Melbourne really is the city of food. You’ve got everything from high class fancy restaurants to the greasy kebab joints everyone loves at the end of a night on the town, so you’re bound to find something you like. Of course you might be able to attend Rockpool (by Neil Perry), the Atlantic, Vue de Monde (by Shannon Bennett), Melba at the Langham, Guillaume (by Guillaume Brahimi), Florentino (by Guy Grossi), or Maha (by Shane Dehlia). But not all of us can eat at such expensive restaurants every night of the week.
That’s when you need something a little cheaper, but just as tasty. And that’s why I’ve found a list of budget friendly restaurants that serve amazing food that’s great value for money. So while you’re learning to cook, take the occasional night off to go and check out a few restaurants around town. If you’re in Melbourne check out my top choices so that you can find inspiration and find new foods to imitate when you get back to the kitchen (that’s how I learned to cook so many things).
Here’s my top cheap eats in Melbourne
A1 Bakery – Sydney Rd, Brunswick and Lonsdale St, Dandenong
A1 is not just a really great Lebanese restaurant. It also has some Middle Eastern groceries that you can pick up after you’ve tried some of their meals. Manageesh is a favourite for me (the Lebanese version of a pizza – and its way, way, way cheaper!) but I also love the felafels and my husband loves the chicken pieces with salad and bread. If you’re close to any of the A1 stores then grab some Lebanese bread while you’re there (it’s usually $1 a bag) and try out some of my Lebanese bread suggestions.
Tiba’s Restaurant – Sydney Rd and Lygon St, Brunswick
Tiba’s is Lebanese food at its best, and great value for money. Try the sharwarma which is the shredded meat like you’d get in a kebab but put on a plate for you to mix with the hummus, tabouli, salad, chickpeas and rice. Tiba’s has THE BEST hummus I’ve ever eaten – its smooth and creamy and doesn’t taste like garlic (which so many of the bought ones do!). The best part about Tiba’s is that if you’re in need of a late dinner they are open after 9pm and can cook you anything off the menu. They also have an extensive sweets range with all the usual Lebanese treats like baklava and Turkish delight, but you can also get mud cake and apple pie. Tiba’s is alcohol free, but try one of the non-alcoholic beers from their fridge for something a little different.
New York Minute – Mt Alexander Rd Moonee Ponds and Nelson Place Williamstown.
If you’re hankering for a burger then take a tram out of the CBD to Moonee Ponds or a train to Williamstown and try one of these burgers. They’re tasty burgers that taste just like you’re at a friends’ place and the chips are so good. The place is always packed when I go there, but it gives you enough time to figure out which burger you want to try (and they have a few to choose from). I’ve always found that at New York Minute I can make changes to my burger and they’re happy to accommodate (I hate bacon and often swap it for pineapple or beetroot and they always do it for me with a smile).
Huxtaburger – Collingwood, Collins St Melbourne, Prahan, Richmond and Eastland Ringwood
I will admit that I’ve never been to Huxtaburger yet, but everyone in Melbourne under 30 raves about them. And we did see Huxtaburger at the Taste Melbourne festival in 2014 and my husband absolutely loved it.
Shiraaz – Williams St, Melbourne and Malop St, Geelong
I’ve come to love India this past year or so and the best Indian I’ve been to in Melbourne is Shiraaz, but I actually went to the one in Geelong and it was amazing. I loved everything we were served, the staff were friendly and the atmosphere wasn’t too crowded. They’ve got a beautiful butter chicken (my current Indian favourite) and the naan was so soft and fluffy.
Jimmy Grants – Ringwood, Fitzroy, Ormond, Richmond and at the Emporium CBD
This is another Greek restaurant brought to you by George Colombaris, and this one’s for the everyday lunchers looking for a souvlaki. The souvlaki’s from Jimmy Grants are filled with meat and fries and its a great carb fest if that’s what you’re after. They also do a pretty good grain salad for those not after the carb hit, abd there’s a village salad as well that’s worth a try.
Stalactites – Russel St, Melbourne
The Meatball Factory – Barkley Square Brunswick
This place will have a meatball for everyone. You can try the usual beef meatballs or go for the chicken or vegetarian balls for a change. I love the fact that you can order the meatballs as they are, or have them put into a roll or as a slider. Its such a brilliant idea when you want something healthier and fancier than takeaway but you want something to fit your budget.
Po’Boy Quarter – Smith St, Fitzroy
Po’Boy is a restaurant serving all things Southern American (as in the lower half of the United States). It has Gumbo, catfish, buffalo fried chicken and all those other foods you’d see if you were in New Orleans. They also have a food truck called Gumbo KItchen and if you join their twitter feed you can find where the truck is so you might be able to eat some of their great food anywhere in Melbourne.
Question: Where’s your favourite place to eat in Melbourne?