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Cheap Eats in Melbourne CBD – Top 12 Under $12

Home > Melbourne > Cafes | Cheap | Frugal Friday | Lunch | Restaurants | Lists
by Joy (subscribe)
“Creativity Is Intelligence Having Fun.” – Albert Einstein
Published June 5th 2016
Yummy meals for less than $12
Grill'd (Image by Alpha via Wikimedia Commons)

A huge melting pot of cultures and cuisines from all corners of the world, Melbourne boasts a wide array of diverse cheap eats which will sate your hunger without burning a hole in your wallet. We have compiled a list of some of the tastiest treats in Melbourne CBD for under $12 that are sure to keep your tummy and wallet happy. This list has not be organised in any particular order.

1. Baget – Head to Baget for the ultimate Vietnamese lunch. Treat your senses to a delectable vermicelli bowl with your choice of meat or tofu for only $10 or a sensational baguette for only $8. Gluten free and vegetarian options are available. The premium quality fresh ingredients will transport you to foodie heaven. And the serving sizes are generous. Elevate your experience with extra chilli and fried onion at no additional charge. You can visit them at either 132 Russell Street, CBD or 359 Elizabeth Street, CBD.

Vermicelli bowl

2. De Mad Hatter – Quirkily named, De Mad Hatter is good choice for fulsome and flavoursome lunch. For $10 you can takeaway an enormous combo of 3 hot and/or cold dishes. They rotate the dishes so there is usually something new every day. Sandwiches and wraps can also be purchased for less than $12. Open for lunch only, De Mad Hatter awaits you at 747 Collins Street, Docklands.

3. Guzman y Gomez – Mexican fare is soul food and Guzman y Gomez is a coveted destination for lip-smacking Mexican. We recommend their delightful nachos for $12. The huge serving size and the unholy union of melted Jack cheese, salsa, guacamole, chicken, beans and salad on crispy corn chips will deliver a mouth-watering experience. You can also sample burritos for $11.50 or 3 tacos for $11.50. Click here to find out more about their locations.

4. El Coco – El Coco is situated at 550 Little Collins Street, CBD. The biggest draw card of this restaurant is the $6 all day everyday pizzas. For only $6 you can satiate your hunger with appetising margarita, veggie, Mediterranean, slow-roasted lamb, nutella pizzas. You can also enjoy a salad for $12. El Coco serves lunch and dinner.

Margarita pizza

5. New Shanghai – One of the prominent members of the Emporium Melbourne's food court, New Shanghai will more than adequately satisfy your dumpling cravings. Offering Shanghai-style cuisine and good service in an elegant atmosphere, New Shanghai will fill your tummy and not break your bank. Starting from $8.60, you can enjoy beautifully crafted xiao long bao, pan fried crab meat & pork buns, pork and chive dumplings and many more. New Shanghai is open all week for lunch and dinner. Discover more details by going here.

New Shanghai dumplings

6. Earl Canteen – Earl Canteen entices patrons with a delicious array of sandwiches and salads. Open for breakfast and lunch, you can sink your teeth into an amazing chicken, bacon and avocado sandwich for $9.50, a meatball smash sandwich for $11.50 or a grilled eggplant sandwich for $11. The fresh ingredients will fill your mind, body and soul with elation. Earl Canteen has numerous branches in Melbourne CBD and offers vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian options. Click here to learn more.

7. Grill'd – Grill'd burgers are sizzling, sassy and sumptuous. The decadent range of burgers will leave you spoilt for options. Take your pick from zen hen chicken burger ($11.50), veggie burger ($11.50) or simply Grill'd beef burger ($9.90). You can nominate your bun to be panini or traditional or even gluten free or low carb superbun. Gluten free or low carb costs $1.50 extra. The huge burgers are filling and soul-pleasing. Go here to find your nearest Grill'd.

Grill'd (Image by Alpha via Wikimedia Commons)

8. Bratwurst Shop & Co – Located inside the Deli Hall of the Queen Victoria market, the Bratwiurst Shop is open for lunch. Imagine grilled bratwurst (a type of fine German pork sausage) served in a white or wholemeal roll layered with anything from cheese to chicken & mushroom, from grilled onion to your choice of sauce, relish or sauerkraut. Normal sausages pale next to the chunky and yummy bratwurst. Starting from $8.40, the bratwurst is a fabulous experience which must not be missed.

Image by cyclonebill via Wikimedia Commons

9. Nando's – Nando's is arguably a chicken lover's paradise and has you covered for both lunch and dinner. Delicious organic chicken, yummy couscous and scrummy burgers and wraps seduce tastebuds and nostrils. We recommend their supremo chicken burger for $9.95 or half chicken for $11.95 or thighs & slaw pita for $11.95. Nando's stores are dotted all over Melbourne. Click here to find your nearest Nando's.

10. Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafι – Purple Peanuts is the go-to place for tasty Japanese fare. You can't go wrong with a prawn burger for $10.90 or Tsuke Don for $11.90 or a veggie salad for $10.90. For a measly $2.90 you can savour a hearty miso soup. Conveniently located at 620 Collins Street, CBD right across from the Southern Cross railway station, Purple Peanuts is hard to miss. Both lunch and dinner can be had at Purple Peanuts.

11. Mamak
– If you are pining for aromatic Malaysian cuisine then Mamak will appeal to your tastebuds and wallet. You can feast on roti canai ($7), roti telur bawang ($8.50),nasi lemak ($10.50) and many more. You can add meat or fish to your nasi lemak for abit extra. Mamak can be found at 366 Lonsdale Street, CBD, Melbourne and is open for lunch and dinner.

12. Rice Workshop – Rice Workshop is great for grabbing a quick and tasty bite. We recommend their yummy Salmon Kaarage ($9.90). The salmon bites are marinated in sauce, lightly fried and served with spicy mayo on rice. You can swap the spicy mayo for normal mayo and teriyaki sauce. A ramen (egg noodles) will set you back $9.50 while udon (wheat noodles) can be enjoyed from $8.90. You can even create your own flavour. Visit their website to learn more.

Do you have a favourite cheap eat in Melbourne? Please feel free to share with our readers.

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Why? To sample cheap and tasty food
When: Lunch and dinner
Where: Spread all over Melbourne CBD
Cost: Less than $12
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