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Best Cheap Eats in Melbourne


Affordable eateries have long been a feature of Melbourne's dining scene with every neighbourhood sporting a local low-budget favourite - here are a few of ours that accommodate the dime conscious foodie.

Sami-Jo Adelman

  1. Pellegrinis Espresso Bar

    Melbourne CBD, Melbourne, Victoria

    This Melbourne institution on the Bourke Street strip has been feeding the masses for decades now; people who flock to this classic Italian espresso bar for honest Italian home-style cooking. Set in a long narrow space, the prime positions are at the bar with extra stool seating flanked by gold-backed mirrors and a large communal table in the kitchen. There are no menus here, just a large hanging board that boasts traditional Italian offerings.

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  2. Chez Dre

    South Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria

    Chez Dre, in the rear of Coventry St, is a bustling café owned by renowned pastry chef Andrea Reiss, who has worked in Michelin starred restaurants across France. Breakfasts are plentiful and quirky, whilst lunch will send patrons ‘umming' and ‘agghing' over the large selection of lavish baguettes baked daily on the premise. Different fillings can be sampled throughout the week, but we hear the classic smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber combo is hard to beat.

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  3. Naked for Satan

    Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria

    Tasty Basque-style pintxos and spiced vodka are perfectly sinful together at Naked for Satan; a unique Fitzroy restaurant whose name is a nod to its famous speakeasy origins. Individual desires rule the experience with self-serve baguette slices speared with colourful vegetable and meat toppings. An honour system prevails here – simply pay for the number of toothpicks you have at the end of the night.

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  4. Lentil as Anything

    Abbotsford, Melbourne, Victoria

    A non-profit incorporated association, Lentil as Anything restaurant in Abbotsford embodies a philosophy that defies today's money driven society. A self-proclaimed social experiment, there are no set prices here and the customer is left to decide what they feel is an appropriate price to pay for the organic vegan/vegetarian food and service provided. Sit indoors or out under low hanging trees surrounded by the Yarra River.

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  5. HuTong Dumpling Bar Chinatown

    Melbourne CBD, Melbourne, Victoria

    Down in Melbourne's Market Lane HuTong Dumpling Bar is pumping out delicious morsels at all hours of the day. While the restaurant's younger sister in Windsor is all about Peking duck, the CBD HuTong keeps things simple with dumplings, and its soup-filled specialty ensures diners keep coming back for more. After the first round of dumplings you can think about going back for green beans sautéed with fried pork mince.

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  6. Journal Cafe

    Melbourne CBD, Melbourne, Victoria

    Journal Cafe in the heart of Flinders Lane is a chic, bookish space that's attracting more than your average student. Long communal tables, bounded by illuminated bookshelves overhead, create an air of intellectual sophistication, perfect for pensive coffee encounters. Here you will find simple fare on the menu including homemade soups, hearty salads and a late morning breakfast that's popular with partygoers.

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