Where to eat on a budget

Whether you’re a student, saving for a holiday in the Maldives or just like to get your bang for your buck, we’ve got you covered…


Colonel Tans

Because one is never enough. Photo via @revolverupstairs Instagram.

Before Revolvers turns into ‘Revs’ in the later hours of the night, it is (surprisingly) home to one of Melbournes best keep secrets; Colonel Tans. Described as ‘an American diner that meets traditional Thai cuisine’, Colonel Tans is vibrant, fresh and boasts a menu bursting with flavour. Pair a sweet potato curry with coconut rice and a side of roti and you’ll find yourself coming back for more. The best part? Locals eat for half price every Thursday! If only they did standing reservations…


Monash wholefoods

Garlfield would have a field day here. Photo via Natalee Erceg.

Monash Wholefoods is a students oasis. $3 dhal, $7 lasagna and meals that will never exceed $10, this university eatery is perfect for vegetarians, vegans and health-conscious students alike. More than a cafe, Wholefoods is a welcoming, friendly community space to relax in-between classes and take in the live music/performance of the day. Did we mention $3 dhal?!


Newmarket Hotel

Nice buns! Photo via @nmhstkilda Intsagram.

Serving Californian and Latin cuisine, and with a beer garden to boot, Newmarket Hotel is a must-try for St-Kilda goers and locals. With weekly specials – including 50% off steaks on Mondays (!!!) and $10 burgers on Wednesdays-live entertainment and trivia nights, it’s not hard to see why. The only downside? Choosing which night to eat on may prove tough and see you returning multiple times a week. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…


Lucy Coq 

Nachos. On a pizza. What do you call a pizza that isn’t yours? Nacho pizza. Photo via @luckcoq Instagram.

Few people in Melbourne have never heard of Lucky Coq. Almost a landmark in its own right, Lucky Coq is home to, arguably, Melbourne’s best $4 pizza. A deal you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere, it’s often best paired with a beer (or two, or three..), a game of pool and a group of friends who demand their own pizza (because when it comes to Lucky Coq’s pizzas, sharing is NOT caring).



ooo baby do you know what thats worth, oooo heaven is a place on Earth..Photo via @mankoushebrunswick Instagram.

A Middle-Eastern inspired cafe, ‘Mankoushe’ is a breath of fresh air. Translating to ‘gathering from soil’, dishes are made by hand, daily, using locally-sourced artisan produce, with flavours from Iran to Morroco. With a range of Vegetarian pizza offerings (the grilled eggplant with a batingen tomato sauce, and minted yogurt is a must-try) all under $15, salads and timeless falafel wraps, Mankoushe is truly the gem of Lygon street.



At least once in your Melbourne night-life, you’ll end up at a China Bar in the CBD. It’s just one of those laws of the universe. And rightly so; the meals are cheap, fast, and are the perfect remedy for an alcohol-fueled night. Not to mention, delicious. The menu is a vibrant blend of cuisines and flavours, from Malaysia to Hong Kong, to Taiwan, there’s something to satisfy every taste palate.


Oasis Bakery

I choose you over everyone (me to pancakes). Photo via @oasisbakery Instagram.

A sanctuary for food lovers, Oasis Bakery is a little slice of heaven. Specializing in Middle Eastern and Lebanese flavours, this family-owned cafe is one of Melbourne’s most adored. Think freshly baked bread and handmade pastries, fresh out of the oven, complete with sweets from all over the Middle East, from Turkish Delights to ricotta and jam cigars. Anyone all of a sudden hungry..?


Trippy Taco

I’m nacho valentine..but I could be. Photo via @trippy.taco Instagram.

You might think you’re tripping, the prices are so good. Described as ‘Vegetarian Mexican street food’, Trippy Taco is everything Mexican food should be; Ethical, flavorsome and affordable ($6 sangria- yes please) with multiple locations across Melbourne. Can’t decide between the breakfast nachos and a bean and cheese burrito? Por que no los dos?!


Brunswick Mess Hall

Desert bao, anyone? Photo via @brunswickmesshall Instagram.

A popular Brunswick favourite, Brunswick Mess Hall specializes in fragrant South East Asian dishes and fun and flirty cocktails at affordable prices. Elegant and tasteful, this Brunswick restaurant is a perfect, first-date option or a great spot to catch up with a group of friends over kimchi and pad thai. The best part? Exposed brick walls will make you feel like you’re eating out of a Brooklyn loft.


Los Hermanos 

When life gives you lemons, garnish your margarita! Photo via @loshermanosau Instagram.

Home to fresh Mexican street foods dishes in the heart of Brunswick, Los Hermanos has a touch of authenticity to it that is often lost on many restaurants. Indeed it was owner Bruno’s dream to bring a more traditional style of Mexican food to Australia; a dream that is now a reality. The tacos are ridiculously affordable (at $5 a pop) and are paired perfectly with a cerveza (Mexican beer) or Mexican tequila for those more adventurous (and who don’t have to work the next day).



Words: Natalee Erceg.

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