Sydney is not cheap when it comes to living expenses, but when it comes to food, there are plenty of cheap eats to help ease the budget load…Mexican, African, Jewish, Australian, Indian, Asian-fusion and more, you name it, Sydney has it. The best part, every shop, storefront, and restaurant serves up good grub at a low price. To help you get the most out of a note, we put together this list of the best cheap eats in Sydney according to which note you have in your wallet that day.
Woolloomooloo Whether you’re craving something savoury or sweet, Flour and Stone will have a treat for you. Pick up a sausage roll for $5.50 or a fresh sourdough crumpet for $5. Their croissants are a favourite, and range from $7 to $7.50 for an almond croissant. You can also pick up iced honey madeleines, meringues, tarts and more for under $10.
Surry Hills and Quay Quarter Lanes Humble Bakery is an easy morning option on the way to work. Grab a coffee and pastry before the workday starts. The finger buns—a classic— are only $6.50 and the croissants are $5. You can also grab most breads and pastries for less than $10.
Quay Quarter Lanes On any given morning, Grana has a cafe full of hot pastries and bread. While the restaurant’s dishes run over $20, the croissants, slices, and other sweet and savoury treats are less than $10. It’s a cheap way to enjoy Grana’s infamous flavours, without the price tag.
China Fusion Marrickville Marrickville Metro is offering $1 traditional and vegetarian spring rolls at China Fusion, until the end of June. While it’s unlimited, you can only order one serving per table, at a time.
CBD Pretty much everything on this menu is $20 and under. Jimmy’s Falafel is a piece of the middle east on George Street and is a great place to dig into a range of pitas, lamb kafta, and of course, falafels.
Parramatta This 1950s American-style diner serves foot-long sandwiches, for $15 and a delicious bacon and egg roll for $8. Choose from a wide selection of fillings including pastrami, brisket, hot chicken, and salad.
CBD Looking for a quick cheap lunch? Fabbrica offers an Italian feast with $16 to $20 baked pasta and sandwiches. The menu changes regularly and sandwiches are only available until sold out, which happens, so get in around lunchtime. Expect to find deli supreme, and pork and fennel meatball sandwiches, and pork lasagne on the menu. Keep an eye on their Instagram stories for the current menu.
Rockdale There’s nothing over $20 at this hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop. You can expect mouthwatering, stuffed to the brim sandwiches, including paninis stuffed with turkey ham, fennel butter, and salsa verde, or a chicken sandwich with avocado, slaw, and mayo. The menu changes daily, but it’s a great place for a cheap lunch.
Surry Hills Walk down a narrow alleyway between a 120-year old church and you will find Shaffa, a new middle eastern restaurant slinging $15 pita pockets for lunch. Whether you’re dining alone or with colleagues, Shaffa will make you feel a million miles away from the desk. Pitas are stuffed to the brim with your choice of short rib, chicken shawarma, lamb kofta, or cauliflower sabich, accompanied with pickled cucumbers, cabbage salad, tomato salsa, tahini, and more. You can also get pita on the plate if you prefer.
Multiple locations Finding cheap ramen isn’t hard, but finding good ramen is. The RaRa Ramen team are masters at Tonkotsu broth and other favourites. Pick up ramen from any of their locations for under $20, including Tonkotsu black garlic and chilli, vegan soy miso, and pork chashu. You can also order a side of pork gyoza for $8.50 as a starter.
Haymarket Haymarket has several yummy options for a quick lunch or dinner, but for handmade noodles visit Mr Chen Beef Noodle. Pick up spicy wonton noodle soup for $12.80, seafood noodle soup for $15.80, and a range of meat and rice dishes for under $20. Their dumplings are also affordable at $12.80 for 12 steamed dumplings.
Crows Nest When it comes to a dirty burger, Johnny Bird does it best. You can pick up a $14 burger packed with fried chicken, pickles, slaw, and tomato relish or go for the classic American-style dirty bird with Kansas smoky BBq sauce. Most of the burgers here are $14-$15. They also have $10 popcorn chicken and loaded fries for $16. You can’t go wrong.
Surry Hills For a roast chicken and hummus fix, look no further than Henrietta in Surry Hills. Here, you’ll find a range of Lebanese eats, including falafel, hummus, chips covered in sumac, and $3 garlic Toum. All their burgers and wraps are $16 and you can pick up half a chicken for $15. If you’re after a feast, the charcoal chicken meal is $25 for half a chook, with sides and a choice of salad or chips.
Multiple Locations For delicious, fast, and cheap food, Mary’s is the place to be. Good beer, good burgers, and good music are all you need for a good night out. The Mary’s burger, a legendary staple is only $19 and the chips are $5—don’t skip the chips. You can also pick up $10 pizzas at Mary’s On Top, and keep an eye out for their drinks specials. You can find beer jugs for $10.
Paddington In any capacity, Josh Niland’s restaurants are a must, but we understand Saint Peter is a heftier price point, so Fish Butchery is where you go to get his iconic fish and chips for the low price of $20. Expect batter-fried Wollongong pink ling served with chips and yoghurt tartare sauce. You can also get a tuna burger for $20 and potato scallops at $3 each.
North Sydney This Italian eatery in North Sydney, not only serves great food but does it in a beautiful space, reminiscent of restaurants in Spain or on the Mediterranean coast. Dig into a $30 pizza from their producer pizza series, which highlights local producers.
Surry Hills Jessi Singh’s Don’t Tell Aunty is known around Australia as a rulebreaking Indian restaurant. Forget what you know about butter chicken, here it’s not traditional, but it’s still all delicious and for under $40, you can get a decent meal. A naan platter is $26 and most of the pot dishes are around $20 to $30, including tikka masala, coconut vegetable curry, and fish curry. The best part, you can get a naan basket and chutneys are only $3.
Surry Hills Bar Suze is the new kid on the Surry Hills block. Here, you can expect to find Swedish and Scandinavian flavours married with Australian produce. The smorgasbord section has a range of small bites including smoked prawns with saffron aioli and braised pork costing around $6 to $13. The main menu boasts larger plates, starting from $10 to $28 for ricotta gnocchi with honey bugs. Bar Suze is a great option for when you want to go somewhere nice for dinner, but don’t want to break the bank.
CBD For Italian food that will take you right to the motherland without the cost of a ticket, head to Ragazzi. Starters begin at $5 for a porcini and mozzarella croquette and $9 for Scallop Crudo. Mains are on the pricier side, but completely worth it and still under $40. A big bowl of Cacio e Pepe is $21 and the Gigli with pork and fennel sausage and clams is $30.
Tramsheds Palle is Sydney’s new meatball joint, that serves buckets of meatballs or three cheese meatballs for $10. You can get meatballs in a sub, with spaghetti or in broth. Whatever your meatball of choice, Palle has it. Don’t leave without trying Mama’s meatballs—they’re a secret family recipe.
There’s plenty to celebrate this year, from new menus to restaurants throwing parties, bottomless brunches, and more.
Here, we have the latest on Sydney’s food news, from chefs taking over restaurants to limited-edition menus and feasts for all your friends to enjoy.
To celebrate World Gin Day, and for one week only, gin and food lovers can try nagashi-sōmen—translating to ‘flowing noodles’— which sees noodles sent down a bamboo chute for diners to collect with chopsticks. The one-off experience will be hosted at Kid Kyoto, where guests can enjoy their flowing noodles alongside a menu paired with delicious KI NO BI Gin cocktails. Purchase tickets here.
Tuck into a Fireball Burger
Feeling the cold? Fireball Whisky and Bar Luca have teamed up for the ultimate firey menu. Offered for a limited time only, head down to Bar Luca for $6 Fireball shots all day, a Fireball shot and cocktail on arrival, and an all-you-can-eat bites of the full “Blame Fireball” menu on Saturday, July 1. Book a spot here.
For two nights only, on Tuesday the 20th and Tuesday 27th of June, Graeme Hunt, Head Chef of Sydney’s trending late-night bar and dining venue at Zaffi, will be stepping up to the kitchen at award-winning bar PS40. Pop-up guests can expect a mosaic of colourful Lebanese-inspired bar snacks paired with exclusive midweek sips made by the mastermind behind the experimental bar, Michael Chiem.
Fan of Cinderella? The Great Hall is transforming into The Royal Palace for an enchanting high tea from July 1-2. There will be dancing and fun, and then Cinderella will run out of the venue leaving behind her glass slipper—the search for the missing beauty will begin. Tickets for the Cinderella High Tea costs $80-85 and you can purchase them here.
Grill’d has dropped two new burgers, and they’re beyond anything we could have imagined. Taking inspiration from Mexico, Grilld’s two new burgers are a Zesty Mexi and Luxe Nacho Burger. The Zesty Mexi features a black bean pattie with corn chips, tasty cheese, slaw, jalapenos, and chipotle mayo mixed with green tomatillo lime salsa. For meat lovers, the Luxe Nacho Burger is the same as the Zesty Mexi, but with a premium Wagyu pattie.