Fifteen years ago you could have bought two large sausage rolls, three party pies and a Nippies chocolate milk for your Friday school lunch order and still get change from five bucks. Now you can barely get a happy hour G&T for $10.
To help save you some cash, we’ve put together a list of the best cheap eats Melbourne has to offer.
Nico’s Sandwich Deli
All under $16, Nico’s sandwiches are one of the best cheap eats Melbourne has to offer, and some of the heftiest. The chicken schnitzel sandwich is every bit as good as it sounds with crispy panko crumbed thigh fillets—if you listen closely you can almost hear the crunch. The meatball sub is another indulgent offering, complete with bone marrow and pecorino cheese. They even do ice cream sandwiches for when you’re in need of something sweet. We promise once you’ve tried Nico’s sandwiches, you’ll be going back for more.
Carlton North and Collingwood
Did someone say gnocchi for $15? That’s right, Good Gnocchi is the place to go for a hearty feed on a budget. Gnocchi is the ultimate sustenance food and at these prices, you’d be crazy to resist this hole-in-the-wall establishment. There are five options on the menu—bolognese, tomato sauce, walnut pesto, butter sage, and vegan pumpkin gnocchi. You can add some garlic bread too if you’re feeling extra peckish.
Banh Mi At Trang Bakery
Collingwood, Prahran & Camberwell
Trang’s banh mi are exceptionally tasty. What really sets Trang apart from the many other Vietnamese bakeries in Melbourne that qualify for this list is how they spoil their customers for choice. As well as the usual barbeque pork, crispy pork and roast chicken, there are several different vegan options. Tempura eggplant, vegan roast chicken, vegan duck and lemongrass tofu are available to have in your banh mi.
Every week from Tuesday to Friday, Mrs Singh offers a $20 thali-style lunch that includes aromatic curries, rice, naan and raita all served together for the ultimate Indian tasting plate. You can indulge in multiple dishes all beautifully presented in true Jessi Singh (Mr Brownie and Daughter In Law) fashion. Every serve includes butter chicken, lamb curry, coconut vegetable curry and punjabi khadi and a vegetarian version is also available on request. Treat yourself.
Punjabi Curry Cafe
Curries that won’t hurt your hip pocket but will fill you up are the kinds of curries we live for here at Urban List. Punjabi Curry Cafe is a family-run business with fifteen years behind them who specialise in exactly that. Just about everything on the menu is under $20, from entrees and tandoor treats to hearty curries. You won’t go home hungry or broke after a trip to this local favourite.
Steak At Forrester’s Beer Hall
You'd unlikely see a cheap eats Melbourne list without Forrester on it—bring back the $10 parma, please.
Head down to Forrester’s on a Monday for $10 rump and fries for either lunch or dinner. This Collingwood haunt usually fills up quickly so booking ahead for a midday office feed or start-of-the-week dinner is recommended.
Chicken Katsu Curry At Don Don
As far as cheap eats Melbourne CBD has to offer, Don Don is up there. Authentic, and most importantly affordable Japanese, Don Don is a favourite with corporate office workers just as much as it is amongst students. With almost everything on the menu under $10 and generously portioned, Don Don is just about the best value for money meal you will find in the CBD.
You’ll be lucky to nab an outside table, but you can always take yourself across the road to the lush lawn outside the State Library and enjoy your midday meal in the sunshine. We have to say, it’s lunch specials Melbourne CBD doesn’t need when you’re getting this much bang for your buck.
Pasta At Good Times
It didn’t take long for Good Times in Fitzroy to become a local staple thanks to its pasta coming in at $9 to $16 a plate. Using fresh ingredients, the pasta, albeit simple, is decadent and delicious. The menu of this pasta bar is ever-changing, but the prices rarely change. Good Times is without a doubt a staple to anyone's 'cheap eats Melbourne' list.
Croissant At Agathé Pâtisserie
South Melbourne & CBD
This little place is a pastry lover’s dream. There is a range of pastries available including some pretty unique flavours, but the croissants are the stars of the show, and without a doubt some of the best breakfast Melbourne CBD is serving up right now. There’s matcha croissants, red raspberry croissants, croissants make with coffee extract, pandan croissants, squid ink croissants and pretty much any type of croissant you can think of.
Chicken Tawouk Wrap At A1 Bakery
Melbourne’s original Lebanese bakery, and Brunswick’s favourite destination for cheap eats. Almost everything on the menu at A1 is around $10, but our favourite is the chicken tawouk wrap: marinated chicken, hot chips, pickled vegetables, coleslaw and garlic, wrapped and toasted for $10.50.
Now you know where you’ll be eating, check out what’s on this month in Melbourne.
Image credit: Annika Kafcaloudis