Melbourne is a city that is known for its famous cafe culture, world-class restaurants, and its love of boutique dining. If you are not familiar with the city or just looking to save your bucks where possible then check out this list of Melbourne’s best cheap eats. With hundreds of restaurants in the CBD alone, selecting just five places was no easy feat but all seven foodies have done their bit so here are our top picks.

Each location has been selected for good food at great value prices. A meal cost will average around $15 – 20 per person so go ahead, indulge!


1 South Indian Thali House   


Located on Russell Street in the heart of CBD, South Indian Thali House is an authentic Indian restaurant with a wide range of North and South Indian savory dishes made using quality ingredients. For $5 you can get a thali dish which is served with rice, rasam soup, papadum (a crispy thin disc), and pickled vegetables. A paratha (soft flatbread) is also included for an additional $1. Other highlights include masala dosa (a large paper-thin pancake made from lentil flour batter), idli (steamed rice cakes), kheema cookie (ground mutton cooked in cardamom), and biryani (rice cooked with meat or vegetables).


2 Nandos


Nando’s, located on Collins Street is a cozy restaurant serving Portuguese-style chicken dishes. It has won the title of ‘Best Peri Peri Chicken’ in the Melbourne Metro magazine awards for three years running so you know they are doing something right! For $10 you can get half a roast chicken with chips and vegetables or rotisserie chicken served with personalizing (mayonnaise made using peri chilies). With two locations situated near the city, it becomes an easy choice for dinner on a budget.


3 European Pork Roll  /  

European Pork Rolls is located on Elizabeth St in the heart of CBD, just off Flinders Lane. Here you can pick up a variety of different pork roll dishes. A ‘roll’ is a hot dog-type sausage served in a bun and the European Pork Roll serves four types: garlic and herb, onion and tomato, cheese and chilli and chicken satay. Each roll costs $5 – $6 but if you want all four sausages then it’ll cost $9.


4 Swish by Pizza East  /  

Swish by Pizza East is located on Flinders Street close to Melbourne Central station. It offers the best value wood-fired pizzas in town with most costing around $10 or less! You can choose from classics such as Margherita or pepperoni all the way through to more advanced tomato, mozzarella, baby spinach, and mushrooms or roasted red capsicum, zucchini, and ricotta.


5 El Jannah  /  

El Jannah on Bridge Road in Richmond is open seven days a week from 12pm until late (10:30 on Sundays). It has been awarded ‘Best Middle Eastern Restaurant’ for three years running at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival so you know that this place serves food to die for! Delicious specials include BBQ lamb skewers with mint sauce ($3) and chicken shawarma wraps ($4). A regular meal will cost around $10 per person.


6 Supercharger Thai Cafe    /  

Supercharger Thai is situated in Brunswick Street close to Victoria Park station. It serves up authentic Thai cuisine and has won awards for ‘Best Cheap Eat’ and ‘Best Thai Restaurant’. Highlights include the $10 pad Thai, $12 seafood green curry, $4 chicken or pork spring rolls, and $5 beef or veggie dumplings.


7 Noodle Kingdom  /  

Located close to North Melbourne station on Arden Street, Noodle Kingdom is a casual dining restaurant serving traditional Chinese dishes such as sweet and sour pork ($8), beef with rice noodles ($10), and boiled wontons with soy sauce ($6). There are also numerous soups including egg noodle soup with BBQ pork ($5) – filling! You can find cheaper Asian restaurants but you won’t find better quality.

8 Subway

Subway is located in the food court of Melbourne Central shopping center. They have a number of different ‘Fit n Fresh’ menus which you can pick up for around $10. These include meals such as roast turkey and Swiss cheese on toasted honey oat bread with vegetables, Subway melt panini (turkey breast, salami, melted cheddar cheese with lettuce, tomato & mayo), or Subway Club Panini (roast beef, ham or chicken with bacon, lettuce & tomato). For an extra 90c, you can add chips! There are also salads at around the same price point.

9 Noodle Box / Yum Cha / Hot Pot King  /  

Noodle Box is a casual dining restaurant situated on Little Bourke Street close to Chinatown. They serve Asian food including noodles, rice dishes, dumplings, and stir-fries. Hot Pot King is located in the city on Swanston St and offers a selection of hot pots, steamed buns, and dim sims all for around $10. Yum Cha offers a similar fare but at a slightly higher price point ($12+ per dish).

10 La Porchetta  /  

La Porchetta is an Italian restaurant situated conveniently near Southern Cross Station. You can pick up hearty pizzas or mouth-watering pasta for around $10 – all you have to do is an order from the lunch menu! Highlights include BBQ pork & red capsicum pizza with mozzarella cheese, beef & mushroom risotto, spaghetti Pomodoro and penne pasta with wild boar sauce.


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