Christchurch

Where To Find The Best Cheap Eats In Christchurch For 2024

By Urban List Writers

If there’s anything better than great food, it’s great food that’s cheap. On those nights when the fridge is empty and the very thought of a trip to the supermarket plunges you into melancholy, we've got you covered. There’s no need to spend a small fortune when you can smash a hearty meal in Christchurch/Ōtautahi for the loose change in your pocket (if that’s even a thing anymore).

Here are Urban List's picks of the best cheap eats Christchurch has to offer in 2024:

Bacon Bros Burgers

255 Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch CBD

An absolutely stacked, saucy burger with hashbrowns, pineapple, lettuce, sauce, and crispy chicken.
Image credit: Bacon Bros | Facebook

It’s all about happiness at Bacon Bros. Score a Lil Jim smashed pattie for just $12.50 or fork out $14 for the jackfruit-based Bryan The Fireman. Gluten-free bread is only $1 extra (which is saying something in this climate), keto and paleo burgs abound, and vegan aioli is waiting in the wings if you so desire it. You can snap up two burgers for $24 on Tinder Tuesdays but you’ll want to eat here regardless of what day it is.

Pot Sticker Dumpling Bar

Various Locations

Pot Sticker Dumpling Bar is a dumpling connoisseur with handmade dumplings in varieties such as Like a Pig in Chive, ‘Beef’ Root, and Vego Dump. Those without dietary restrictions can go all-in on the enigmatic ‘dozen matter’ and score 12 mixed dumplings for just $22. Auspicious. And that’s before we’ve even mentioned the xiao long bao. 

Grizzly Baked Goods

Various Locations

An elevated lunchbox by Grizzly Baked Goods, one of the best cheap eats in Christchurch.
Image credit: Grizzly Baked Goods | Website

If Grizzly isn’t already considered legendary, it will be very soon. Brimming with all things sourdough, with some delightful sweet treats to boot (and by that we mean shove in your face hole), it makes this list specifically because of its lunchboxes. For just $25 you can score a sandwich, pastry, granola bar and drink, with vegan options as needed. Hallelujah.

Sushi Ball House

Various Locations

A magnet for local students, Sushi Ball House, does the biggest rice balls in Ōtautahi and, coming in at just under ten bucks each, they’re an absolute steal. So next time the hunger pangs strike, sort yourself out with a riced sphere of teriyaki chicken and mayo, crispy chicken, tuna, or all of the veges. And, if you’re extra hungry, consider leveling up to a box with seaweed salad, sushi, and dumpling. 

FUSH

Various Locations

A bowl of devilishly good-looking fish and chips by FUSH, one of the best cheap eats in Christchurch.
Image credit: FUSH | Facebook

For the best fish and chips in Ōtautahi, and quite possibly the whole of Aotearoa, hit the sleek, Māori-owned FUSH. Sustainably sourced, with home-compostable packaging, there’s a lot to (happily) wrap your mouth around with their most popular catch including battered or crumbed fish (gluten-free available), crunchy shoestring chips, slaw and tartare sauce, with a generous serve of ambrosia to finish. 

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Dimitris Greek Food

86 Riccarton Road, Oxford Terrace

Another of the best cheap eats in Christchurch is Dimitris, a local hero serving up the best souvlaki in town. The tender meat (choose between lamb, chicken, or beef) and falafel, wrapped up with salads, zesty sauces, and warm pita, hit the spot every single time. The serving size is also pretty massive—your souvlaki will be packed to the very last bite—so you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Miss Peppercorn

32 Nayland Street, Sumner

Two chopstick-wielding hands dig in to a delicious spread of spicy Sichuan dishes at Miss Peppercorn
Image credit: Miss Peppercorn | Facebook

Miss Peppercorn is a Sichuan queen. Head here to slurp back a bowl of spicy Dan Dan or biang biang noodles—AKA. a bowl of chewy, hand-pulled goodness doused in umami chilli oil. Add an order of saucy wontons and garlicky cucumber salad, and you’re in for an otherworldly treat. And if you’re into Chinese specials like beef and tripe salad, this is the place.

Little High Eatery

255 Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch

If you’re out with a group, Little High Eatery is always a good shout. The bustling food hall houses the likes of the aforementioned Bacon Brothers to Caribe Latin Kitchen, Eightgrains, Base Woodfired Pizza, and more. There’s something to satisfy every palette, and the vibrant atmosphere makes it one of the most lively spots to enjoy a cheap meal in Christchurch.

Empire Chicken

96 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central

A crispy fried chicken burger from Empire Chicken is stacked high with cheese, pickles, and bacon
Image credit: Empire Chicken | Facebook

From drumsticks to tenders, Empire Chicken is top-tier if you’re after some crispy chook. Not only is their range of burgers, boxes, and sides endlessly moreish, it’s as guilt-less as fried chicken can be—locally sourced, free-range, completely hormone and antibiotic-free. Even their supporting ingredients like buttermilk and hot sauce are made locally. And to top it all off, there’s only one item on the menu that cracks $20.

The Afghan Restaurant

318 Lincoln Road, Addington

The Afghan Restauarant is one of those ‘if you know, you know’ type of spots. Tucked away on Addington’s main street, you’ll smell the smoky aroma from a block away. The opening hours are sporadic but this Facebook group will keep you in the loop. The menu is unique in the sense that there isn’t one—you don’t even need to order. Here’s the go: to dine in, simply take a seat, wait for the guys to check how many are in your party, and let the magic happen. This hole-in-the-wall gem serves up the same generous selection of traditional meat, rice, and salad dishes every night for just $20 per person.

Riverside Market

96 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central

Two pulled pork tacos from Riverside Market's El Rancho are served with a size of zesty sauce
Image credit: El Rancho | Facebook

Riverside Market is the answer if you’re feeling hungry yet indecisive. Perfect for busy office workers and mates outings alike, the market houses some of the best cheap eats in town, both on the go and dine-in. Piquing the senses with international flavours, from El Rancho’s killer burritos to the flavourful banh mi at Hanoi Alley, Riverside boasts some of the tastiest treats the city has to offer.

Steampunk Laboratory

270 Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch Central

For takeaway Korean for less than $15, head to Steampunk Laboratory and get your mitts on a cupbop, a satisfying BBQ bowl of steamed rice, sauteed onion, scrambled eggs, fresh slaw, and sauces. Their Korean Fried Chicken, with volcano-level spice, is just as worthy a meal. Gluten-free and vegetarian options happily catered for.

Thai Container & Thai Box

Various Locations

A saucy plate of chicken Pad Thai is accompanied by peanuts, chilli flakes, and crunchy beansprouts at Thai Box
Image credit: Thai Box | Facebook

Hot favourites with locals, nearly the entirety of each of Thai Box and Thai Container’s menus clocks in at $20 or less. The quintessential pad Thai, tom yum soup, green curry, and larb are all well represented here, and the Massman curry is one of Christchurch’s best. There’s also a massive selection for gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan diners.

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Main image credit: Empire Chicken | Facebook

Urban List Best Of: has our highest stamp of approval—curated lists of the very best recommendations for you to eat, do, see, buy or book, carefully chosen by our Editors.

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