Whilst not as pricey as its flashier, sunnier northern rival, Melbourne is still Australia’s second most expensive place to live as witnessed by its rising house prices that are closing in on Sydney’s. Still, Melbourne’s reputation as a top destination for international students combined with its grungy inner city neighbourhoods that teem with broke artists, cash poor students and creative types who’d rather spend their money on festivals and live music over expensive, pretentious food has driven some standouts in the cheap eats category. Here’s just a few that have caught the True Local teams’ eye.
376 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC
- Cheapest Food: $4 Gourmet Pizzas
A Melbourne institution that’s heaving with students, backpackers, tourists and locals who are all after a cheap meal and good time, Bimbo Deluxe delivers upon all those needs in its charmingly rustic building on busy Brunswick Street. Featuring a rooftop bar perfect for lazy summer evenings and an extensive if somewhat dimly lit downstairs floor for when Melbourne’s notorious weather isn’t behaving itself, Bimbo’s is perhaps best known for its delicious $4 gourmet pizzas – available Monday-Friday 12-4 PM, 7-11 PM, Saturday 7-9 PM and all day Sunday!
“Went for the $4 pizza, stayed longer than intended because… the $4 pizza was actually pretty good and the place was nice and comfortable and chilled” – livvie
2 Acland Street, St Kilda VIC
- Cheapest Food: Chili Spiced Fries $6
Serving up delicious Texan cuisine with Mexican influences on St Kilda’s busy Acland Street is Cantina – a restaurant/bar hidden underneath the iconic Prince of Wales pub. Whilst Cantina’s interior is fitted out in luxe polished wood and plush leather booths, its menu is actually pretty reasonably priced for St Kilda! Top menu choices include Guacamole with Chips for $9.00, Tacos from $7.00, filling Mexi-Burgers for $16.00 and a side of Chilli Spiced Fries for $6.00. For those after a tipple, your choices range from Classic Margarita’s at $16.00 to Dr. Coconut (coconut tequila, lime & popcorn syrup) for $35.00.
“Had dinner here last night and the food was amazing! I had the tacos and enchilada, they were too good I couldn’t event wait to take a photo. The cocktails were yum too! Will definitely be returning” – Suz
107 Ormond Road, Elwood VIC
- Cheapest Food: Herb Drummies $2.90
With four locations across Metro Melbourne, Foxes Den serves up delicious roasted free range chicken, alongside salads, curries, soups and other sweet treats – consider it to be a fancy, healthier version of your classic suburban chicken shop! Even better, their prices are very low making it a top choice for those living on a tight budget. Feeling hungry? Why not try their Moroccan Chicken ($10.90 for half a chicken), Medium Salad for $6.50 or a spicy North African Chicken Curry for $12.90.
“Foxes Den has several locations now serving a menu of “Clean Eating” for better health and tasty fare. Foxes Den offers organic free-range chicken and fabulous salads. Best of all, you can try more than one dish without ordering a whole new meal! Staff is friendly and upbeat and the decor is modern and breezy” – starwoman8
486 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill VIC
- Cheapest Food: Dench Bakery Organic Sourdough Bread $7
Sitting in a charming mid-20th century building that was once a retail store, Mixed Business is nowadays a cosy neighbourhood café serving up cheap eats for the locals in its funky interior – that features white washed walls, earthy wooden furniture and a lovely seating area to its side. Top treats worth trying include their Black Rice Pudding ($14.00), filling Burrito Bowls ($16.00) and Spanish Baked Eggs ($18.00).
“Very cosy caf with a great menu. Slightly different things on offer to the usual fare, very fresh and healthy with great customer service. A place that you want to go back to just to try everything on the menu. #reviewtowin” – lwalshy
285 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC
Cheapest Food: Tapas $9
On top of an old building on a busy street in the heart of Melbourne’s hipster inner north lies the wonderfully named Naked in the Sky – a bar with a fine view that also offers up weekly cheap eats specials for grateful students from across the district! Whilst on regular nights Naked in the Sky and its sister (downstairs) venue Naked for Satan wouldn’t normally be considered “affordable” by any stretch of the imagination, if you are in the area between 12-4 PM Monday to Friday or Sunday nights after 5 PM, you can enjoy $9.00 Tapas, Sweets and Conservas while enjoying the skyline in the distance.
“Great rooftop bar in Winter or Summer. Food is not to my taste and there are better places to eat close by but for drinks or even just a coffee, this is a good place to spend time. Large choice of cocktails and other beverages” – mindabarley