Eating on a budget in Melbourne doesn’t mean you have to survive on takeaway burgers and fries. If you know where to look, you can eat a healthy and varied diet from numerous food outlets, cafes and restaurants.
Most of Melbourne’s best valued food can be found in the many Asian restaurants dotted around the city, especially in Chinatown and on Russell Street, and in the inner suburbs of Richmond (Vietnamese) and Footscray (Vietnamese and African).
If your budget is very limited and you are looking to self-cater as much as possible then you can’t pass up the vegetable and deli section at Queen Victoria Market.
We’ve listed below a selection of some of the best value places to eat in the city and its immediate surrounds.
Ramen Ya serves some of Melbourne’s best ramen (Japanese noodle soup) and has two outlets in the city: the GPO in Bourke Street Mall and 108 Bourke Street. For under $15 a meal you can also choose from a variety of bento boxes.
Shanghai Street Dumpling
Chinatown is always good for a budget meal, but for dumpling lovers, Shanghai Street Dumpling has always stood ahead of the pack. You’ll find them on Little Bourke Street.
China Bar on Russel Street is great for a late night feed. Tasty Chinese and Malaysian staples such as kuey teow (rice noodle stir-fry), curry laksa and Hainanese chicken rice are served quickly and with no fuss.
While it’s looking a bit weathered, this long-standing Greek institution on Lonsdale Street still bustles with lovers of souvlaki, tzatziki and all things Greek.
Queen Victoria Market
As well as being the best place to stock up on groceries, Vic Market has a food court and several great value food outlets selling everything from boreks (filled pastries) to hot dogs with the works.
Lentil As Anything
St Kilda, Abbotsford & Footscray
If you feel like exploring the inner suburbs, this vegetarian cooperative has had great success with its pay-by-donation philosophy. If you love beans, veggies, salad and rice, you’ll love Lentil’s ever-changing menu.
Brunswick Street shoppers on a budget should head to Bimbo Deluxe for a range of inexpensive and delicious pizzas.