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Adelaide has a wide range of cafes and restaurants where you can find cuisines from all around the world, and some terrific cheap eats and lunch specials. But once your stomach starts rumbling it can be too late to make a rational choice, and the wafting aroma of a curry or barbequed meat on the breeze can sometimes result in a hasty decision.
Of course there are always the ever popular places like Chinatown's Market Plaza Food Court and the cavernous Food Plaza where you can get cheap and cheerful Asian food, although I do find the atmosphere overwhelming and soulless when they are busy. Hawker's Corner was another traditional Asian food place in a similar vein, although it is now mainly open for dinner.
Newer food courts in the city centre such as at Rundle Place, Renaissance Centre, City Cross and the Southern Cross Arcade all compete for a fairly similar lunch market and offer a variety of international cuisines.
While I rave about Fork on the Road and its fantastic range of food trucks in Adelaide it is fair to say that many of them are better known for the fantastic freshly cooked food than for cheap prices. Some sit around the $10 mark, but many have crept north of that benchmark now. Check out the popular Chimichurri Grill for some awesomely tasty food that costs exactly ten bucks and has some vego options too. And Wienerbago is recommended for well priced and good quality German food.
Surprisingly some of the most highly recommended Asian food is not to be found in Chinatown, and Ricky's Kitchen seems to have something of a cult following, and not just from our own foodie writer Yin-Yin.
While you may have to wait a short while due to the popularity of Ricky's food in Southern Cross Arcade, their electronic ticket system ensures you don't lose your place in the queue. But you can watch Ricky at work in the kitchen and drool at the prospect of getting your under $10 gourmet meal.
Warong Warong can be found in 77, the new food court in Rundle Place. It may be a strange name for a food court but they do have a large variety of food available, and Warong comes well recommended for Asian food from Malaysia and Indonesia.
You can get a variety of combinations for around $10, and the new 77 food hall has a nicer atmosphere than some places in Chinatown.
Clay and Coal on Goodwood Road
Lunch Specials at Clay and Coal Clay and Coal on Goodwood Road at Cumberland Park is one of many restaurants in the city and suburbs that offer lunch specials for their customers. In fact if you're travelling on a budget anywhere in the world it's good to remember that lunch prices are nearly always cheaper than dinner.
Le Carpe Diem
French food is rarely considered to be cheap eats, But creperie Le Carpe Diem is a small friendly place in the East End that delivers delectable food at modest prices - and there are a still few crepes available for under $10. The food is so yummy that you will probably do something to your waistline if you're a regular but hey - c'est la vie!
Le Carpe Diem are so busy they haven't done anything to their website or created a Facebook page, so if you want to check out their menu you will just have to leg it down to the East End like I did.
Panacea is Your Fix for Cheap Eats
When I last had lunch with a friend at Panacea on Halifax Street we were too busy enjoying the tapas to even contemplate the pizza, but after seeing one of their pizzas I was very impressed. The menu includes vegetarian and vegan options.
Offering traditional East European food such as chevapis ($1 each), meat patties, sausage and steak, you can fill your stomach very quickly for around $10. I still haven't got there on a Saturday to try their roast lamb on the spit, but it's on my things to do list.
The Grill House Cafe also offers tasty East European food including bureks, but the range under $10 is a little smaller. Try the lamb roast for $12 - do you think that it tastes better than your mum's?
Ikea Ikea have a great selection of budget priced meals on their menu, but you need to know one thing before going: the restaurant may be conveniently located a minute's walk from the entrance, but make sure you eat well because it's going to take you ten times as long to get out!
After walking like I was in the city bay fun run and circumnavigating clumps of confused shoppers, I eventually emerged into daylight. Fortunately there are arrows on the floor to guide you out, otherwise I might still be there.
With a choice of ten mouth watering $10 restaurant quality meals on the menu (including vegetarian and gluten free), how can you go past this place? They are available seven days a week for lunch and dinner, with a huge range of options - for example there are 3 schnitzel varieties with your pick of 7 sauces.
The Prince Albert
A little further south the Prince Albert Hotel on Wright Street. It's a classic old pub with a beautifully renovated interior - and a $10 cheap eats lunch menu from Monday to Friday, again with a vego and gluten free option.
Samtass Seafoods BBQ
I'm going to stray away from pubs briefly because I have just discovered this fantastic place for lovers of fresh seafood. A short distance from the city Samtass Seafoods have been treating hordes of locals to bargain BBQ's for ages, but they forgot to tell the rest of us!
The seafood wraps cost $12, or just $8 for half. Treat yourself to a cup of tender salt & pepper squid (with salad and chips) for just $7, or take a box for $10. It's all way cheaper than you can find anywhere else, and you can't get fish much fresher.
Samtass are currently offering a dozen freshly opened South Australian oysters, lemon wedges, buttered bread roll, choice of sauces and condiment for $14.99.
Grand Junction Hotel
We can't forget the northern suburbs and The Grand Junction Tavern does us proud there with $5 schnitzels, all day, every day. They even come with a salad so you know you're eating healthy.
Grace The Establishment
The eastern suburbs aren't traditionally known for bargain basement prices, but the Grace does try. On a Sunday you can get a Grace burger with a side serve of fries from 4pm, while at other times there's a choice of four different buns at $9.50 each - pork, tempura soft shell crab, zucchini pakora, or a mini Grace burger.
It may not be long before a competitor takes this space... let us know if you find better value.
Other Metro Pubs
Are none of these places close? Then check out this article on cheap pub meals in the suburbs, there should be something within cooee of you.
Anyone who loves a great hot dog (like me) may be interested in a newcomer to the hot dog scene- Haddo's Hot Dogs. I tried one at the Gilles St Markets and they were amazing. The homemade creamy sauce and jalapenos sprinkled over a double smoked pork sausage was so delicious. I'm following their Facebook page for their next appearance. Highly recommended!!
Some interesting sounding places Dave. My experience of Schnitzels in SA is that they are big enough for two, which halves the already cheap price. Regarding Le Carpe Diem, $15.50 for a dessert crepe (according to your photo) is not my idea of a cheap eat. For $14 you can get a dessert at Fino in Willunga, one of Gourmet Traveller's best regional restaurants in SA.
I read your article a couple days ago and was excited to try the weekend all-you-can-eat breakfast. Dragged my boyfriend out of bed this morning and got there to find it was not open til 11:30 and no breakfast was even offered. Very disappointed I was mislead by this article and would suggest editing that section out.