Best Cheap Eats in Melbourne
Living in Melbourne, while on a budget can be difficult when there’s so many delicious food to tuck into! I’ve devised a list of the best cheap eats in Melbourne, so you can eat great and save that cash.
When it come to cheap eats, you can dig out some gems in Melbourne. Living in Australia can be expensive, especially when you’re on a backpacker budget and saving for future travels. Some people would question, why eat out if you are saving? Well, there’s a simple answer to that question. The restaurants/takeaways in Melbourne are simply too enticing and delicious not to eat out once in a while. When I say eat out, I don’t mean spending $100 on a three course meal, I really mean spending around $10 on one of the best cheap eats in Melbourne.
Below is a list of the best cheap eats in Melbourne and where to find them…
The Borek Bakehouse
281 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne CBD
A humble bakehouse, offering cheap boreks, which will keep you coming back for sure. A borek is basically a soft, flaky pastry, stuffed with a flavoursome filling. At The Borek Bakehouse, the pastry is made by hand each day. If you don’t believe me, you simply have to go to the window to see them making it right then and there. If the homemade boreks in the window aren’t enough to entice you in, the smell of freshly baked boreks and spice infused fillings surely will.
There’s a whole host of options when it comes to the flavours of borek on offer. My advice, keep it simple and cheap and go for one of their $3 options. Choose from either, spicy lamb, spinach and cheese or spicy potato. The Borek Bakehouse is definitely more of a takeaway establishment, than a sit down restaurant, due to very limited seating. Who needs seating though. Boreks are a perfect on-the-go food.
Recommendation – $3 Boreks (Spicy Lamb, Spinach and Cheese & Spicy Potato)
There’s certainly no shortage of sushi joints in Melbourne, that’s for sure. However, with all that choice, how do you really know who makes the best sushi for a cheap price? Here’s where Sushi Hub comes in. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, or you just simply crave some tasty sushi, head down to your nearest Sushi Hub. The sushi is freshly prepared each day, you just have to look behind the counter to see that.
The sushi mainly ranges from $2.80-$3.00 a piece. One is enough for a quick snack and 2-3 should be filling enough for a lunch on-the-go. Don’t forget to grab some sachets of soy sauce, pickled ginger and of course, wasabi, for that added flavour.
Recommendation – Salmon & Avocado, Soft Shell Crab & Tempura Prawn Sushi Rolls
Salt Seafood & Burger Bar
11 Errol St, North Melbourne
What can be better than the old classic of fish and chips. Yes, I’m English and yes we definitely love fish and chips in England. Finding a fish and chips shop like Salt Seafood & Burger Bar was an absolute dream. The tiled interior really adds to the classic chip shop vibe. However, Salt Seafood & Burger Bar isn’t just any old fish & chip shop. There’s a modern feel to the interior and menu. The indoor and outdoor seating means you can take a seat and enjoy your meal.
Just a pre-warning here. Their portions are absolutely huge. Mistakenly I ordered a medium portion of chips. I unexpectedly received a mountain sized portion. There genuinely must have been about five whole potatoes altogether in that bowl when it arrived. If you’re after some classic fish and chips, then this is the place for you. They also serve other takeaway favourites, with several variations of burgers and wraps.
Recommendation – $9.50 Calamari Pack (Fried or Grilled Calamari, Chips, Tartare Sauce, Lemon)
6-12 Pin Oak Crescent, Flemington
Often touted as the best Laksa you can find in Melbourne. The local knowledge of the best Laksa in Melbourne is clear to see when you arrive at Laksa King. No doubt about it, you will be queuing for a table when you get here. Don’t worry though, the queue may seem as though it would take forever, but the turn around is surprisingly quick.
Once you’re seated, you will realise that the short wait is well worth it. The aromas around you will leave your stomach grumbling. You will be quizzing why you hadn’t visited Laksa King sooner. There are other choices on the menu other than laksa, but why visit the spot for ‘the best laksa in Melbourne’ and not order a laksa?!
At $10.80 for a bowl of spicy, fragrant laksa, you might be questioning whether the portion size would be up to scratch. No need. The laksa comes in a huge bowl. The portion will certainly leave you full to the brim. It’s well worth the $10.80, I can assure you of that.
What makes Laksa King’s laksa so delicious? It’s simple, the combination of a heady spiced coconut broth, fresh vegetables/meat and soft noodles.
Recommendation – $10.80 Laksa (Chicken, Beef & Vegetable Laksa)
281 Swanston Street, Melbourne CBD
Forget McDonald’s and Hungry Jacks, 8Bit Burger fast food joint serves up some of the tastiest burgers in Melbourne. The constant queues for a taste of the famous burgers are well justified when you’re tucking into your first bite of beefy goodness.
The sleek design and video game based interior design fit with their menu, where burgers are named after video game classics. Whether you’re a beef, chicken or even mushroom burger lover, you will certainly avoid burger based disappointment at 8bit. There’s plenty of indoor seating on offer, however if you prefer, you can order a takeaway and enjoy one of Melbourne’s favourite burgers in the comfort of your own home.
Recommendation – $9.50 8bit with Cheese (Beef burger with cheese)
Casa Iberica Deli
25 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
A Latin family ran deli, which is a favourite with the locals. If you’re looking for some Latin ingredients to cook your favourite dish, look no further. In the small deli, as you squeeze past people in the aisle you will find some of the best Spanish, Portuguese, Central and South American ingredients.
Although the ingredients and all round Latin vibe are some of the main selling points of this quaint deli. The reason Casa Iberica makes the list of the best cheap eats in Melbourne, is down to the sandwiches. Why would I recommend a sandwich, you might say? Well, the sandwiches at Case Iberica, aren’t your average bread and one meat filling.
Grab yourself one of the huge loafs of bread, hand it to the person behind the counter, then make your decision with what you want on it. There’s a huge, inviting selection of cold meats, cheeses and antipasti. The choice available is incredible. I think it left the guy behind the counter quite irritable when it took me around half an hour to make up my mind. Fresh salami, spicy chorizo, strong and mild cheeses, all topped off with some antipasti, what more could you ask for?
Recommendation – $10 Ciabatta with Salami, Jamon, Manchego & Grilled Peppers
Little Ramen Bar
5/346 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD
While Little Ramen Bar probably has ‘little’ in its name due to the location on Little Bourke St, the little could very well be in reference to the size of the tiny ramen bar. Don’t let the minimal size of the ramen shop put you off though. What Little Ramen Bar lacks in size, it certainly makes up for with its delicious servings of steaming ramen.
Little Ramen Bar is a casual affair. The humble interior is homage to the simple yet delicious ramen on the menu. If ramen isn’t your thing, don’t fret, they also serve other Japanese favourites, such as; gyoza dumplings, kimchi and wok fried rice. However, being a ramen lover myself, I’d always recommend a serving of the delicious authentic Japanese dish. If you’re feeling brave, you can opt for the ‘godzilla’ size serving.
Recommendation – $11.90 Classic Ramen (Pork)
Toasta & Co.
181 Adderley Street, West Melbourne
What can be said about the toasties in this place. Without a doubt, the best toastie in Melbourne, maybe even Australia. Think about this and try not to salivate. Toasted sourdough bread, filled to the brim with an oozing three cheese blend. If you’re feeling decadent, then the mac and cheese toastie is a must try. Gooey mac and cheese on a toastie built like a door stop, yes please!
Situated in the quite leafy surburb of West Melbourne, you wouldn’t expect to find this small but delightful cafe, serving the tastiest toasties in the city. In my opinion, if this cafe was in a busier suburb, or in the city, there would be queues outside for miles. However, luckily for us, the cafe is in a quiet area of Melbourne, so although it does get a little busy, it isn’t too hard to come and find a seat straight away.
Toasta & Co does sell the usual cafe foods, but trust me, you would be making a huge mistake to not order one of their signature toasties. Toasta & Co also has a food truck to keep an eye out for, which is usually touring the city or popping up at festival around Victoria.
Recommendation – ANY TOASTIE. $9 Jane Toastie (signature three cheese blend)
Shanghai Street Dumpling
342 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD
The sheer popularity of this place is proven from the constant queues outside the door. Don’t worry though, due to the casual ‘quick bite to eat’ nature of Shanghai Street Dumpling, it won’t be long before you’re tucking into some delicious steamed/fried balls of heaven.
There’s all kinds of dumpling goodness on offer on their extensive menu. Fried, steamed, chicken and prawn, pork, crab, dumplings served in soup, dumplings served without soup, you name it, they serve it. The great thing about Shanghai Street Dumpling is that they could easily charge higher prices, which many would pay. The fact they keep their prices low, keeps the patrons coming back for more, and word of mouth bringing the flocks of first timers in.
Although the main draw of the dumpling house is, of course, dumplings, there are many other dishes to choose from on the menu. The noodles are also incredibly popular. If you’re feeling like pushing the boat out, why not even get dumplings and noodles! However, if it’s a quick, cheap bite to eat that you’re after, the dumplings will certainly do the trick.
Recommended – $10.80 Shanghai XiaoLongBao (Pork) – 8 Pieces
Check out my Insider’s Guide to Melbourne for a comprehensive guide to the city.
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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments section.
Have you been to Melbourne before? Where were your favourite cheap eats? Heading to the city in the future? Will you try any of these best cheap eats in Melbourne?