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Top 12 Tasty Cheap Eats in Adelaide

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au/
Published May 16th 2014
Newly updated in 2014
Top 12 Tasty Cheap Eats In Adelaide

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, burger
A Ten Dollar Burger from The Edinburgh Castle


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.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, in adelaide
Chinatown in Adelaide's CBD


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.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, hawkers corner
Hawkers Corner on West Terrace in Adelaide


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.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, chimichurri grill
Chimichurri Grill - A Queue is a Good Sign


But where can you find cheap eats that are tasty AND at a good price? I've aimed to keep prices under $10, although if it's exceptional value I've gone a bit higher in this article.

To find out where, read on!
And don't forget, if you know somewhere really special, leave us a tip in the comments.

Asian Food

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, kitchen
Chef Ricky in His Kitchen


Rickys Kitchen
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.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, bbq
BBQ Pork with Red and Green Dipping Sauce


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.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, counter
Smiling Service at the Warong Counter


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.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, laksa
Laksa from Warong


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.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, clay and coal
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.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, clay and coal
Lunch Specials at Clay and Coal


Clay and Coal's lunch specials give you a take away curry with rice and vegetables for under $8, or you can dine in for under ten bucks from Wednesday to Saturday. Now that really is cheap eats!

Of course lunch specials are not confined to Asian food places - keep your eyes peeled for them around the city and suburbs.

Restaurants with Cheap Eats

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials,carpe diem
The Friendly Staff at Le Carpe Diem Are Often Busy


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!

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, pastries
Pastries Anyone?


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.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, panacea in adelaide
Panacea is Your Fix for Cheap Eats


Panacea
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.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, pizza
Panacea Pizza


The best thing is that Panacea's range of eleven gourmet pizzas (and the sangria) are half price between 12-6pm from Monday to Thursday if you dine in!

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, freshly made
Freshly Made While You Wait


I found the service great and the atmosphere in the rear courtyard was pleasant and shielded from the weather - excellent value for a little over $10.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, burek lounge
Eating at the Burek Lounge


Burek Lounge
The Burek Lounge is another of my old favourites because it is just such good value - but forget it if you are a vegetarian.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, chevapis
A $5 Serve of 5 Chevapis


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?

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, ikea
Ikea Cafeteria Entrance


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!

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, ikea
In Adelaide's Ikea Cafeteria


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.

Cheap Eats at City Pubs

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, edinburgh castle
The Edinburgh Castle


I like to escape the city centre when I go to a pub in Adelaide - the pubs in the West End are always friendlier and often better value so a short walk is well rewarded.

The Edinburgh Castle
The Ed on Currie Street will be well known to many of you for its popular live music nights, but it also offers one of the best $10 food menus in South Australia.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, porterhouse
Porterhouse Steak at The Ed


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.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, squid
Salt and Pepper Squid at The Ed


Even the fussiest foodie should be happy. Now will I have the Philly cheese steak or the salt and pepper squid?

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, front bar
The Prince Albert Front Bar Has Been Beautifully Renovated


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.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, schnitzel
The $10 Prince Albert Schnitzel


Since we last checked their $10 meal range has reduced in size, but they still aren't overly expensive.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, beer battered fish
Beer Battered Fish at the PA


Check the PA's website for info about specials like $10 T-bones, and for more about their live music.

Other City Pubs
If you can't make it to either of these great pubs then check out his article about Adelaide's cheapest pub meals and this one about pubs in the South West corner of Adelaide.

Places in the Suburbs

Just because you live in the suburbs doesn't mean that you have to pay through the nose for good food.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, mixed seafood
A Mixed Seafood Box for $10


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!

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, salt and pepper squid
A Box of Salt and Pepper Squid for Ten Dollars


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.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, seafood wraps
Yummy Seafood Wraps for $12


The barbeques run Wednesday to Sunday from November to end of April, and Wednesday to Saturday from May till the end October. Find out more here.

cafe, restaurant, adelaide, cheap eats, curry, asian food, chinatown, pubs, lunch specials, fresh oysters
A Dozen Fresh Oysters for $15


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.
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Why? Get the best value food in town
When: Anytime
Where: Adelaide, SA
Cost: Mostly $10 and under
Your Comment
Great list; you've given a whole variety to suit everyone's tastes.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|11366) 1455 days ago
Thanks so much for this!!!
by aisha (score: 1|10) 1291 days ago
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!!
by onie5 (score: 0|9) 1181 days ago
You might like to check out Sumac Cafe on Goodwood Road. Fantastic and very affordable menu - mainly do breakfasts and lunches, Definitely worth a try!
by susan (score: 0|8) 1189 days ago
Looks like you have been eating all across Adelaide Dave. Lots of thought and effort into this article with a few suggestions that has got me quite excited
by Yin-Yin Ow (score: 3|1589) 1453 days ago
Yum! Love Chinatown, especially Dumpling King. Cheap and so delicious
by Paula McManus (score: 3|2590) 1454 days ago
I wish I lived in Adelaide!
by Jeni Wilson (score: 3|1791) 1406 days ago
Yum yum yum! What a great article, Dave! You've made me really hungry for some good food now!
by Tema (score: 2|721) 1352 days ago
you must have been working on this one all year Dave!
by glenop (score: 2|823) 1455 days ago
Can you please add addresses to anything you write about from cafe to market to event. Make it simple to find.
by selki (score: 1|12) 1164 days ago
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.

Thanks for all your articles
by Gill Oscar (score: 1|62) 1216 days ago
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.
by k-mal (score: 0|5) 1226 days ago
I'd really like to try one of those drooley cheap snitters....but I don't think I could manage another crumb!
by koj77 (score: 2|151) 1455 days ago
All you can eat breakfast sounds amazing! Thanks Dave, will definitely try it
by Bonnie McBride (score: 1|92) 1452 days ago
Definitely go and try out the new opened japanese fusion cafe on 81 franklin street 5000.
Very unique menu for lunch and breakfast in a very reasonable price! Worth to go and have a try
by Sunny (score: 0|7) 1012 days ago
I can't believe you omitted East End Yiros!
by yizho (score: 1|18) 1176 days ago
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