It’s 11.30am, you’re sitting in a meeting, and all you can think about is lunch. You should have made your own, but who has time for that? You had sushi rolls yesterday and the day before. Where to go? What to eat?
Not to worry, these city spots offer great lunch options for $10 or less.
5 Little La Trobe Street
Dessert for breakfast is old news – sweet treats at lunchtime are where it’s at this winter. The newly opened Holy Crumpets is leading the trend with heavenly sourdough crumpets, topped with decadent add ons like creamy whipped lemon meringue. Or try a savoury option with oozy baked brie. At just $4.50 per serve, you can load up guilt-free before your afternoon meetings.
Lunch at Le Charme De Saigon
178 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Finding one thing on a menu that’s under $10 is fine, but Le Charme does you one (well, six) better, with half a dozen pho lunch specials clocking in at a mere $9.90. We’re talking delicious steaming soups loaded with rare beef, wagyu, brisket and more. Go for the $9.90 chicken and pork dumplings or check out their entree menu for penny-pinching sides like spring rolls for $8.90 and crispy school prawns done Malaysian style for $9.90.
The $10 pizzas at Fatto Bar & Cantina
100 St Kilda Road
With yummy, crispy $10 pizzas and $5 Peronis on special, this casual Italian eatery hits the spot rather than your wallet. Sit on Fatto Bar & Cantina’s riverside terrace and enjoy the fabulous city views, including St Paul’s and Flinders Street Station. So even if you’re not decked out in Prada and Bulgari, you’ll feel like a million dollars.
Grab and go from Asado
6 Riverside Quay, Southbank
On the run down the Southbank end of town? Try a Serrano ham, tomato and manchego roll from the Argentinian experts at Asado, just $6 on their grab and go menu. Or treat yourself to a couple of empanadas at $4.50 a pop – fillings include bacon and egg, beef and green olive or sweetcorn and Spanish peppers. Out and about early? The breakfast menu offers bacon, egg and chipotle mayo rolls, fruit smoothies, sour cherry granola or cheesy tostadas all for under ten bucks.
Coppe Pan’s crispy chicken
Chicken katsu is having a moment in Melbourne. If gourmet sandwich spots are a bit of a stretch for your current budget, Coppe Pan has you covered. These thick, juicy cuts of crumbed chicken breast cushioned in freshly baked bread will set you back a slight $6. Or feast on katsu sausage, prawn fry and Japanese-style filet-o-fish sandwiches for $5.80 each. Want something indulgent? Croque Monsieur and decadent french toast are also available for just $5 – and that includes a cup of coffee!
Thai street food at Dodee Paidang
Basement, The Causeway Hotel, 353 Little Collins Street
You’ll find Dodee Paidang in Equitable Place, a little laneway with a whole lot of foodie goodness. Equally delicious as it is cheap, they serve traditional Thai street food, with many meals available for under $10.
Pretty much anything on the menu at Princes Pies
10 Howey Place
The humble meat pie is getting an upgrade. Princes Pies uses top-notch ingredients from respected local producers. All your buttery pastry dreams are about to come true. Lamb and potato, steak and caramelised onion, mac and cheese or even bolognese fillings line the menu. Bar the regular guest chef pies, everything on the menu is under $10 and the decor is decidedly retro – don’t forget to check out the Bob Hawke sauce dispenser between bites.
31 A’beckett Street (enter via A’Beckett Towers)
Stop those hunger pangs for just a few dollars at one of Melbourne’s hottest bao spots, Wonderbao. Their classic steamed buns are filled with satisfying flavours like barbecue pork and fried chicken. They also do gua bao, little pockets stuffed with yummy things like crispy eggplant, bao burgers and ice-cream bao. With each parcel clocking in around $2.70, you can load up without breaking the bank.
Phenomenal deals at Pho Nom
567 Collins Street and 287 Lonsdale Street
A city worker favourite with locations at Emporium and on Collins Street, this pun-tastic Vietnamese spot has healthy lunches covered. Pho Nom’s mountainous slaw served with poached chicken costs a mind-blowingly low $8, or you can upgrade to pork and prawn for $8.50. They’ve also got a ‘help yourself’ style tray of garnishes, chilli oil, sauces and seasonings so you know your next meal will never lack flavour. Or you can pho-get about your budget and splurge on a side of salt and pepper chicken ribs for $7, or freshly fried spring rolls for $6.
The noodle soups at Soi 38
38 McIlwraith Place
Sukhumvit Soi 38 in Bangkok is a street known for its night market (‘soi’ is Thai for ‘side street’), where diners sit at wobbly metal tables and order cheap and delicious food from the carts and stalls that line the street. Soi 38 on McIlwraith Place brings a taste of this to Melbourne. You’ll find four types of noodle soup on the menu including boat noodles (so named because they’re often sold from boats in Thailand) with beef or pork, Tom Yum noodles and braised duck noodles. All bowls will set you back $10.
Delhi Streets eats
22 Katherine Place
From the ‘pani puri’ (crispy puffed dough stuffed with potatoes, chickpeas, onions, tamarind chutney and spiced water) to the ‘papri chaat’ (Indian nachos with crackers topped with potatoes, chickpeas, yoghurt topped served with mint and tamarind chutneys.), Delhi Streets offer several scrumptious street chaat (snack) options for under $10.
Masala dosa or daal of the day at Flora Indian Restaurant
238 Flinders Street, Melbourne.
For over 20 years, Flora Indian Restaurant has been keeping the city well fed with its traditional southern and northern Indian food. Located within metres of Flinders Street Station, it’s ideal for a quick lunch.
Nori Tacos at Nosh
If you’re peckish and can’t go for a full poke bowl, the Japanese-style tacos at Nosh (found in Docklands, La Trobe Street and Little Collins) make the perfect mid-arvo snack. Using some of the best nori sheets in town, they create crispy and crunchy nori tacos stuffed with delicious fillings like tamarind tiger prawns, honey BBQ beef and spicy salmon for $7.50.
Baguettes at B3 Cafe
15 Centre Place and Shop 2, 353 Little Collins Street
Offering baguettes to satisfy any lunchtime craving, B3 café is the place to go for a delicious and top-value lunch. All grand baguettes are only $7. Choose from roast chicken, smoked salmon, chicken schnitzel, eggplant schnitzel and many more. Throw in a $2 rice paper roll or croissant and you still haven’t cracked a tenner.