Thanks to mega fast food chains like Taco Bell or Chipotle, most Americans know what a taco, burrito, tostada and a chalupa are, but for those who know real Mexican fare, they opt for the torta. It’s a hearty sandwich filled with meat that can either be fried or grilled and then topped with Mexican toppings such as guacamole or jalapeños. In fact, it’s so obscure that it’s not uncommon to go into an authentic Mexican eatery and still not see it on the menu. So here is a list of the best places in Miami that not only serve tortas, but also make them so tasty that you will forget what a taco is.

(credit: Niema Hulin)

Alma Mexicana
1344 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 695-0880

If you’re looking for a tender torta, then Alma Mexicana is the place to go. This spot serves four varieties of tortas (steak, marinated pork, pork and chicken) on soft torta bread and top each with guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise. The flavors all blend together to make a great tasting sandwich that you almost forget is filled with meat because it lacks any chewiness or toughness. There also isn’t an overpowering Mexican flavor so even if you’re not a fan of Mexican food, you’ll be a fan of this torta. Try it the next time you’re in South Beach.

(credit: Niema Hulin)

El Taquito
3410 Main Highway
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
(305) 446-2303

One of the benefits of having a small open kitchen is that your patrons can watch as their food is prepared right in front of them, and El Taquito clearly knows this. Its tortas are grilled and are available in either pork or steak varieties, but you can substitute for chicken by request. Each sandwich is topped with lettuce and the Mexican staple, sour cream, for a little kick. They are then finished off with a large torta bun that is soft and comforting. Factor in the cheap cost for a sandwich that is big enough to feed two people and you’ve got yourself the perfect meal.

Related: Best Tacos in South Florida

(credit: Niema Hulin)

Jacalito Taqueria Mexicana
3622 W Flager St
Miami, FL 33135
(305) 443-1336

Jacalito Taqueria Mexicana is a local favorite, but if you’ve never been here before, going inside takes a leap of faith because the exterior of the restaurant is less than aesthetically pleasing. Once you go inside, you’ll find this establishment to be warm and inviting with its Mexican-themed decor and sponge-painted walls. However the real draw is Jacalito’s tortas. These tortas are breaded and absolutely delicious without the greasiness that you would expect from a fried meal. The meat, which can be chicken, beef, pork or ham, is juicy and tender with every bite. Each sandwich is topped with lettuce, beans, tomatoes, onions, avocado, jalapenos and sour cream. It’s about as authentic as a Mexican sandwich can get.

(credit: Niema Hulin)

Mi Rinconcito Mexicano
1961 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33135
(305) 644-4015

Mi Rinconcito Mexicano also offers both breaded tortas and regular tortas, but one of its tortas has an added twist. The huevo con chorizo is a Mexican sausage torta with scrambled eggs served on top. It’s not a sandwich that is for everyone but it is a nice experiment for the adventurous foodie. For those who like to stick with the familiar, Mi Rinconcito also serves breaded steak, chicken and a ham tortas.

(credit: Niema Hulin)

El Carnal 2
1128 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33130
(786) 287-8950

This establishment is very similar to El Taquito in that it’s small and doesn’t offer seating for more than 10 people, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t offer up some tasty grub. It’s located in Little Havana and its flagship store was originally a taco stand which is still in use today. El Carnal 2’s tortas are also grilled and fairly large in size. Choose from chicken or steak varieties. One taste and you’ll be in heaven on earth.

Related: Best Mexican/Southwestern Food in South Florida

Niema Hulin was born in Newark, NJ but raised in Lexington, South Carolina for the bulk of her formative years. In 2002, she moved to Miami after graduating from the University of Florida. Since then, Niema has worked in film, television and commercials as a Production Assistant and Production Coordinator. Some of her films have included Bad Boys II and I Am Number IV. Her work can be found at