Although Canberra is getting more and more renowned for its "hatted" restaurants and extensive range of eateries, sometimes you just want a cheap and cheerful meal before going to the movies, catching up with friends or going to watch a show at the Canberra Theatre. It doesn't have to be fancy - just filling! The following are 10 cheap ideas to get you started when deciding where to go for dinner around the city. You can enjoy any of these on your own, with friends or with the kids - there should be something on this list for everyone. If you have a favourite that's not mentioned, feel free to leave a comment to the bottom of this article and share your discovery.
1/ Beach Burrito Company is a colourful Mexican restaurant located in Garema Place, which has taco and meal deals on most evenings throughout the week. At the time of writing they offer $15 meals all day on Mondays, $3 tacos on Tuesday nights, All Day Happy Hour & Kids Eat Free on Wednesdays and Thursday nights is Tacos & a Tinnie for $10. Beach Burrito is open until 10pm nightly. See here for details.
2/ The Canberra Centre Food Court is located on the lower ground floor of the shopping centre, with access from both Bunda Street and City Walk. Friday nights is late-night shopping in Canberra and the Food Court is open until 9pm for dinner. Here you can find the usual food court options and the popular Hokka Hokka, which has tasty Malaysian and Asian cuisines at affordable prices. If you like a bit of spice in your Laksa, then order a bowl and prepare yourself for a taste that will blow your taste buds apart! Ranging between $11.90 - $14.90, it's a cheap dinner option to eat by yourself, or with friends. See here for details.
Hokka Hokka Combination Laksa ($14.90) at Canberra Centre Food Court
3/ Guild Board Game Restaurant can be found downstairs in Bailey's Arcade, on London Circuit. If you visit on Tuesday nights, they offer "2 for 1" pizzas - and as it gets so busy, it is recommended that you book ahead. The following night they also offer $12 Chicken Schnitzel meals, which are juicy and delicious (see photo below). Whilst there, why not spend just $3 each for game hire and then play board games until closing time - which is approximately 10pm each night. See here for details. For a full article on Guild, see here.
Wednesday night $12 Chicken Schnitzels at Guild Board Game Restaurant. Image: Guild Facebook
4/ iPho is a small Vietnamese restaurant and takeaway outlet located in Garema Place. They offer Vietnamese street food meals on their menu, including their famous Pho which is "8 hours of slow cooked beef, broth with spices, cardamom, cinnamon and star anise, served with succulent rice noodles, crispy fresh bean sprouts, basil and lemon wedges" ($12 - $13 each). iPho is open until 10pm each night and 3pm on Sundays. See here for details.
5/ Spud Bar is a popular takeaway shop in Garema Place, just next door to iPho, above. This little shop also has indoor and outdoor tables, so you can dine in and take your time. There is a range of healthy options on the menu, or you can pick either a jacket potato or sweet potato and then choose your own fillings to put on top. This meal is guaranteed to fill you up, with all meals less than $14.90. Spud Bar is open until 7pm - 8pm each night and 3pm on Sundays. See here for details.
Tuna and Avocado Spud ($12.50) from Spud Bar, Garema Place
6/ Hero Sushi Train is located in the North Quarter restaurant precinct of the Canberra Centre. Most of the plates on the sushi train are just $3, so as long as you keep track of how many plates you take off the conveyor belt, you won't spend too much. Be warned though, it is easy to stay and keep wanting more! Hero Sushi Train is open until 9pm nightly. See here for details. For a full article on Hero Sushi Train, see here.
7/ Sammy's Kitchen can also be found in the North Quarter restaurant precinct of the Canberra Centre, just a short walk from Hero Sushi Train above. It is also conveniently located underneath Dendy Cinema, so you can have dinner before a movie. Prices range between $15 - $22 for a dish to share. If you are short on time never fear - as the sizzling meals arrive quickly and you can be in and out within 45 minutes, depending on how long you want to linger! Sammy's Kitchen closes between 10pm - 11pm nightly. See here for details. For a full article on Sammy's Kitchen, see here.
Share a delicious Chinese or Malaysian dish with rice, at Sammy's Kitchen, Bunda Street. (Sammy's Kitchen Special - $18)
8/ The Hamlet is a collection of food trucks, located on Lonsdale Street in Braddon. Here you can find several great choices at "cheap eats" prices, with Mr Pappa, 10 Inch Custom Pizzeria, Spit Shack, Soul Cartel CBR and more. The Hamlet is a temporary food truck space - so get in there for your "cheap eats" while you still can! The Hamlet is open until 9pm each night, except for Sundays when they close at 3pm (however individual trucks may vary). See here for details. For a full article on The Hamlet, see here.
9/ Burger Hero is located in Mort Street and offers a standard price $12 for a burger, or $9 for smaller burgers for the kids. Choose your meat, salads and sauce and if you want to add chips and a can of soft drink on the side it is an extra $4.50. Burger Hero closes at 9pm nightly. See here for details. (If you are looking for a healthier option - Pita Pit is also on the same street, with all pitas around $12).
10/ Debacle is a gastropub at the far end of Lonsdale Street. This relaxed venue has plenty of tables looking out onto the street and is a popular venue on Monday and Tuesday nights for their "2 for 1" pizza nights. Bookings are essential. See here for details.