The round-up: Brisbane’s best cheap eats
Rent is due and you are still a few days away from getting your paycheque – but your stomach is growling and you need to feed as soon as possible for as cheap as possible. Instead of hitting the closest drive-thru and settling for fast food, there are plenty of places around town that offer cheap eats that are damn tasty. It’s time to get creative with how you spend your dollars – stretch your money by taking advantage of the following best value for money meals in Brisbane.
TAKE NOTE: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some of these specials may have been temporarily suspended. If you are unsure if any of the below deals are currently active, we encourage you to contact the venue directly to confirm.
Milton Common, Milton: Mondays are our least favourite day of the week, but one silver lining is Milton Common’s chicken parmigiana, which is $15 from 4:00 pm on Monday. That’s the kind of early week deal that makes Mondays worth looking forward to.
Dalgety 2.0 Public House, Teneriffe: This new-look locale is putting an elevated spin on brewpub classics, but its not elevating the price out of reach. Every Sunday between 2:00–3:00 pm the bar hosts Oyster Hour, where natural oysters are available for $1 a pop and Kilpatrick oysters going for $2. Monday is made better with Dalgety’s burger deal, which offers a two-hander and fried for just $15. On Wednesday the Dalgety kitchen slings chicken wings for $1 a pop, with these bad boys available coated in buffalo, BBQ or spicy Korean sauce.
Mac From Way Back, Woolloongabba: Got a hankering for a burger but are keeping a tight grip on your dosh? Mac From Way Back slings single-patty smash burgers for just $11 each, which is a killer price for those looking for baller quality on a budget. Also, the venue’s famed mac ‘n’ cheese skillets will only set you back $7, with well-priced add-ons such as bacon ($2), hashbrown ($2), beef patty ($5) and fried-chicken tenders ($5) making this a deceptively filling and wondrously cheap feed.
Som Tum Bar, Brisbane City: Green papaya salad or som tum is more than just a salad – it’s a Thai street-food staple. Brisbane Quarter’s Som Tum Bar is specialising in the dish, which is available in its base form (with chilli, peanut, dried shrimp and lime) for just $13.90. Other menu items such as E-saan sour pork and rice sausage ($10.90), Thai-style BBQ chicken ($12.90) and the grilled catfish ($12.90) also make for some economical lunch options.
Harvest on George, Brisbane City: If you’re in The City and a sudden craving for carvery style eats strikes, make tracks for Harvest on George, where you can score its roast of the day (with a side) for $13.90. Want to go cheaper? The locales sandwiches go for a very reasonable $8.9, while a nutritious salad amounts to just $10.90.
Yums! Chicken, Woolloongabba: Feel like chicken tonight? The bird is the word at Yums! on Logan Road, which specialises in fried chicken in many guises – burgers, wings and tenders. You can tuck into a half-kilo of wings for $9.90 or six original or spicy crispy buttermilk chicken tenders for a tenner.
Ben’s Burgers, Fortitude Valley: We can’t start a list of cheap eats without first acknowledging the institution that has taken out the Best Cheap Eats category in our EAT/drink Awards for a few years running. The public has picked Ben’s Burgers as their cheap eat spot of choice, most likely due to the fact that its burgers are reasonably inexpensive (a classic burger is $12 and chips will set you back just $5) but also because the taste of the burgs can’t be beat.
Botanica, Red Hill, Camp Hill and Teneriffe: A takeaway salad from Botanica will last you two meals and only costs $12. Botanica’s bonus is the variety so you will rarely see yourself doubling up (unless you find a sure-fire favourite).
Kulcha’d, West End: Want a taste of authentic Indian cuisine without the price of a plane ticket? The team at Kulcha’d have brought north-Indian fare to West End, specialising in the crispy flatbread known as kulcha. You can snack on an original kulcha stuffed with tandoor-baked potato, onion, and traditional spices for $10, or make it a combo for $15. Alternatively, Kulcha’d kathi rolls (Indian wraps stuffed with exotic spices, vegetables, chef’s spicy vegan mayo and your choice of filling) go for as little as $8 (for the vegan option).
Hellbound, New Farm: This graffiti-adorned haunt puts a rock-and-roll spin on its menu, with delicious comfort food up for grabs. On Wednesdays, the Hellbound kitchen pumps out serves of its hot wings for 50 cents a wing, so grab some loose change and chow down!
Salt Meats Cheese, Newstead and South Bank: We swoon at the sight of a picture-perfect pizza or bowl of pasta, and Salt Meats Cheese has both available for cheap. Both the Newstead and South Bank locations offer lunch specials from Monday to Friday – meals are just $20 with your choice of drink.
PJ’s Steaks, Fortitude Valley and West End: If you are craving a delicious cheesesteak but are scrimping by until payday, shake some change loose and hit up PJ’s any weekday for its lunch deal. A freshly made cheesesteak sub, a small chips and a drink will only set you back $13.90, which is a lifesaving deal when rent is due.
Wrapture, West End: If you want a bargain bite that is also healthy, then wait ‘til you wrap your hands around this one. West End’s Wrapture serves tasty wraps that are nutritious and good value. The Olympus wrap (with lemon chicken) will only set you back $12, while the Zen Tofu wrap (with teriyaki tofu and wasabi mayo) is a cool $12.50.
Meek Social House, Woolloongabba: The crew at Meek Social House love a good deal, and to be honest, so do we. Steak night is on Tuesday, which means you can sink your teeth into a juicy steak for $15. Also, every Wednesday night the restaurant offers its any of its core burgers and a serve of seasoned fried for $15.
Dalgety 2.0 Public House, Teneriffe: This revitalised pub icon is passing on some serious deals to locals. From Monday to Friday, the kitchen is dishing up fish and chips, chicken schnitzel, 200g rump steaks and beef burgers for $15 a pop. Huge!
Clancy’s Espresso, Norman Park: Those in a hurry to catch the bus on time needn’t skip breakfast to do so, especially if you’ve got Clancy’s Espresso nearby. Pick up a toasted bagel with your choice of spread for $6.50, or spruce it up with chicken, pastrami, or tomato and cheese for $10.
Hai Hai Ramen, Paddington: Another every day bargain – Paddington’s Hai Hai Ramen serves bowls of ramen with any bun (our favourite is pork) and its beer of the week for $25. Available for dine-in seven nights a week!
Mucho Mexicano, South Bank, and Hawthorne: Mucho Mexicano takes Taco Tuesday seriously. Don’t believe us? These joints host all-you-can-eat tacos for $25 from 5:00 pm every Tuesday, which is a big deal if you love going hard on a bargain.
Bird’s Nest Yakitori, Fortitude Valley: If you love a bit of char-grilled goodness, stop by Bird’s Nest in West End for its $12 lunch specials. Choose from a range of options including satisfying rice bowls with meat or vegetables cooked using traditional Yakitori methods. That’s not all, Bird’s Nest in The Valley dishes up yakitori skewers for $3 every Monday. Also of note – Bird’s Nest in Toowong serves a bunch of cheap lunch specials, including grilled-chicken rice bowls, slow-braised pork bowls and karaage burgers for $9.90.
Good Lookin’ Rooster, Albion: Do you feel like chicken tonight? The crew at Albion’s Good Lookin’ Rooster have got you covered! Score a quarter free range rotisserie chicken with a side of salads or veg for $14, some juicy free-range rotisserie chicken and homemade gravy on a fresh crusty roll for $10, or a small serving of any GLR salad for $7.
Kim Thanh Hot Bread, West End: A banh mi is a quick and satisfying snack, and thankfully one of the best spots in town to secure one is the cheapest. Kim Thanh Hot Bread hawks these stuffed rolls for $7.50 ($7 if you opt for tofu).
Remy’s, Paddington: Paddington locals won’t stop raving about Remy’s, the leafy locale that serves up some truly scrumptious brunch and burgers. Every Sunday Remy’s also offers two-for-one burgers, so now you should have a pretty good idea why this joint has such a favourable rep.
Melt Brothers, Brisbane City: Melt Brothers is one of the best places to go for an authentic grilled-cheese sandwich, with the signature Holy Cheezus available for $9, or spend one extra buck and go for the Morning Glory, which can be all yours for $9.95.
The Yiros Shop, various locations: The iconic Greek street-food icon is the perfect grab-and-go option, and The Yiros Shop has got a great incentive to stop by. On Tuesdays you can take advantage of the Tight Greek Tuesday deal, which includes a yiros and a can of drink for $11. Bargain!
Mrs Luu’s Vietnamese Canteen, various locations: $8.50 for a banh mi is nothing to sniff at, especially when it is filled with Vietnamese porchetta, barbecue pork or pan-fried tofu.
Tippler’s Tap, South Bank and Fortitude Valley: There’s no feeling more amazing than stumbling upon some delicious food specials. Tuesday at Tippler’s Tap is the night to visit if you love tacos – the kitchen pumps out spicy beef tacos for $2 a pop, and vegan options for $3. From midday on Wednesday, diners can gorge on barbecue ribs cooked in a stout sauce with extras for $25. As for the regular menu, there are some great options for those awaiting pay day. A basket of dry-spice-rubbed chicken wings costs $13, the Chi-town burger will set you back $12, while you can snack on a great selection of sliders available for $5 each.
The Vietnamese, Fortitude Valley: Dining in or takeaway – $10 for a filling rice vermicelli salad is undeniable value, and don’t even get us started on the gargantuan bowls of pho, which are also $10. Hoo boy – it’s a delight.
Meet and Greens, Newstead: Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean to have to settle for something unhealthy. Meet and Greens at Gasworks Plaza has a stack of well-priced lunch options that’ll make your body sing. Choose any greens combination for $10.50, or feel free to add your choice of protein (some charred Mt Cotton free-range chicken, perhaps?) for an extra $7.
New Shanghai, Brisbane City: This Queens Plaza destination is great for bite-sized goodies. Inhale bulk dumplings until you are stuffed with 10 pieces for $13.50.
Bloodhound Bar, Fortitude Valley: This venue should be renamed to the Bargain Bar, because the deals are out of this world. Kick the week off on Monday with the ‘Keep It Real’ deal, where the kitchen dishes up meals for $10 with any drink purchase. On Tuesdays you can scoff down two-for-one tacos all night long, Wednesday offers up a kilo of wings for $10, and Fridays offer tow-for-one on share plates and snacks. Finally, Sunday sessions become economical with Bloodhound’s Juggy McJugface afternoons, where a jug of beer and a one-kilo serve of wings will only set you back $25.
NoNo’s, Red Hill: Red Hill’s Lebanese food haven is perfect for an inexpensive lunch. Grab a falafel kebab for $8.50 and a sweet treat to go for less than $3.
Bagel Boys, Brisbane City: The humble bagel is a great choice if you are a) in a hurry, b) broke and c) hungry. Breakfast or lunch, Bagel Boys has got you – no filled bagel on its menu will cost you more than $10 and a bagel with a cream cheese schmear is only $5.
The Burrow, West End: Not only is The Burrow a delightful spot for a weekend brunch, those after a satisfying and inexpensive lunch are also catered for. Grab a 9-inch pepper-noni pizza or margherita pizza for only $10.
King Ahiram, West End: Fancy a wrap? King Ahiram in West End whips up some of the best, cheapest parcels in town (try the falafel kebab, trust us) while also offering a range of other goodies to sink your teeth into.
Hop & Pickle, South Bank: These self-described ‘purveyors of pub gastronomy’ have got lunch on lock in South Bank. For $12, diners can sink their teeth into char-grilled beef burgers, roast-beef sandwiches or roast garlic mushroom and mozzarella sandwiches. Bump up the spend to $16 and you can savour a 250 g sirloin steak, beer-battered barramundi or slow-cooked pork belly.
Govinda’s, Brisbane City and West End: If you are looking for something filling and nourishing, while still being easy on the wallet, Govinda’s is the place to be. Enjoy all you can eat and drink for $12.90.
Red Hook, Brisbane City: You can get a cheap lunch at inner-city joint Red Hook if you pop in from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm from Monday to Friday, when you can enjoy Red Hook’s Brooklyn Cheese Burger or Grandmaster Flash Burger, small fries and a beer, house wine or soft drink for just $20.
Lord of the Fries, Fortitude Valley: When the Melbourne-born meat-free concept landed in Brisbane in late 2019, Brisbane’s plant-based community went wild for its vegan (and inexpensive) offering. The Big Burger range starts at a cheap $13.50, with hot dogs selling for $8.50 and a side of crispy fries setting you back a mere $6.
Fat Dumpling, Bowen Hills and Fortitude Valley: Fat Dumpling on Brunswick Street and it’s King Street sibling is known for its huge (and delicious) range of poached, steamed and pan-fried dumplings. Better yet, the menu offers a bunch of affordable options, with a batch of six dumplings starting from $9.50, and small dishes like spring rolls coming in at $9.50 and shallot pancakes for $9.
Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers, Paddington and South Bank: Whether you plan to hit up the OG gnoccheria in Paddington or its little bro in South Bank, Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers will surely satisfy any pasta lover. Available for dine-in and takeaway options, the menu offers the likes of gnocchi with wild mushroom and truffle sauce, gnocchi with Genovese-style pesto and gnocchi with pork and fennel Italian sausage, with most dishes ranging from $13-$15.
Perch’d, Coorparoo: Eager seafood feasters will be happy to learn that the chip and fishery found in the breezy Queenslander space on the corner of York Street and Cavendish Road in Coorparoo is (excuse the pun) cheap as chips. Staple menu classics like the fish burger is $15, or tuck into some fresh fish tacos for $8 and a side of chips for $7.
Bender’s Bar, South Brisbane: If you’ve ever cast your eye over our formidable list of Brisbane’s top burger joints, you’ll see that Bender’s Bar sits among the best … as well as the most affordable. Get your hands around a classic burger for just $14 or salivate over the stacked Bender’s Fries – spiced crispy fries topped with cheese sauce, bacon jam and shallots, for only $11. Also worth marking in your diary – the eatery does 2-4-1 burgers with any drink purchase from 5:00 pm on Wednesday. How good!
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.