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 burger, chips and beer will only cost you $20) but also because the taste of the burgs can’t be beat. If you pop in on Tuesdays between 6:00–9:00 pm, you can take advantage of Ben’s two-for-one deal, too!
Botanica, Red Hill and Teneriffe: A takeaway salad from Red Hill’s 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).
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, while Thursdays see the kitchen dishing out $4 tacos and $10 quesadillas. Grab some loose change and chow down!
The Defiant Duck, Newstead: When it comes to bargains, The Defiant Duck in Newstead has gone crazy – offering $5 hot dogs and $5 classic cheeseburgers available all day with a drink purchase. Wednesday offers up $14 rump steaks, while on Thursdays you can chow down on half a charcoal chicken for only $10. That’s not all, on Saturday diners can sample $1 tacos and 50-cent wings.
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.
Salt Meats Cheese, West End: Yes, we know Salt Meats Cheese is double dipping on this list, but the brand’s outlet at The Garden Pantry in West Village has got a deal you need to know about. You can snag a pizza and a soft drink for $10 (or opt for pasta for $12) at lunch time Monday to Friday.
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.
Banoi, Bowen Hills: King Street eaters are spoiled for choice when it comes to appetising options, but if price is a factor, then Banoi’s got you covered. Every weekday it whips up a handy lunch special including a beef pho cup, half a pork banh mi, three spring rolls and a kumquat lemonade for $15. On Fridays Banoi also offers a range of crispy pork specials, including steamed taco buns, noodles and soups for a crispy deal.
Lucky Egg, Fortitude Valley: If you want fried chicken, Lucky Egg should be your first port of call. Wednesdays see the kitchen hawking half-price burgers with the purchase of any side, which is a clucking-good deal no matter which way you look at it.
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 $11.50, while the Zen Tofu wrap (with teriyaki tofu and wasabi mayo) is a cool $12.
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.
Greaser Bar, Fortitude Valley: Fortitude Valley’s Greaser Bar is known for its fantastic burger selection, and they’ve got a handy mid-week deal to get you over hump day. Wednesdays you can cop a burger and a beer for $15, which sounds pretty good to us.
Mr Bunz, Brisbane City: Mr Bunz serves up a collection of fluffy and delicious bao buns for cheap, meaning you can grab a few for the road!
Hai Hai Ramen, Paddington: Another early week bargain – Paddington’s Hai Hai Ramen serves $10 bowls of ramen every Monday and Tuesday between 5:00–6:00 pm! That’s not all, you can also get snacks for cheap between 5:00–6:00 pm daily. That means you can sample some delicious ramen and still have pocket change for some chicken karaage or miso corn.
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.
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 $6.50 ($6 if you opt for tofu), as well as a range of pies for $4 or less.
Junk, South Bank: The only thing better than the phrase ‘all you can eat’ is when the word ‘cheap’ is also bandied about with it. Junk is serving up a boatload of wings every Wednesday, and for $18 per person you can eat as many as you want within a two-hour sitting. Grab the napkins – it’s going to get messy.
Beerhaus, Bowen Hills: If you’ve got a few dollars in loose change rattling around in your pocket, or a swear jar that needs emptying, Bavarian Beerhaus will gladly exchange shrapnel for food. The bar recently unveiled a new $10 lunch offering, available between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday to Thursday. Want something even more frugally sound? Bavarian Beerhaus also serves complimentary ‘Royal Snacks’ available from 4:00–6:00 pm daily. Guests who purchase a selected drink during this time can choose from free mini sausage rolls, Texan sloppy fries and Cajun popcorn chicken.
Remy’s, Paddington: Paddington locals won’t stop raving about Remy’s, the leafy locale that serves up some truly scrumptious brunch and burgers. Did you know Remy’s also hosts Taco Tuesdays? One taco will cost you $3, but you can get four for $10, which we think is a great deal. 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 Triple Cheese available for just $6.50, or spend a few extra bucks and go for the Morning Glory, which can be all yours for $9.
The Fox Hotel, South Brisbane: South Brisbane’s iconic pub is a great space to get a feed for a low fee, any day of the week. Score half-price pizzas and burgers between 12:00–2:00 pm and 6:00–8:00 pm daily.
The Manhattan Line, South Bank: The hotdog is a staple of American street cuisine, and few places do them better than The Manhattan Line. These bad boys are an inexpensive choice for lunch – you can score the T.J. dog for $9, the classic NYC for $8, or the loaded Kansas hotdog for $12.
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 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.
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 less than $13.
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.
Brewski, Petrie Terrace: Caxton Street’s Brewski is a killer spot for those after a bargain. Not only are there a bunch of $10 lunch specials, but you can score two-for-one meals on Mondays and $10 burgers on Tuesdays.
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, West End and Fortitude Valley: 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 dinner at inner-city joint Red Hook if you pop in on Monday night, when you can enjoy Red Hook’s popular Brooklyn Cheese, Grandmaster Flash, Shaolin and RZA burgers for $10 a pop. If you’ve got a larger hunger, snack on a Brooklyn Cheese or a Grandmaster Flash, a small fries and a drink for only $2o, available Monday to Friday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, and all day Saturday.
Mr Chester Wine Bar, Fortitude Valley: This Ann Street bar and charcuterie spot boasts top-notch boutique names in new-world wine and viticulture. You’ll be pleased to hear that has weekly food specials including $14 pasta dishes every Tuesday night and $16 pizzas on Wednesday evening.
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 $11.50 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 $8.50 and shallot pancakes for $8.
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 $13.50 or salivate over the stacked Bender’s Fries – spiced crispy fries topped with cheese sauce, bacon jam and shallots, for only $10.