Whether payday is a distant memory or you simply don’t want to spend your life savings on a meal (fair), don’t go running for those two-minute noodles just yet. There are plenty of cheap eats in Hamilton that are minimal on coin but maximum on deliciousness.
These wallet-friendly restaurants will leave you full, satisfied, and with money in the bank—winning. So, without further ado, here are the best cheap eats in Hamilton.
On A Roll Eatery
On A Roll found its fame as a food truck before finding its current home on Vialou Street in Hamilton’s CBD. The eatery takes you on a culinary journey around Asia with its fusion street food dishes. There’s the best of the best with bao buns, dumplings, spring rolls, and chicken wings coated with sticky sriracha sauce. Their $20 lunch boxes include a main (hawker roll, noodle salad, or banh mi) with two dumplings and two chicken wings. There are also vegetarian-friendly options available. What a steal.
The Dumpling House
Hamilton CBD & Claudelands
If you’re like us, you know that dumplings are essentially parcels of happiness. Get your dopamine hit from Hamilton’s famed Dumpling House. Their handmade pork and prawn dumplings are served with your choice of veges or noodles, while their pork and cabbage comes in a comforting hot and spicy soup. Alternatively, dumpling purists can nab a 20-piece serve of perfectly crispy pan-fried morsels. The menu also showcases rice dishes, noodle bowls, and Chinese street food.
Friends Cuisine of India
Huntington, Flagstaff, St Andrews & Glenview
Indian food is comfort food. What is possibly better than soaking up a creamy, spicy curry with a pillowy, buttery piece of naan bread? The answer: not a lot. Friends Cuisine of India serves up authentic, mouth-watering Indian food that is easy on the wallet. Most curries are around $18.50, and you can get an array of delicious sides (two samosas for $8 and six vegetarian pakoras for $12) to round out the perfect meal. There are four eateries across Hamilton meaning you’re never far from your tikka fix.
Winner Winner is Hamilton’s favourite chicken shop—and for good reason. Specialising in all things chicken, the menu showcases both fire-roasted and buttermilk fried chicken. Have yours served between a bun, tossed in a salad, or loaded on top of a pile of cheesy fries. The best part is the frugal prices with most dishes sitting around the $15 mark. Stick around for dessert because their decadent pies are unmissable. Our pick is the s’mores brownie topped with gooey torched meringue.
Donburi-Ya knows how to do Japanese really (really) well, and the prices are just as attractive. Their donburi menu stars the usual suspects (katsu, karaage, teriyaki etc) with your choice of chicken, salmon, or tofu. The dishes are served on a bed of rice with fresh salad and the all-important bowl of complimentary miso soup. The popular lunch spot also serves comforting ramen, udon noodles, and a help-yourself cabinet of sushi. Enjoy a main and a drink for around $20.
Banh Mi Caphe
Located in Hamilton’s trendy Riverbank Lane, Banh Mi Caphe is perfect for a wallet-friendly date night. Dig into Vietnamese street food classics such as banh mi, pho, bun noodle salad, and fresh rice paper rolls. Alternatively, go for a Viet twist with the likes of banh taco, crispy pork hock, and a mussel bowl brimming with flavours of coconut, lemongrass, and chilli. The food is always light and punchy with plenty of fresh herbs to send your taste buds into overdrive. Even better, it won’t cost you a fortune—the street food dishes are $12-$15 and larger mains are around $19-$29.
Transport yourself to the streets of Bangkok at Chim Thai in Rototuna. The popular eatery serves all your Thai favourites with salads, curries, noodles, wok dishes, and street food-inspired Thai ‘tapas’. The latter includes Thai dumplings, tom yum wraps, pork skewers, and a flaky roti served with moreish peanut satay dipping sauce. Chim Thai is also home to one of Hamilton’s best pad Thai with perfectly fried noodles tossed with bean sprouts, egg, peanuts, and your choice of protein.
Garden Place Noodle Bar
Tiny but mighty, Garden Place Noodle Bar is a casual eatery catering to the noodle enthusiasts among us. You’ll be treated to dinner and a show as the handmade noodles are stretched, pulled and served with a broth of deliciousness. The wallet-friendly dishes include BBQ pork rib, roast chicken, seafood, or melt-in-your-mouth beef sirloin. Noodles aside, they also serve up steamed pork buns and juicy dumplings. A main and a drink is around $20 at this cheap and cheerful noodle joint.
Babaganush Turkish Restaurant & Cafe
Moussaka, tagine, köfte… yes, yes, yes. Turkish food is some of the best—full of spices and flavour. Babaganush is the place to visit if you’ve got Turkish cravings and you’re balling on a budget. Over lunch, their iskender is $15.50 and döner kebabs are just $12.50. The table menu has a slightly higher price point with dishes such as chicken date tagine, roasted lamb salad, and generously stacked platters perfect for date night grazing. Babaganush, we like your style.
Crunchy spring rolls, slurp-worthy noodles, flavoursome broths… Vietnamese food is epic. It's fresh, it's light, and you’ll never get that too-full feeling once you’re done. Saigon Noon serves up all the traditional Vietnamese dishes—pho, banh mi, and bun noodle salads—and all for some seriously good prices. With nothing much above $18, you’ll be full to the brim without denting the wallet. For a quick and easy lunch on the go, you can nab a banh mi for just $12.
I Japanese Cafe
Authentic Japanese food with authentic Japanese service. I Japanese Cafe absolutely nails it when it comes to taste and friendliness. With all the options of yakisoba, sashimi, donburi and tempura, your best bet is to get a few things to try as much as possible. And with such good prices, why not? I Japanese Cafe is one of the best places for cheap and cheerful eats in Hamilton.
Gourmet burgers worth getting excited about, EAT Burger serves up fresh and seriously tasty burgers perfect for a quick lunch or dinner. The burgers are hearty (the way they should be) and offer all of the options. From beef with garlic truffle mushrooms to sticky Korean fried chicken, most burgers are less than $17. If you can find room for dessert, they’ve got fun cookie ice cream sandwiches from none other than Hamilton’s much-loved Duck Island.
Image credit: Banh Mi Caphe, Dumpling House, Banh Mi Caphe, Garden Place Noodle Bar, Saigon Noon & EAT Burger.