Fritas are a Cuban-style burger made with a patty mix of beef and chorizo, seasoned with Latin spices, topped with freshly fried shoestring potatoes, in between a Cuban bun. There are countless Cuban restaurants in the South Florida area, and with it countless Frita versions. Still, none are as authentic and delicious as what is coming out of the kitchen at El Mago de Las Fritas ($3.50).
El Mago (the wizard) has been ran by Ortelio Cardenas for over 30 years and has been a hotspot destination when it comes to making a cultural stop somewhere in Miami. People like George Motz from the Travel Channel to President Barrack Obama have come by for their frita fix, so this should speak for itself when deciding where to get your Cuban burger. Although El Mago de Las Fritas has been open as long as it has, it is a one-man show that is led by El Mago himself. This speaks to the importance he puts on quality control, making sure that every Frita is perfect and that each customer has a connection with the kitchen. This place is as close as you will get to a Miami institution, as it has brought spotlight to a sandwich that would not otherwise be recognizable by people outside of the area.
You can add cheese or a fried egg to your frita, but purists and even El Mago himself might frown upon this. Instead, order your frita with a batido de mamey, an impossible thick milkshake made from local fruit that tastes unlike anything you have ever had.
Where to try them in Miami: El Mago de Las Fritas. 5828 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33144. (305) 266-8486