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Melbourne, Sydney - good, cheap eats

Hi. I'm visiting Melbourne and Sydney this October and I'm looking for good cheap eats. We'll eat anything that's good and care more about the food than the atmosphere (although nice atmosphere is always a bonus to good food!)

Please make any and all suggestions depending on your interpretation of "cheap" in these cities, not mine.


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  1. It's easy - both cities run a Cheap Eats Guide to solve all of your problems. See this online address for Melbourne details.

    1. Thanks for the reply, but i'd rather get the chowhound low-down. Please add suggestions!

      1. Where will you be staying?

        1. A real Chowhoundie -- NOT a foodie -- place in Melbourne you shouldn't miss is Pellegrini's. Oldest espresso bar in Australia, unchanged since the 1950s. Sit at the counter, have a watermelon granita, chat with the owner, eat a plate of homestyle pasta.

          Visit Victoria Street in East Melbourne for about a mile of one fantastic Vietnamese and Laotian place after another. You won't believe how cheap or how good it is. Blows away the Vietnamese we have in Seattle. I can't remember the name of the one I liked best, but it was all green inside.

          A bit more but worth every penny is Claypots in St. Kilda (south of the CBD, lovely waterfront area, easy peasy on the tram). Pick your fish from the case out front -- dozens of varieties will be on offer -- and they'll cook it to order, your way or theirs (accept their recommendations, you won't be sorry). Bring a bottle of wine from the Cleanskins shop nearby -- most restaurants in Australia, at this price level at least -- are BYO. Which means you may spend more for the food but your total bill will be less. While you're in St. Kilda, I can't think of anything more Chowhoundie than a delicious pastry from an iconic Acland Street cake shop, right around the corner.

          In Sydney, have a kangaroo pizza (or any of the other varieties) at the Australian Hotel in The Rocks. Classic pub surroundings, fantastic beer (try Little Creatures), and the best pizza in Sydney. The accomodation upstairs is extremely cheap by The Rocks standards and very cozy, if you don't mind bathroom and lounge down the hall. You can see the Opera House and the Bridge from the roof deck. If you stop in the Susannah Place House Museum across the street beforehand to see how ordinary working-class Sydneysiders lived in the 19th and 20th centuries, you won't be sorry.

          1 Reply
          1. re: fnarf

            Another Melbourne hit was Thaila Thai, on Lygon Street in Brunswick East. It's a bit confusing to get to, though the tram goes right there -- this is the same Lygon Street as in the more popular Carlton area, but much further north, after the numbering starts over. There's no better way to see the city than to take a tram ride!

          2. You are coming to the right city for great food at good prices.
            There is a restaurant in that area in Victoria st, Richmond the poster above mentioned called "Pacific House seafood". It is a must. It's jammed packed with tables and chairs, noisy..but the prices are excellent, it's also BYO, sometimes u have to queue a while to get in...trust me it's worth it...it's kinda funny when u wait out there queuing and restaurants doors away are half empty, there's a reason.The seafood is from the shop next door and is live...we always end up with the pekking duck, at $22 AUD for 8 pieces, it's a far cry from Flower drum, but it's pretty bloody good for $22 ! Share that with some greens and fried rice, yummo.
            The other thing that would be fun for a tourist, maybe..we have a love affair with the parma !! Chicken schnitzel, with napoli, and melted cheese, it's a staple at all the pubs in Melbourne. Most of the have a parma & pot night. We went to one recently in North Melbourne...proper chicken breast, chips and a beer or wine $10 aussie, we even have a website here called www.superparma.com which rates them using all sorts of criteria, plus you can find out which pubs and what nights the parma deals are on !!!
            I love my high end restaurants also though, so if you want a tip for a splurge...u could try Vue De Monde..
            ahhh so many places.. depends what you like.
            Let me know if any more help needed.. I am a Melbournian and love my food !!

            1 Reply
            1. re: pinktori71

              People visiting from America may not know that a "parma" is just Chicken Parmagiana (or Eggplant). Crumbed, fried, and topped with marinara and cheese, melted under a grill.

            2. Hmm..a few Sydney tips. If you're in the inner city/inner east you find all manner of wonderful inexpensive eating..many don't have liquor licences so you can BYO (plenty of pubs and good wine stores). Try Prasits in Crown (stunning Thai food), Ericyes in Cleveland St for Turkish, the Balkan Continental (not the Seafood) in Oxford St at Taylor Sq (mixed grill, superb seafood etc), Thanh Binh Vietnamese in King St Newtown or Una's in Victoria St Darlinghurst for a monster chicken schnitzel and colourful crowds. That's just the start..Chinatown has wonderful food courts. The Opera Bar at the Opera House has OK food and wine, but a magnificent location. Best pizza is at La Disfida in Haberfield. If you get a hunger pang, just yell!

              1. We were in Sydney in Feb/Mar of this year and discovered Laksa...at the malaysian restaurant in the basement of the Victoria Building....absolute favourite lunch of the trip.

                1. Thanks for all of the suggestions!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: nutella

                    When I was in Melbourne in 1999, there was a really good Greek place (can't remember the name of course, but it got me thinking that Melb. has a large Greek population and people will know which places are good).

                    Also, there was a really good coffee/breakfast place called Wall 824 or 814 or something. That's where I discovered meusli with rhubarb and yoghurt for breakfast (now one of my faves). It's probably gone.

                    Also, don't know if the Dumpling King is still around and still great. Wonderful Chinese food and dumplings.

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      There's a nutter who does a blog devoted just to breakfast places in Melbourne. He rates them according to "eggs, extras, rest, coffee, help, buzz, price, and repeat". It's a fun read. If your taste in breakfast doesn't run to loads of eggs, sausage, toast and coffee you may not be as impressed as I am. No mention of Wall 8-anything, alas.


                      1. re: fnarf

                        I don't see why reviewing breakfast makes me a nutter. It's a fine meal, and it's hopelessly neglected by the traditional food media. But I digress...

                        The Wall you seek is Wall 280, and it is indeed reviewed on the breakfast blog. It's hidden away under "W" so no-one can find it...


                  2. Spice I Am, on Wentworth in Surry Hills, offers the best bang-for-buck in Sydney, and does the most authentic Thai in the country. Be sure to try the nam khao tod - shredded pork sausages with deep-fried rice salad. Mmmhmmm.