Cheap Adelaide Restaurants

Being occasionally stingy, I've compiled a list of some of my favourite cheap places to eat in Adelaide.

These lists get out of date very quickly, and I can be lazy, so I've indicated the year of last visit.

Unley Road

  • Raj on Taj. Just F' Me takeaway - feeds two for about $16. Menu is very much 'standard Indian' with few exciting surprises. (2009)
  • La Tombola. If you can get a two for one voucher from the Entertainment Book or similar, it's highly recommended because you get chili flakes. Should be standard in all eateries. (2010)
  • Royal Tandoori. Very inexpensive mains ($9-12) and very inexpensive house wine! Rarely too busy. A good selection of interesting dishes. It's in the Entertainment Book, too. (2012)

Adelaide City

  • New India. Hindley St (west of Morphett St.). Great Indian food. Gopal and his crew are the friendliest people you've ever met. Inexpensive wine. We regularly visit to debrief after a difficult day at work, to celebrate after a triumphant day at work, or to just eat terrific curry. (2016)
  • Fasta Pasta. Pasta for $9.90 - $13.90, with all the parmesan cheese you can stuff in your pockets. No longer gives you two pieces of bread per person, so the heady days of taking your surplus butter home are over - at least at the Pulteney St. and Glenelg franchises. The Parmesan cheese may also be delivered in a shaker with an unsatisfactory flow rate. The remedy is to unscrew the top and spoon the cheese out. Used to be free garlic bread at Pulteney St. if you hold a YHA/HI card. Glenelg franchise has closed down! (2010)
  • Vego and Lovin' It. Rundle St. The burgers are great, but get a half burger. By all accounts, it's half the bun, same amount of everything else. Service may be unreliable. Get there early (by noon) and cancel afternoon meetings. (2007)
  • Griffin's Head. Hindmarsh Square. Two for one parmis on Thursday night and $10 jugs of local beer. Local beer offer may have expired. Enquire about prices before you get a nasty non-refundable shock! Okay, it has expired, but they have $3 vodka with any mixer. Ask for a beer mixer and tell them to go easy on the vodka. Or not! (2008) Pub has since re-invented itself and removed Big Buck Hunter and I've not been game to eat there since. (2011)
  • The Duke. Currie St. Used to have $3.50 pizzas after 5pm with a drink purchase. On average, one pizza will feed one hungry person! They appear to be hideously busy and noisy on Friday nights. Keep an eye on the video screens advertising specials. We entered a competition to win a mountain bike and scored a free garlic bread! (note: the two things were unrelated). (2008)
  • The Laksa House. New food court at the Central Market. To be fair, most things at the market are inexpensive, but cheap food is more delicious when it has a smutty name! You can have either Wet Ho Fun or Dry Ho Fun. Personally, I like it dry. (2010)
  • Pancake House. It's not great, but it is great value - if you go when they have all you can eat pancakes! I personally struggle to eat three in one sitting, but if you're a professional pancake packer you'll probably polish off more. (2004)
  • Blue Lemon. North Terrace. Fend off the hunger pangs and they'll sell you a full-size baguette at a significant discount after about 3pm. (2010)
  • The Asian Gourmet. A Central Market institution. I go there for the laksa. Always have. Always will. (2011)
  • General Havelock. $20 for two parmis and two pints (of Cooper's Pale Ale or Tooheys Extra Dry). That feeds four people half a parmi and half a pint for $5! Offer may have long since expired. (2008)
  • Dumpling King. Avoid being taken in by the constant video advertising and you'll enjoy all the tea you can drink and an inexpensive array of dumplings and other foodstuffs. (2010)
  • Hawkers Corner. West Terrace. A choice between a range of inexpensive Asian cuisines. Parking can be troublesome, but it's worth the walk. I recently paid $9 for a Thai green curry, which included rice and was pleasingly fiery. Not open on Mondays. (2011)
  • Jerusalem. Hindley St. Sophie Scott writes, "Yeah you have to get past a bunch of guys smoking something sweet out the front watching bellydancers on the tv screen of the next door business, but Jerusalem rocks. We hit it for the same meal each time cos you just can't beat it. Standard platter - designed as an entree for two people but really have a ton of food on there and works as a main. Order two serves of bread with it and you're looking at about 12.50 each. We split the bread open (a flat pocketed bread) and stuff it full of lamb, hummus, falafel and (don't balk) cabbage. Sensational food and cheap. You simply cannot find a better falafel in town. Easy to get a table, super super fast service and just a couple of doors away from the best burlesque in town at the Crazy Horse."

North Adelaide

  • Montezumas on Melbourne St. is okay with a two-for-one voucher. The lunchtime soft drink and four taco deal is good for feeding two people (only one of whom is thirsty). (2011)
  • Zapatas on Melbourne St. is better than Montezumas with a two-for-one voucher, however the owner is a bit surly. He's less surly if you eat in, though! He may not have been the owner, or no longer is, as he has not been sighted for several years. (2010)

Elsewhere

  • The Exeter - Keg Bar. Semaphore Road, Exeter. Unlike the similarly named pub in the city, visiting this wonderful sea-side location (warning - you can't see the sea from the pub) will net you two parmis and a jug of beer or two imperial pints for $25 (2015).
  • Railway Hotel. St. Vincent St., Port Adelaide. Forget paying $25 for a schnitzel at a pub. Go to the Railway Hotel and pay $14! Nice selection of beer and intriguing taxidermy.
  • Ikea. Free coffee before they open! A $1.95 cooked breakfast! All-you-can eat pasta and soup on Thursday nights for $4.95 (haven't tried that one myself due to a scheduling conflict with Griffin's Head)! The only sour note is that most of the toilets are sealed shut - you might want to identify the active toilets at the start of your trip there to avoid embarrassment. Breakfast may no longer be quite so cheap - I have not been able to confirm this, nor get to Ikea before 10:30am. (2011)
  • Australia's Pizza House. If a $3.50 pizza is too cheap for you, the cheapest ones here are about $4.60 but you don't have to buy a beer. In fact, you probably couldn't even if you tried. Not nearly as good but tasty nonetheless, and you're more likely to be served on a Friday night. (2008)
  • Pagoda. Glen Osmond Road. 'Lunch packs' incorporating a main meal and rice for not much more than $6.00. Feeds one comfortably! They're also a rich source of plastic containers (as is Raj on Taj). (2010)
  • Blue Duck Cafe. Flinders University. It's certainly not cheap, but at the start of some academic years they'll have a sheet of vouchers. When I studied there in 2008, I grabbed a stack of about fifty that included a two-for-one 375mL Farmers Union Iced Coffee offer - that's 750mL for $2.40. This represents a significant saving for this South Australian staple food item. (2008)

Other hints

One way to get cheaper meals used to be to join the Adelaide Uni Union for $25. They used to give you an Ambassador Card, which gives you unlimited two-for-one discounts at a number of nice restaurants, though the list of participating restaurants seemed to be in decline. It doesn't look like the Union currently has this arrangement and the Ambassador Card alone is $199, which is probably worse value than..

An Entertainment Book, at about $60, has much wider variety of dining discounts (typically 25% off) and is terrific value if you eat out a lot.

Please email with me your own stingy ideas, or even reviews of these places if you felt compelled to try any after reading this. Let me know if any of the offers have expired or the prices inflated. Why won't you email me? :(