Food & Drink

Penny Pinching? 25 Of The Gold Coast’s Best Cheap Eats

By Brooke Darling
20th Mar 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 & 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.

Eclectic Southport cafe, Randy Wallhole is a bargain lover’s dream with everything on the menu priced neatly at $14 or less. Take your pick of jaffles, acai and brekkie bowls, loaded bagels and a Coco Pop iced latte.  

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.      

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—$25 per head with any drinks purchase, from 6pm. 

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 finest cheap food on the Gold Coast. 

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; though be sure to arrive early for $1 wings (3pm to 5pm daily). 

If you’re looking for somewhere a bit more upmarket that still won’t break the bank, Cicchetti’s mid-week lunches should be your first port of call. Isle of Capri’s pizzeria is serving homemade pasta and personal pizza “express lunches” for $10 each, every Tuesday to Thursday (11:30am to 3pm), leaving change for espresso martinis and Negronis.

Central | Broadbeach To Miami

Nowhere has cheap ever tasted so good. One dollar oysters every Sunday night from 5pm (until sold out), means more pocket change for pineapple-filled cocktails at hidden Broadbeach party spot, Aloha Bar & Dining. Can't make it on a Sunday? They're serving $10 poke bowls and $5 skewers on Tiki Tuesdays, $1 dumplings on Wednesdays and $2 tacos on Thursdays. 

Throw your diet to the curb with gourmet burgers from Broadbeach favourite, Main Street Burger Bar. The buttermilk fried chicken burger with spiced chipotle mayo is a very reasonable $14, perfectly paired with a boozy milkshake or Coconut Froze. If you’re on a super tight budget, check out Mates Rates on Monday nights where burgers are only $10 between 5pm and 6pm. 

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 sticky pork gyoza to teriyaki salmon, spicy udon soup, seaweed salad, miso steak. 

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, 50-cent wings on Fridays (5pm to 7pm) and $10 chicken parmigiana with chips 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 $15. You’ll find MUSO Ramen in Mermaid Beach 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 & Beyond

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 $12 dinners on Mondays and Wednesdays and 2-4-1 meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays—all from 5pm. 

Tugun’s top craft beer hangout, Backbone Bar is offering a stellar selection of local craft beer and specials throughout the week. On Thursdays, you can pair your brew with $5 bao or on Sundays, slip in for $1 dumplings. It's little wonder they're a Tugun favourite. 

For tiki good vibes and Gold Coast cheap eats, Tupe Aloha Bar & Grill in Kirra will help you out with three tacos for $10 on Taco Tuesdays, 2-4-1 burritos on Wednesdays, $10 Tiki taster plates on Thursdays, or $3 tacos and cheap drinks during happy hour (3pm-5pm daily). 

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 The Urban List

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