Miami’s frita cubana isn’t your basic burger. Here’s where to find the 10 best.

Fritas sliders at Sergio'sVia Instagram

Some may call it an obsession, but I like to think that I have a healthy fascination with la frita cubana, the 1930s Cuban street food dish. They were originally sold from small carts similar in size to the hot dog carts that line the Miami courthouse.

The frita eventually found its way to Miami where it began its slow rise to popularity in the early 1960s. Dagoberto Estevil in his Fritas Domino cart and then later brick and mortar on 1177 SW 8th Street (a location later popularized by El Rey de las Fritas) is considered by many to be the godfather of fritas in Miami.

So what exactly is a frita? A paprika spiced patty that may be made up of a combination of beef, pork and chorizo in its most popular incarnation or simply put – a Cuban hamburger. The cooking technique involves smashing the spiced up ball of frita and topping it with diced onions and appears have originated in 1921 Wichita, Kansas where White Castle pioneered this cooking method for their burger sliders.

I’m always on the lookout for fritas in Miami so I can promise you that this Top 10 frita list will make your life a whole lot easier. If you’re a frita cubana newbie or an expert looking for a new one to wow you, then this is the list for you.

Palomilla Grill

This list is a top 10 but in the interest of full disclosure here is a shameless plug: You will find a really great frita at Palomilla Grill (formerly Trianon restaurant) made with my recipe.

Palomilla Grill, 6890 W Flagler St., Miami

10. Cafe 72

Once you get past the offensive lettuce and tomato that desecrated the Frita 72 at Cafe 72, you will find a substantial and filling frita made with chorizo and topped with a cilantro aioli and cayenne ketchup that’s great.

Cafe 72, 7201 NW 36th St., Miami

9. Amelia’s 1931

The Frita you’ve been craving… join us today & order our Korean BBQ Frita

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There have been a few different fritas on the menu here but while they’ve had some steps in the realm of fusion like the Korean Frita you can also taste the past in there as well if you’re really paying attention.

Amelia’s 1931, 13601 SW 26th St, Miami

8. Ariete

There are three fritas on the menu to appease every type of frita cubana fan. There’s the classic, el Americano with cheese and bacon, and then there’s the Pops Frita with blue cheese and caramelized onions. Go with the latter and enjoy this little frita ditty.

Ariete Miami, 3540 Main Hwy, Coconut Grove

7. Cuban Guys

What started as a fan’s take on El Mago and El Rey has grown to four (soon to be five) locations all over Miami. The Cuban roll is branded CG and the frita is right on the money. I prefer my Cuban Guys’ frita with cheese but don’t tell anyone. That’s frowned upon by purists.

Cuban Guys, 5979 NW 151st St., Suite #103; Miami Lakes

6. Off The Mile

Just a few short feet to the left of the door to Vicky Bakery in Coral Gables is Off the Mile with an updated rendition of the frita featuring julienne potatoes that resemble mini french fries and a special sauce on a burger roll. This is where the old and the new frita worlds collide.

Off the Mile, 245 University Dr., Coral Gables

5. Sergio’s

We like our Fritas covered in greatness. #cubanfrita 📷: @truffle_max

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I normally skip the regular frita which comes on a potato bun and go straight for the frita sliders which pack a flavor wallop. There’s two to an order and don’t even think about sharing these guys, you’ll regret it later.

Various venues throughout Miami

4. Fritas Domino

Dagoberto Estevil is no longer associated with Fritas Domino but his recipe lives on at this little spot in West Miami. The one noticeable difference between this frita and the others on this list is the texture. It’s almost as if they were deep fried…hmmm….

Fritas Domino, 936 SW 67th Ave., Miami

3. Morro Castle

This second Morro Castle location (the original spot in Little Havana closed May 2017) still holds its frita traditions close. This also happens to be the spot where I lost my frita virginity and 30 years later I’ve never looked back.

Morro Castle, 1201 W 44th Pl., Hialeah

2. El Mago de las Fritas

Ortelio Cardenas learned how to make fritas from his brother-in-law Benito Gonzalez aka El Rey de las Fritas. In 1984 he broke away and opened up El Mago de las Fritas (The Wizard of Fritas) in West Miami where it still stands today. Sometimes, if luck is on your side, you might catch Ortelio at the grill whipping up some magic. Make sure to take them up on the buy ten and get one free frita offer.

El Mago de las Fritas, 5828 SW 8th St., Miami

1. El Rey de las Fritas

La Original Frita Cubana!™ #elrey #laoriginalfritacubana #elreyknowsbest

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El Rey de las Fritas Benito Gonzalez began his empire in 1976 right off of Coral Way but made his name with their second location in the space where the original Fritas Domino was for over twenty years. Benito may have passed away more than ten years ago but he left the business in the capable hands of his daughter Mercy and her husband Gino, who have kept up his high standards for food and customer service. They are five-time winners of my Frita Showdown competition. That says it all.

Various venues in Miami