If you’re visiting on a working visa or student visa you may need to keep an eye on your budget. For cheap and cheerful eats, we’ve pulled together a list of our top three places within each capital city.
Sink your teeth into a freshly made, steaming hot boa bun washed down with a homemade soya milk at this family run Chinese joint. Menu fillings include, shitake mushrooms, Chinese sausage, Pork belly or silky tofu.
Shop 4/19-37 A’Beckett St, Melbourne
Mon to Fri 8am – 6pm, Sat 11am – 4pm
Serving up quality grass fed beef burgers stacked with cheese, onion, pickles and secret sauce, this is not your run-of-the-mill burger joint. Golden crunchy chips are served with your choice of chipotle chilli or sichuan pepper salt sauce.
The Aviary, Level 2, 260 Collins Street, Melbourne
- ShanDong Mama
Tucked away in an old city arcade this unassuming eatery serves up some of Melbourne’s best dumplings. Handmade parcels of mackerel, coriander and ginger, plates of cabbage salad and egg pancakes are just a few of the gems to grace the menu.
Midcity Arcade, Shop 7, 200 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Daily 11am to 9pm
Build your own poke bowl at this modern Japanese eatery with a choice of fresh fish, beef or veg on offer. Load up on pickled garnishes and zesty sauces before finishing off with a yuzu cheesecake.
Grosvenor Place Courtyard
225 George Street, Sydney
Monday – Friday
11 am – 4 pm Lunch, 4 pm – 9 pm Dinner & Drinks
- Frankie’s Pizza
This retro pizza bar complete with pinball machines and timber booths will lure you in with its charm and craft beer just as much as its hot delicious pizza.
50 Hunter Street, Sydney
Mon – Fri: midday – 3am, Sat & Sun: 4pm – 3am (1:30am LOCKOUT)
- Hawker Malaysian Street Food
Living up to its name, this hawker style restaurant boasts an array of Malaysian street food classics including oyster omelette, grilled stingray and creamed corn.
Shop G02, 345B-353 Sussex Street, Sydney
Sun-Thu 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-9.30pm; Fri-Sat 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-midnight hawker.com.au
You can count on the Spanish to serve up a scrumptious, authentic sandwich and Comida is no exception. Roasted pork, manchego, chorizo and pickles are just a few of the treats you’ll find at this cantina.
Stall 11, Adelaide Central Markets
Tue 7am–5.30pm, Wed 9am–5pm, Thu 9am–5.30pm, Fri 7am–9pm, Sat 7am–3pm
- Sit Lo
This bustling vendor serves up generous bowls of beef or chicken pho. For those with a sweet tooth, try the condensed milk iced coffee.
30 Bank Street, Adelaide
Mon to Thu 11am–9pm, Fri & Sat 11am–10pm, Sun 5pm–10pm
You’ll find hot and steaming clay pots at this late night Chinese eatery. The lemongrass pepper pork is a favourite or for vegetarians, try the salt and pepper eggplant and shallot cakes.
119 Gouger Street, Adelaide
Fri: 12noon-3pm, Dinner: Tues-Thurs, Sun: 5pm-1am, Fri: 5pm-2am
- Hai Hai
To fulfil all your ramen needs head to Hai Hai for kelp and shitake broth, thick noodles, tofu, hanjuku egg, nori, and seasonal veggies.
102 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington
Tues – Sun: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
- Phat Elephant
This thai eatery and bar serves up a mix of street food and tasty cocktails.
Shop 7/280 Queen St, Brisbane
Daily until late
- The Burrow
Sprawl out on long wooden tables to the beats of reggae as you feast on hot cheesy pizzas at this cosy bistro.
37 Mollison Street, West End
Tues – Sun: 7:00pm – Late
- Old Lane Street Eats
In the heart of Chinatown, you won’t find a better bargain than at this delicious South-East Asian eatery. Tuck into bao, satay and curry dishes with juicy noodles and fragrant rice. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, opt for the Marmite Chicken Bao.
Unit 17, 68 Roe Street, Northbridge
Tues – Sun: 5:30pm – midnight
- Is Donburi
You can’t go wrong with these tasty Japanese bento boxes at wallet-friendly prices.
Shop 10, 189 William Street, Northbridge
Wed – Mon: 11:30am – 9:30pm
Serving up generous pasta dishes from $15 and a BYO liquor licence, you’ll have yourself a cheap and cheerful evening at this Italian bistro.
Shop 4, 189 William Street, Northbridge
Daily: 12:00pm – 2:30pm, 5:00pm – 10:30pm
You’ll be laughing with your burger, fries and beer all for $15 at this rustic alleyway gem.
29 Garema Pl, Canberra
Daily 10am – 2am
- Indo Café
If you’re after authentic, spicy Indonesian food, look no further. The food is delicious and the prices very reasonable. Lunch only.
Ground Floor Waldorf Apartments London Circuit Canberra
Mon – Fri: 11am – 3pm
- Zen Yai Thai
Eat in or take away at this authentic Thai restaurant. The menu boasts classic style dishes rich in spices cooked on the grill, in the pan or over the hot plate.
6 Kett Street, Kambah, Canberra
Daily: 5:00pm – 9:45pm
And if eating at home is more your thing, we’ve also got some great tips on how to eat healthy food on a budget.