Many fans of South and Southeast Asian food know roti as a flatbread that accompanies a meal, often with some kind of curry or sauce for dipping. But in Guyana and on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, roti is an entire meal unto itself and popular handheld street food. From the outside, a roti can look like a simple meat and potatoes stew wrapped in a bread blanket, but judging a Caribbean roti is more complicated than it looks. To make a great one, you have to know how to bake the bread so that it folds well, but isn’t too stiff or dense, and it has to have the right amount of salt, so it isn’t flavorless. The vegetable or meat filling has to be seasoned with the mandatory Chief curry powder made in Trinidad and Tobago, and have the right amount of pepper and complexity of flavors. It can be tough to tick all these boxes, but here are five places you can find great roti in Miami and judge for yourself.
If you want to get as close as possible to a perfect Trinidadian-style roti in Miami, you need to drive south to Caribbean Delite. This family-run, cash-only restaurant has been in the same location in South Miami for 25 years and has a strong reputation among local Trinidadian ex-pats. Their roti bread has the right balance of being soft and slightly fluffy and has just the right amount of salt. And while all roti bread is unleavened, this place gets enough air into the bread so that it doesn’t feel dense, stiff, or stodgy - it pulls away with some give and is just the right amount of chewy. You can also order all three types of roti bread here: dhal puri (stuffed with finely ground buttery lentils), paratha (flaky, multi-layered, and placed on the side), or chapati (plain). The meat inside is flavorful and you have the option of choosing “pepper” (spicy) or “no pepper” (not spicy). I highly recommend the potato and channa roti, and the curry chicken, which you can choose between “bone-in” or boneless. You can also order a side of tamarind sauce if you want to add a bit more sweetness to the curry.
This Little River market has been a consistent source of Caribbean staples since the ’80s. It’s part grocery store, part take-out spot with a small seating area inside. At the window in the back of the market is where you can order a Guyanese version of roti, which means you won’t find a Trinidadian “bush up shut” on the menu. A “bush up shut,” or paratha roti, looks like shredded clothes or a busted-up shirt and is usually served as an option for those who want their meat outside the roti bread, especially meat with the bones in it like goat or chicken. B&M offers a plain roti that’s thin and lightly seasoned, wrapped similar in size and shape to a large burrito, and you can get it filled with stewed vegetables, goat, shrimp, jerk chicken, or salt fish and ackee. My two favorites here are the curry goat and jerk chicken (which you can get bone-in or boneless), both of which are super flavorful and cooked perfectly.
Like B&M, Sheiks is part restaurant, part grocery. They have several different menus and make Guyanese-style roti that you can get plain or with dhal puri, which adds an extra layer of flavor and texture. They serve the goat separately from the bread here because of the bones, but the rest of the fillings come wrapped inside - their beef and potato roti is delicious and their vegetarian roti is one of the best in the city. It contains the perfect balance of sweet pumpkin mash, spinach, potato, and channa (mashed curried chickpea). The rotis come out fresh, and unlike at other shops, you can see all the filings through the glass at the counter. So if you like to see how the food is being handled or what your filling options look like, this is the place to go. They also fold and roll their roti into the shape of burritos instead of into a thick square like most Trinidadian spots, but they’re still a good size.
LC’s is another cash-only restaurant serving Trinidadian-style roti, and if you like a wide variety of fillings, this is the place to go. They have conch, shrimp, duck, goat, beef, chicken, veggie, and potato roti. But as a warning, you can’t get the duck or goat boneless, so if you don’t want to navigate around lots of little bones in your roti, ask for the meat to be placed on the side. As far as roti bread, it will be “bush up shut” on the menu - they have both plain and a paratha (no dhal puri). The roti bread here is thin and isn’t as soft or chewy as some of the other spots, but if you’re in the area and craving a bush up shut, stop by to grab some carryout. You can also purchase tamarind sauce on the side, two for a dollar. And if you get a spicy roti, make sure to spend the whole dollar.
Naz Roti is a family-owned and operated restaurant that offers a standard Trinidadian menu of roti, doubles, and rice plates. Due to COVID, they’re currently only offering bar seating, but the service is still as good as ever and they always offer free tamarind sauce. They use the Indian name “chapati” to describe their plain roti, and although they also have dhal puri, I’ve found their lentils to be on the grainier side, so I’d recommend sticking with the plain or paratha. The rotis here are large, thick, and layered and will feed two to three people, and unless requested otherwise, the bread and meat are served separately here. The oxtail roti is their standout - both because it’s less common and their oxtail is delicious. They give you the meatiest, most tender pieces that fall right off the bone and the brown sauce has a smokey, slightly sweet flavor. They also have a good veggie roti with pumpkin in it. While doubles are typically the go-to warm-up snack, their doubles are slightly overfilled and tamarind sauce-deprived, so just double down on roti here instead.