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The Best Cheap Eats in Melbourne for a Frugal Food Fix

For delicious food without the hefty price tag, be sure to try these purse-friendly cheap eats in Melbourne.

New Jaffa
New Jaffa

Are your fine dining tastes starting to take their toll on your savings? Never fear. Savvy Melburnians know that some of the best eats in this city are also some of the cheapest (and most cheerful). Whether it’s juicy handmade dumplings or piping hot oven-roasted pizzas, these are the best cheap eats in Melbourne serving up delicious food that won’t break the bank.

The Orrong Hotel

Having recently undergone a beautiful refurbishment, Armadale's The Orrong Hotel is plating up purse-friendly pub lunches throughout winter. Available Monday to Friday, frugal foodies can choose one of six counter meals, inclusive of a glass of house wine or pot of Furphy for just $20. Snag a seat by the cosy open fire and tuck into gastro takes on classics, including panko-crusted chicken schnitzel, beer battered or grilled King George whiting and their signature Angus beef burger with smoked bacon and double cheese.

709 High Street, Armadale

Shanghai Village

A cheap and cheerful Melbourne institution, Shanghai Village has hungry hoards queuing up outside its iconic red lacquered doors at all hours. The chief domain of dumpling fans, here you’ll happily leave with change from your $20 after indulging in what’s sure to be a boisterous meal. While it might be low on frills, Shanghai Village more than makes up for it in both taste and atmosphere.

112 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Laksa King

The original Laksa King in Flemington is a Melbourne institution, and it’s the recommendation that many share when asked where the city's best laksa is served on the cheap. The same recipe is used in the shiny outpost in Glen Waverley, where day and night you'll see an endless rotation of hungry diners dropping in for bowls for their spice-rich, coconut-creamy noodle soup. However, there's more to this diner than just the namesake dish, with plenty of other Malaysian and Singaporean favourites you'd be remiss to not try here, from fragrant Hainanese chicken rice to punchy sambal seafood stir-fries.

6-12 Pin Oak Cres, Flemington

3/39 51 Kingsway, Glen Waverley

Göz City

A simple and tasty offering of traditional Turkish fare, Göz City is renowned for its fresh authentic lunches and delicious coffee. From Gozleme and Borek to healthier bites with a Turkish twist, this bustling café is perfect for lunch on the go or a quick midday break when you’re a little stretched for cash.

502 Little Collins St, Melbourne

Delhi Streets

This bright CBD eatery dishes up a serving of nostalgia with vintage Bollywood posters on the walls and addictive street food snacks that’ll transport you straight to a bustling Delhi market. Start with their signature pani puri – crispy lentil balls stuffed with potatoes, chickpeas and tamarind chutney – into which you pour spiced water before popping in your mouth for a burst of freshness. From there, load up on fusion naan pizzas or steer traditional with dosas, biryani and tandoor cooked meats.

22 Katherine Place, Melbourne

New Jaffa

If you're thinking of eating at New Jaffa, be prepared to sit elbow-to-elbow with new friends, given two large communal tables dominate the front room, while chowing down on some of the best cheap eats in Melbourne. There'll be plenty to bond over, however, with the kitchen's moreish Middle Eastern cuisine sure to elicit mutually appreciative sighs of delight and appreciation. Silky bowls of hummus, meat-filled pitas and the eatery’s famous Tunisian fricassee sandwich, along with a budget-friendly price point, have won New Jaffa fans from every corner of the city.

32 Stanley Street, Collingwood

Wild Life Bakery

Those serious about their bread and budget will find a cost-smart haven at Wild Life, where the team makes 24 hour-fermented sourdough and experimental breads alongside some of the best pastries in the north. Inside the wide minimalist café set up inside a former mechanic's shop you can watch bakers at work while drinking Market Lane coffee and eating next-level toasties, for one of the best cheap eats in Melbourne.

90 Albert Street, Brunswick East

Butcher's Diner

This late-night butcher-cum-café joint on Bourke Street is always packed full of hungry revellers hankering for some of the best cheap eats in Melbourne. The space is reminiscent of a ’50s American diner with checkboard tiles on the floor, a long communal bench and a shiny meat cabinet. If it’s full of saturated fat and made of meat, it’s on the menu: blood sausage and devilled egg rolls, offal ‘yakitori style’ or cheeseburgers with house bacon, pickles and mayo.

10 Bourke Street, Melbourne

La Tortilleria
La Tortilleria
La Tortilleria

This pocket-rocket diner is just the place to kick back and enjoy traditional Mexican fare. The team is devoted to making tortillas from scratch so don’t expect your standard Tex-Mex here. Standouts include pork al pastor with pineapple-habanero salsa, slow-cooked beef cheeks with green tomatillo salsa or refried beans with crispy rice, and, of course, the quesadillas, tostadas and tacos draw a crowd.

72 Stubbs Street, Kensington

A1 Bakery
A1 Bakery
A1 Bakery

A local institution, crowds have been flocking to Brunswick’s A1 for over 25 years to pick up fresh out-of-the-oven Lebanese baked goods. Open seven days a week from 7 am, you can get your hands on the house-made flatbread scattered with za'atar, pillowy halloumi-filled pies and juicy chicken tawouk wraps overflowing with crunchy pickles and garlic sauce pretty much whenever you want. Best of all, A1’s famously creamy dips also come in take-home packs.

643- 645 Sydney Road, Brunswick

Andrew's Hamburgers
Andrew's Hamburgers
Andrew’s Hamburgers

What started as a humble burger joint in leafy Albert Park back in 1939 has since turned into one of the city’s most-talked-about hotspots, and arguably, serves up some of the best cheap eats in Melbourne. The eatery is now a spacious, sleek CBD diner with booths, neon lighting and minimalistic white tiling. Forget gourmet toppings and fancy brioche buns – Andrew’s is all about good, honest burgers. The Andrew’s Burger comes with egg, bacon, double cheese, tomato and grilled onions – burger traditionalists rejoice. Whenever you’re in the mood for an old-school burger (hopefully that’s between 11 am to 9 pm!), it’s got to be one from Andrew’s...

144 Bridport Street, Melbourne

Heartattack and Vine

A sophisticated Carlton wine bar that is easy on the wallet, Melbourne’s Heartattack and Vine offers something a little different to your stock standard cheap eats in Melbourne. Alongside an impressive drinks list, this charming eatery serves an ever-changing roster of cicchetti, Italian-style snacks inspired by the bars of Venice. Expect the likes of tomato-drenched meatballs, pickled veggies and loaded crostini. Indulge in delectable eats from breakfast into the evening, Heartattack and Vine’s old-world Italian hospitality and cosy ambience will have you feeling like you are dining in Rome.

329 Lygon Street, Carlton

Mr Ramen San

When you’re after a warm hug in a bowl, this cult Melbourne cheap-eat spot is hidden inside a Bourke Street arcade. Mr Ramen San may be easy to miss but it always impresses with some of the best soup this side of Tokyo. With noodles made onsite daily and the eatery’s signature meat stewed for hours to achieve that melt-in-your-mouth sweetness, you’ll really have no problem ordering anything off the menu.

Shop 12A/200 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Looking for more of the best cheap eats in Melbourne? From pizza and burgers to healthy snacks and theatrical cakes, there are so many cheap eats in Melbourne to try!