Food & Drink

Penny Pinching? Where To Find The Gold Coast’s Best Cheap Eats

By Brooke Darling
28th Aug 2019

best cheap food on the gold coast

If your last European summer escapade left you broke or your Afterpay obsession is seriously eating into your dining budget, don’t go rummaging for those Mie Goreng noodles just yet. 

Fortunately, there are ample Gold Coast restaurants and bars spruiking some killer deals that are minimal on coin yet maximum on tastiness. Here is our pick of the best cheap eats on the Gold Coast that are both easy on the tastebuds and the wallet.

North | Surfers Paradise And Beyond

Reminiscent of a bustling hawker market, Harbour Town’s new 8Street dining hall should be your go-to for the best cheap food on the Gold Coast next time you find yourself on the northern end of town. Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian and Chinese—it’s all here.

Crafty’s Sports Bar is not your average sports bar. This sprawling restaurant and bar hybrid has a stellar fit out, interactive games and is family friendly. But you’re here for Gold Coast’s best cheap eats, so you’ll want to know about 2-for-1 pizza on Tuesdays, half priced chicken on Wednesdays, $15 schnitzels on Thursdays and more (all from 5pm in the bar). 

While you’re lurking around Southport, Maruya Japanese is a hands down local favourite for authentic gyoza, sashimi, Wagyu beef tataki, crispy tempura and more. Without question, this is some of the best cheap food on the Gold Coast. 

Eclectic Southport cafe, Randy Wallhole is a bargain lover’s dream with everything on the menu priced neatly at $15 or less. Take your pick of jaffles, acai and brekkie bowls, loaded bagels and a Coco Pop iced latte.  

If you’re hunting around Surfers Paradise for some top value Gold Coast meal deals, we can’t go past The Island. This achingly cool boutique hotel serves up $12 weekday lunch specials downstairs in Goldies restaurant (11:30am to 2:30pm, with purchase of a drink). Think: $12 rump steaks with chips and salad, $12 Angus beef burgers, $12 fish and chips… you get the picture. 

One of the most happening joints in Surfers Paradise is White Rhino, located off Circle on Cavill, and Thursdays is the best night for cheap eats. Book your table early for $10 all-you-can-eat tapas, leaving you plenty of cash for cocktails and craft beers. 

See what all the fuss is about at the burger joint that’s quickly taking over the nation. Surfers Paradise was the location for Betty’s Burgers second ever store and it’s safe to say these are some of the best cheap eats on the Gold Coast. Our pick? Try the southern fried crispy chicken burger for $11. You’ll also find Betty’s in Pacific Fair at Broadbeach, Westfield Coomera and Robina Town Centre.      

Fulfill all of your Asian cravings under one roof at CHOP CHOP marketplace. Running between Surfers Paradise Boulevard and the bar street of Orchid Avenue, this multi venue street food hub wafts with smells of Korean, Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Indian cuisine, plus more. If you’re on the hunt for some of the best cheap food on the Gold Coast, you’ll be spoilt for choice. 

When you need to fill up on a delicious Italian meal that doesn’t compromise on quality, Salt Meats Cheese is your go to. Relive your childhood with an all-you-can-eat pizza session at Salt Meats Cheese’s Monday pizza night (plus all you can eat vegan pizza on Thursdays)—$25 per head with any drinks purchase, from 6pm. 

You’d better plan ahead if you want to take advantage of Tribeca NYC’s hugely popular Wednesday BBQ Ribs Night. Get a finger-licking serving of slow-cooked BBQ pork or beef ribs with slaw and fries plus a beer, wine or cocktail for a top value $30.

Treat yourself to some of the Gold Coast’s best burgers at Surfers Paradise’s Longboards Laidback Eatery & Bar. Located a sandy-footed stroll from the beach, their killer mid-week special sees burgers sell for $13 all day on Thursdays. Can’t make it on a Thursday? On Tuesdays get two sliders for $10; Wednesday is $1 wing and tinnie night, while kids eat free on Mondays. 

Central | Broadbeach To Miami

Dumplings and craft beer are always a good idea. But what if you add gyoza, ramen, agedashi tofu, karaage and the most delicious thing you’ve ever put in your mouth, salted caramel dessert gyoza? Harajuku Gyoza in Broadbeach is super well priced, with most dishes coming in at $10 and below. Grab a few friends and try them all. 

Broadbeach’s Cha Cha Japanese is an institution for some of the best cheap food on the Gold Coast as it ticks all the right boxes—BYO, cheap, fast and delicious. You’ll find all your favourites on the menu from gyoza to teriyaki salmon, spicy udon soup, seaweed salad and bento boxes. 

Undisputed kings of the best cheap food on the Gold Coast, served with a friendly smile and a buzzing local vibe, you’ll love Mermaid Beach’s Après Surf. Every night there’s a cheap deal going, including $5 cheeseburgers on Mondays, $1 dumplings on Thursdays, 50-cent wings on Fridays (5pm to 7pm) and $15 chicken parmigiana with chips and a tinnie of beer on Sundays. 

Another local favourite is MUSO Ramen Noodle & Gyoza Bar, which sits comfortably in the best cheap food on the Gold Coast category, given every bursting-with-flavour bowl of ramen sells for less than $18. You’ll find MUSO Ramen in three locations: Mermaid Beach, Chirn Park and at The Kitchens in Robina Town Centre. 

This Mermaid Beach diner-slash-menswear-boutique-slash-barber is our top choice for a tasty burrito and coffee, alfresco style. If you’re looking for the best cheap food on the Gold Coast, you can order anything on Alfred's Diner menu with prices ranging between $12 and $14. 

It seems it’s Asian cuisine for the win when it comes to cheap eats on the Gold Coast. If you’re craving authentic Japanese eats but your wallet is tight, Nobby Beach institution Hachi is as affordable as they come, paired nicely with a bottle of BYO wine and Friday night is organised.

Always buzzing with a jovial crowd, Nobby Beach’s Bine Craft Beer Bar is serving up some of the best cheap food on the Gold Coast. Come for $5 sliders with fries on Mondays and $15 chicken parmigiana with a beer tasting paddle on Thursdays, plus one of the best craft beer selections on the Coast. 

Ten dollars won’t buy you much these days, but it will get you a tasty plate at Miami Marketta’s regular Friday and Saturday night soiree. Here you’ll find loads of ethnic options to satisfy even the fussiest of dinner dates, plus free live music and party vibes ensuring a great night out on the cheap, every time.  

South | Burleigh And Beyond

If you’re looking for somewhere a bit more upmarket that still won’t break the bank, Burleigh Pavilion’s $25 weekday specials should be your first port of call. With uninterrupted views of Burleigh Beach and the coastline to Surfers Paradise, Burleigh Pavilion is offering fish and chips on Mondays, nachos on Tuesdays, burger and fries on Wednesdays and wood-fired pizza on Thursdays—served with a house wine or schooner of tap beer for just $25. Seriously one of the best cheap meal deals on the Gold Coast. And the view? Priceless. 

Dig into your pockets for some loose change and head to Burleigh’s Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, where you can stuff yourself silly with three monster tacos for $10. Try them all or just order a round of their best seller—the world famous fish taco.

Backing it up with something that’s actually healthy, Govindas has always offered some of the best cheap food on the Gold Coast. This Hare Krishna ran not-for-profit vegetarian/vegan institution is friendly and full of diners tucking into heaping plates of curries, pasta bakes and salads for around $12 a plate. There’s no reason not to love this place. 

Palm Beach’s Frida Sol is so cool, it’s the kind of place you actually want to spend your money; but with $5 tacos on Taco Thursdays, you’ll barely have to. The cherry on top is $5 sangrias, bringing that total down by the sip. 

If you love oysters, you’ll want to get down to Palm Beach’s Burgster for $1 oyster happy hour—every Friday between 3pm and 5pm (or until they run out). If you’re more of a tacos fan, you’ll be treated to $5 tacos on Tuesdays. 

You can enjoy a million dollar view and dinner for pocket change at Currumbin Vikings SLSC, with $15 dinners on Mondays and Wednesdays and 2-4-1 meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays—all from 5pm. 

For tiki good vibes and Gold Coast cheap eats, Tupe Aloha Bar & Grill in Kirra will help you out with $1 wings on Mondays, three tacos for $10 on Taco Tuesdays and 2-4-1 burritos on Wednesdays. 

Eaten your way through the best cheap food on the Gold Coast? You’ll probably need some exercise then. Check out these stunning hikes

Image credit: Hayley Williamson and Kaitlin Maree Photography for Urban List

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