503 SW 8th St Miami, FL 33135. (305) 381-0369