Best Cheap Eats in Melbourne | Top Universities

Best Cheap Eats in Melbourne

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Chelsea Davies

Updated Mar 22, 2021



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The cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne has no shortage of great places to eat - round every corner there’s bound to be an amazing cafe or restaurant to tempt you. However, the abundance of international foods, not to mention the excellent coffee and craft beers, can come at a premium. But with a savvy student approach and a little local know how, you can be eating at some of the tastiest joints in the city without blowing your student budget.

These are just to get you started and only a sample of what the buzzing city of Melbourne has to offer. Keep your eyes peeled as this city is teeming with culinary entrepreneurs and new places are popping up all the time!

Shandong Mama, Central Business District


Melbourne's Chinatown is full of amazing restaurants offering a dizzying array of dishes, but you can never go wrong with a massive plate of dumplings! Shandong Mama, a family-run joint tucked away in Bourke St Arcade, offers deliciously fresh dumplings for just a few dollars. Often voted one of the best in Melbourne, a top tip is to go for the pan-fried fish dumplings, a specialty that never disappoints!

La Tortilleria, Kensington

Corn tortillas

If Mexican food is more your thing, La Tortilleria should be top of your list. A stone's throw from the Central Business District in the pretty little suburb of Kensington, this place delivers incredibly fresh Mexican dishes with heaps of flavor. Famed for their award-winning corn tortillas, made using the traditional Aztec method and with their own locally grown corn, this is as authentic as it gets! They have a great selection of tacos and tostadas, excellent grilled meat options and sharing platters for when you just can't decide. You can easily fill up for under AU$15 and their takeaway menu is even cheaper.

Laksa King, Flemington

Chicken laksa

Frequently voted as Melbourne's most popular restaurant, the ever-present queue here is testament to its incredible Malaysian cuisine. Enjoy their flavorsome signature dish, chicken laksa, for just $11.80 - if you get in early there's even a 10 percent discount. Gather a group of your mates together, settle in and splurge on an eight-course banquet for just $32. Totally worth the money and an impressive feat if you manage to finish the lot, you're guaranteed to be strolling out of there with huge grins on your satisfied faces.

Naked for Satan, Fitzroy

Naked for Satan

In the hipster suburb of Fitzroy you can find the memorably named Naked for Satan, which has a downstairs pinxtos (small Spanish snacks) bar offering a huge array of bites where you simply help yourself. Once you've had your fill, head on up to the rooftop bar where you can follow up your meal with a locally brewed beer and enjoy the amazing views of the Central Business District.

The Royston, Richmond

Chicken Parma

Image credit: Tristan Kenney (Flickr)

This craft beer pub in Richmond serves one of Australia's most iconic pub meals - the chicken parma. Tender chicken breast topped with Napoli sauce, ham and melted cheese, you simply can't leave Australia without trying one of these bad boys. Most Melbourne pubs offer excellent mid-week parma and pint deals to help power you through to the weekend, but The Royston's Parma Tuesday offering, along with one of its original craft beers, is hard to beat.

Queen Victoria night markets, Central Business District

Queen Vic Market

When it all gets too much and you simply can't decide, head to the Queen Vic night market and the culinary delights of Melbourne will come to you. With stalls ranging from spicy Sri Lankan curries, kangaroo burgers and steaming bowls of pho, this place can get you fed for under $10 and still leave you with a few dollars for dessert. Open during both summer and winter, you're spoilt for (cheap) choice all year round!

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