Living expenses in Sydney are steep, and with rising interest rates, not to mention the pesky ‘Cozzie Lives,’ prices are going to continue to climb. Luckily, the city is flushed with budget-friendly dining options from Mexican to Indian, satisfying various tastes.
Whether you have a high or low denomination note, we’ve curated a list of the best affordable eats in Sydney to suit your budget.
The Best Cheap Eats In Sydney Under $10
Now operating in Surry Hills, closer to offices, you can pick up a bagel for less than $5, add a smear of cream cheese and some lox, and still keep it under $10.
Craving a wagyu beef pie or flaky sausage rolls? Lode Pies is the cult bakery on every Sydneysider’s mind, and you can pick up their baked goods for as little past $6—if there’s anything left by midday.
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.
Banh Mi is an all-time lunch staple and easy to eat on the go. For the best, go to Marrickville Pork Roll, a crowd-favourite serving, tasty and fresh banh mi for $6 to $8.
Humble Bakery is an easy 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.
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.
The Best Cheap Eats In Sydney Under $20
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.
Swing by Good Ways for a breakfast sandwich, a classic deli sandwich of mortadella and pickles, or try something different, like the kangaroo sandwich. Either way, most of the sandwiches here don’t creep over the $17 mark.
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, pork and fennel meatball sandwiches, and pork lasagne on the menu. Keep an eye on their Instagram stories for the current menu.
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.
From the hands that brought us Totti’s comes Oti, a new fast and loose sandwich joint, flinging a rotating range of freshly made pizza slices and sandwiches for less than $20. Lines peak at lunch, but they move fast, and we can confirm they’re well worth the wait.
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.
Shaffa’s 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.
Fishbowl is a lunchtime classic. You can get $13-18 bowls stuffed to the brim with everything from brown rice, cabbage, carrots, salmon, mushrooms, crispy chicken, tofu, and more.
Get Nashville hot chicken wings from Belles. Most of the sandwiches will set you back $23, but the Big Wings are only $19. You can also get fries and gravy for $11 and buffalo cauli bites for $15.
Costi’s is not your average Sydney fish and chip shop. They serve restaurant-quality grilled, battered, and raw fish at takeaway prices. That includes all your favourites, from salmon and snapper to tuna and swordfish, prepared however you’d like to eat it.
Craving Laksa? Malay ladles a $15 chicken, beef, vegetable, or bean curd laksa.
Honey dishes Korean fried chicken all day long. While some of their bigger menu items tip over the $20 mark, you can get two UFO prawn sliders for $15 or a bowl of Tteokbokki for $19.
The Best Cheap Eats In Sydney Under $30
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.
For delicious, fast, and cheap food, Mary’s is the place to be. ‘Cause good beer, good burgers, and good music are all you need for a good night. 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 be a keen one for their drinks specials. You can find beer jugs for $10.
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 for $3 each.
Niland’s other venue, Charcoal Fish, has several quick and easy lunch items for less than $30. Pick up the island scallop hot dog for $20 and the iconic rotisserie Murray cod and gravy roll for $25.
A few other dishes you can pick include double yellowfin tuna cheeseburger ($25), southern fried corner inlet rock flathead burger ($24), yellowfin tuna meat pie ($14), and battered fish and chips ($24).