As a student, Canberra can be pretty expensive, but I'm gradually finding cheap dining options.
These lists get out of date very quickly, and I can be lazy, so I've indicated the year of last visit.
- Civic Asian Noodle House. Noodle-based mains are around $12.50, which is pretty competitive. Service is often ridiculously fast, as I've opened a novel and only read half a page before being served my laksa (2011).
- Canberra Labor Club. Pay the cover charge ($1 if you're not from the ACT, possibly $5.50/year if you are) and you get access to a range of weekly specials - a $9.90 parmi and soft drink on Monday nights, a $7.90 schnitzel on Tuesdays, a comparably cheap steak on some other night, and something fish-based on a different night. Comfy chairs and mostly friendly staff (2011).
- Burmese Curry House. Distract the kid at the cash register away from his computer and you'll have access to a range of inexpensive and interesting bain-marie Burmese curries for under $10 (2011).
- Licensed Grocer on Balmain. Get to this obscure edge of the ANU campus early enough in the morning and you can buy yesterday's sandwiches at half price - around $2.25 each. They also have excellent prices for flavoured milk - $2.70 for 600 ml, which compares favourably with the $3.30 that the bakery charges (2011).
- Uni House. On Thursdays, spend $11 for a pie, chips, and salad with beer, wine, or a soft drink (2011).
- Zeffirelli. After growing up in Adelaide, I was shocked to find that cheap Italian dining options are so hard to find in Canberra. A short, one hour stroll from Civic and you can get a medium pizza for $10.50-15.00, and very cheap house wine (2011).
Further suggestions always very welcome! I'm sick of going to the same restaurants all the time!