City workers and students have debated long and hotly about where to go for a cheap meal in the Adelaide square mile.
We're talking a proper meal here, not a bowl of chips or a spring roll. Something satisfying that can (if necessary) be washed down with a refreshing beer or a glass of red. Ideally somewhere that the irritating jangle of poker machines doesn't drill deeply into your nerves.
It doesn't seem that long ago that you could pick up some bangers and mash for a couple of bucks, but what really is the story now?
The Adelaide Uni Bar has long been one of my favourites and is probably one of the best value places in Adelaide. Lunches are all $10 or under every day, and dinners (Thurs and Fri only) also average $10 for old favourites like schnitzels, parmagiana, or salt and pepper squid. I think my budget would manage a beer with one of those too.
Hot on the heels of the Uni Bar is the Arab Steed Hotel, on trendy Hutt St. Perhaps a bit far for Uni students to stumble at lunchtime, but some might think that a benefit. The Steed have a $10 lunchtime menu with a choice of seven meals including a club sandwich: a triple layer with bacon, egg, cheese, lettuce & tomato with chips. Sounds like an awesome late breakfast to enjoy while people watching from the alfresco outdoor dining area. And you can make the most of their wifi hotspot to do a bit of surfing when you're finished. All good.
Another great option is the conveniently situated Mansions, on Pulteney St. It may not have the ambience of some other venues, but they sure make up with their innovative choice of 12 lunchtime specials at $10 each. Selections like Panko Crumbed Prawns, Lasagne (beef or vegetarian) and my favourite Mmmmmoroccan Chicken are enough to make me start drooling right now.
The Rob Roy Hotel on Halifax St deserves a special mention. While their lunch specials (burgers, schnitzels and pizza) aren't under $10 every day, they do have the best selection of whiskies in Adelaide bar none. Take the time to read or download their unique whisky menu and enjoy a wee dram. Do not dare to ask the bar staff to pollute it with Coke though!
The Astor on Pulteney St offers some good prices for workers at the southern end of the city - for $10 you can have salt and pepper squid on Mondays or beef/chicken schnitzels on Fridays. On Thursdays you can keep warm with a nice hot curry, or you can even get change from your $10 with a tasty pita wrap. Enjoy the view and have it outside if it's a sunny day.
The Duke of York on Currie St is only a short walk from the city centre, but offers a haven from the hustle and bustle. They have a good range of pizzas all under $10, and maybe you can enjoy a bit of live music afterwards if you go in the evening.
A final special mention is for the exceptionally budget minded. It does break the rule by being outside the square mile, but not by far. The Orient Hotel on Magill Rd, in Norwood has a Sunday special - T-bone steak for $5 after 6pm. Now that is great value!
So have I missed your favourite spot? Know somewhere cheaper in the square mile? Let us know in the comments below.
I know this one is out of the city limit
but only 10 mins drive from the centre and if your'e down that way good to drop in. its called Challa Gardens & they put on lunch soup hot and cold veg / salad bar inclusive for $8.95 great value. They do have pokies but the dinning room is quite spacious and off to the side and that is by choice.
I reckon the Whitmore Hotel is great value. They do a great salt n peppa squid for $10, imperial pints of Guinness for $7.50 and pints of Coopers Sparkling for $7.50. Snitzels, salad and beer batered chips for $13.90 ($10 on Weds)
The Hampshire Hotel at 110 Grote Street has re-opened after being closed for 3 years due to mistreatment. Now the ol' girl is back! And we have fantastic tasting meals cooked by our wonderful cooks. Bonus is that EVERY meal is UNDER $20!!!!