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Best Cheap Eats in Sydney’s CBD

By Lucinda Starr / Best Cheap Eats Sydney, Eat, Food Guide, Restaurants, Sydney / October 10, 2019

Looking for hot deals in Sydney’s CBD? You’ve come to the right place. Here’s your updated guide to the CBD’s best cheap eats.

Are you looking for a lunchtime bite that won’t hurt your wallet? Feeling a bit peckish but also a little pinching? Or maybe you’re looking for a post-work dinner that won’t break the bank? We’ve scoured Sydney CBD and come up with a list of the city’s best cheap eats. Our list contains nourishing, inexpensive options that will satisfy both your taste buds and your bank balance.

Joe’s Sandwich Bar

As far as great sambos go, Joe’s Sandwich Bar does some of the best. Tucked away on Kent Street just a stone’s throw from Barangaroo, it’s a spot renowned for slinging tasty healthy bites for just $12 a pop. The best bit? Every sandwich is completely vegan and jam-packed with flavour. Sample your way through their oh-so-tasty menu, including fillings such as the Tempeh Reuben (with smoked tempeh, fennel and apple slaw), Chipotle Pumpkin (featuring chipotle roasted pumpkin, almond ricotta, kale, chilli relish and pickles) plus their B.L.A.T. (packed with smokey tempeh, avo, tomato, lettuce and aioli).

Find Joe’s Sandwich Bar at 292 Kent Street, Sydney CBD, open Mon to Fri 11:30 am – 2:30 pm (or until sold out).

Jimmy’s Recipe

Sometimes you just need a giant bowl of noodles. And when those cravings strike, head straight for Jimmy’s Recipe. With two CBD outposts, one in The Gateway near Circular Quay and the other nestled inside The Galeries, expect authentic Malaysian Street Food that’s cheap, cheerful and delicious. We can’t go past their spicy Laksa noodle soup, topped with your choice of protein. The best bit? With dishes ranging from $11 to $14, this is a feed that won’t empty out your bank account.

Find Jimmy’s Recipe at The Galeries (Ground Floor, 500 George Street) and at Gateway Sydney (Level 2, 1 Macquarie Place), both open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week.

Encasa

Encasa is a little slice of Spain in the heart of the CBD. Filled with all things auténtico and delicioso, there are jamons, cheeses and an amazing range of imported groceries. Lunch time is absolutely buzzing at this cosy delicatessen / tapas bar, with often a line out the door. So grab and go is an option, but if you’re lucky enough to see a vacant seat at the window or at one of their wooden barrel tables, make sure to seize it. The very filling bocadillos (baguettes) are always a tasty option. Try their Chorizo flavour with grilled Spanish sausage, roast capisun, tomato and aioli ($12.50), the Canario with roast pork leg, queso fresco and roast capsicum moji ($13.00) or the Portugues with spiced grilled chicken, tomato, rocket and herb aioli ($14.50).

Find Encasa at Westfield Sydney (Level 5, open Mon to Fri 8 am to 5 pm and weekends 11 am to 5 pm), Chifley Square (Level 1, open Mon to Fri for breakfast and lunch) and Encasa Restaurant at 423 Pitt Street, Sydney CBD (open for dinner Mon to Fri plus lunch and dinner on Saturdays).

Mary’s Burgers

Could any CBD cheap eats guide be complete without Mary’s? The burger kings have been capturing hearts and minds with their consistently good American-style wares since exploding on to the Newtown foodie scene back in 2013. The empire has since expanded and is now a firm staple of the Sydney-diet. And now, the ever-growing empire has three CBD spots for you to nab your burger fix: Mary’s Pitt Street, CBD and Circular Quay. You’ll be able to grab all your favourites from each outpost, including the classic Cheeseburger ($19), Mushroom Burger ($19) plus a full vegan menu available at CQ and Pitt St.

Here’s where you’ll find Mary’s in Sydney’s CBD:

  • Mary’s Pitt St at 410 Pitt Street, open Mon to Sat 12 pm to 12 am and Sun 12pm to 10pm.
  • Mary’s CBD at 154 Castlereagh Street, open weekdays 11 am to 10 pm and weekends 10 am to 9 pm.
  • Mary’s Circular Quay at 7 Macquarie Place, open weekdays 12 pm to 11 pm and weekends 12 pm to 12 am.

Psst… did you see our recent write-up of Sydney’s favourite burger-loving empire? Here’s all the goss on Mary’s Pitt Street (the first outpost to take bookings).

Boon Cafe

From the team that has brought Sydney the iconic Chat Thai empire comes Boon Cafe, an all-day eatery in the heart of the CBD. The offering here is a blend of Thai and western influences, serving up a mix of classic burgers, sandwiches and pasta alongside more unexpected dishes like BBQ meat skewers, curries and soups. The drink list proves just as varied, with everything from cocktails to specialty coffee courtesy of Single O. Swing by Haymarket to discover this humble hidden gem, with nothing on the menu setting you back more than $20.

Find Boon Cafe at 1/425 Pitt Street, Haymarket, open from 8 am to midnight 7 days a week.

Belles Hot Chicken

Whether you’re looking for the perfect boozy Friday lunch or just after a damn good feed, flocking to Belles Hot Chicken is always a wise choice. And when they say hot, these guys really mean it. On the menu, you’ll find your choice of meats, salads, snacks and sides along with 6 types of sauce made for dipping. As far as spice levels go, you have 6 choices ranging from the milder Southern to the eye-watering Realy F**kin Hot. All meat baskets are priced under $20, along with a selection of sambos ($12) and salads ($11). And to wash it all done, grab a glass of natural vino to complete the experience.

Find Belles Hot Chicken at 5/33 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo, open Sun to Thu 11:30 am to 9:30 pm and Fri to Sat 11:30 am to 10:30 pm.

El Loco at Slip Inn

Put a little fiesta into your lunch break with El Loco at Slip Inn. This Mexican cantina is all about the tacos apetitosos. Whether you prefer spit pork, beef, baja fish or vegetarian, these little tacos are only $7.70. The chicken and corn quesadilla is also good value at $11, as is theFlor de Calabaza (stuffd with zucchini flower, salsa roja, pico de gallo and mozarella). With these prices so low, you just might want to celebrate with some churros ($10.50) and a margarita ($19).

Find El Loco at Slip Inn at 111 Sussex St, Sydney CBD, open Mon to Fri 11:00 am til late and Sat 2:00 pm til late.

Mr. Bao

Pillowy soft, steamed bun goodness! Mr. Bao serves fusion food that sees the iconic Taiwanese street food, gua baos, filled with Vietnamese and Japanese flavours. The pared-back menu has a select choice of delicacies on offer, none of which will bruise your wallet. From the crackling pork belly to the crispy tofu bao, all bao is $6.50. The Asian slaw salad bowl is $10 as is the soft shell crab golden dippers.

Find Mr. Bao at The Exchange, Shop 7/1 Little Pier Street, Haymarket.

Lorraine’s Patisserie

If you’re looking for some dolci tones to sooth that sweet tooth look no further than Lorraine’s Patisserie. Pastry and dessert chef, Lorraine Godsmark has been dishing out her sugared magic for over 20 years, and her treats are unmistakable. The macadamia salted caramel chocolate tart is only $6.50, the strawberry mascarpone cake layered with crisp coconut dacquoise is $10.50, and a rhubarb pie for $9.50. Heavenly!

Find Lorraine’s Patisserie at 320 George St, Sydney CBD, open Mon to Fri 8:30 am to 6:30 pm, Sat 10 am till 5 pm.

Have we missed any? Tell us your favourite CBD cheap eats!

Behind on the rent? Uni rates got you down? Or realised you spend the majority of your money on food. Check out our 10 Best Cheap Eats in Sydney CBD.