Eating Out in Australia

If you’re on even the slightest budget in Australia, you’ll probably find you’re going to eat most of your meals in at home, buying most of your food at supermarket chains like Coles, Woolworths or IGA.

But if you’re living here for a long length of time, you’re going to want to eat out at least once in a while. Eating out in Australia can be an expensive affair. But there are a few gems that are inexpensive, or at least affordable, and still delicious.

Eating out in Australia can be an expensive affair, ut there are a few gems that are inexpensive — or at least affordable — and still delicious.

You might also (as I was so fortunate) find yourself in a position where you are taken out to some nicer, more expensive restaurants (whether through work, as in my case, or maybe even on dates or by visiting family members), so I have reviewed a few of those as well.

Of course, there’s always the chains (both national and international) that can be relied on for a cheap, filling meal when your budget’s running low, and I name a few of their most common deals.

If you make one day a week your “Dine Out” day, make it Tuesday.

Tuesdays are the “cheap” day when many restaurants offer cheaper meals or discounts (cinemas and other places also offer great deals on Tuesdays).

Another thing to watch out for is online coupons. Every day or every couple days the coupon sites get updated with new deals in every major city. Often they are deals that make nice restaurants more affordable or make mid-range places cheap.

Good deals sites to check out:

Check out my recommendations for specific cities:

• Sydney
• Perth
• Melbourne

Or read below for my overall recommendations applicable wherever you are in Australia.

Affordable food chains you can find anywhere Oz

Chocolateria San Churro

I’d seen this churros place all over Oz, but didn’t finally give it a try until recently in Perth. I love me some churros, but people seem to have trouble doing them right outside of Spain. While the dark chocolate dip was to die for, the churros themselves (and the regular milk chocolate dip) were pretty so-so. And you get just six scrawny churros on a plate for two, which runs at something like $15.

Not the best value in my opinion (especially when the churros were a bit lacking in flavor for my tastes). But again, that dark chocolate dip? Yum. So if you do have a huge craving for churros or chocolate, and you’re not holding to a steadfast budget (obviously you can get a lot more bang for you buck in many of the places I list below), San Churro’s is an OK place to indulge yourself.

Dominos

Watch out for Cheap Tuesdays ($5 or $6 pizzas for pickup, cheap subs also), and there are often a lot of good deals, especially if you’re based in a certain area and/or join their email list and/or order online. (For example, here in Perth we order from the Northbridge store and they always have better deals than the national ones sent out in the emails. Just check the vouchers section and put in your post code.)

Hungry Jack’s

The $5 Stunners meals come with cheeseburger/chicken burger (or double cheeseburger or whopper jr. for an extra $1), small fries, a small drink and an  ice cream sundae(chocolate, caramel or strawberry). When you want a filling meal on the cheap you can’t really beat that deal!

McDonald’s (aka Macca’s)

Fast food still isn’t as cheap as in the US, but McDonald’s has some good deals on occasion ($2 double cheeseburgers and the like) and of course you can always rely on the classic 50 cent ice cream cones and free wifi.

Nando’s

While it’s definitely more a bit more expensive than the other fast food places I’ve mentioned, Nando’s is a good place to eat if you’re looking to change things up but not splurge on a restaurant. The chicken is good, the peri peri is awesome, and you will be excruciatingly full after eating a full meal! If you’re really craving chicken but can’t afford Nando’s, of course there’s also always places like KFC, Red Rooster, Chicken Treat, or as I mentioned before (if you’re in Perth) Chilliz.

Pie Face

Aussies love their pies, and Pie Face serves up a wide range of relatively inexpensive, delicious pies. If you are on a super tight budget, you can get the mini pies for quite cheap.

Pizza Hut

The $5 Pizza Mia is always a good value, and some places have really good deals at various times. (On our road trip we found one Pizza Hut that had all large pizzas – even the most gourmet of the gourmet – for just $5 at lunchtime.)

Subway

Again,  you won’t find no $5 foot longs here. But you will often find $7 foot longs (though not everywhere and only applies to a select few subs). If you’re craving a chicken sub, expect to pay $10 for a foot long. Yes, it sucks. However, another budget alert: breakfast subs can be had for a very low price (usually around $5 for a foot long), and I have seen deals in some places where if you order a breakfast sub between 8 and 9 am you can get it for just $2! It’s basically an omelette on a sub… Worth looking into!