It's no secret that Auckland is an expensive place to live, but there's no need for you to be forking out half of your pay packet on a sniff of avocado — though there's always the place and time for that. There are plenty of cheap and cheerful establishments to keep both your stomach and wallet happy. Here's seven days of affordable eats to get you through the week.
Better Burger is a burger joint that channels Californian sensation In-N-Out, serving classics including hamburger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger and a vege-friendly mushroom burger. Hit this place up if you want to pay the price of a fast food joint but get more bang for your buck. They are around $5 for a burger and less than $15 for a combo with a soda and fries (which is a must have). My favourite is their fried portobello mushroom burger with a thick and creamy chocolate milkshake. It's cheat day every day.
This minimalist takeaway shop in Epsom specialises in affordable bubble tea, bao and sides. In the tea department, diners can take their pick from taro, matcha, papaya and chocolate with toppings including aloe vera, grass jelly, cheese and salt cream. The bao are well priced, at $6 for either braised pork belly, bulgogi, deep fried tofu or korean fried chicken. Every Monday that drops to $4 all day, while there are several other weekday deals and a happy hour on Friday.
If Monday isn't a bit of a struggle you're not trying hard enough on the weekend. If you're a tad dusty head to Coffix on Elliot Street, K' Road or Newmarket and soothe your weekend wounds with strong cup of java for only $2.50.
While you might think that it's impossible to have a quality meal out in Ponsonby for more than $20, Freeman & Grey is here to prove you wrong by serving $5 pizzas at the prime lunch (12-2pm) and dinner hours (5-7.30pm) everyday. What a steal. Better yet, we are not talking about your value cheese and Hawaiian range, but a gourmet selection with the likes of chicken and brie, Moroccan lamb and Mexican-style loaded with corn chips and beef.
Ever wondered where to find some authentic and tasty Vietnamese food without paying a whole lot? Sam Woo in Otahuhu has got you covered with a bowl of raw beef pho or some fantastic lemongrass chicken or grilled beef vermicelli salad all for $10. The salt and pepper fried squid as well as the fried spring rolls and summer rolls are also essentials that will take you straight to the streets of Vietnam.
Staying true to the Taco Tuesday culture, every week Mexico offers a fried chicken taco and margarita for $12. The eatery's popular fried chicken is stuffed into a soft shell taco with chipotle crema, smoky paprika, tomato pico de gallo, picked coriander and jalapeño. Then, you have the choice of ten Frida's Margaritas or a Mexico soda. The deal starts from 12pm and runs until late.
This healthy café is every vegetarian and vegan foodie's heaven. It has a fresh salad, smoothie and juice bar and also serves a range of hot pots and soups with a daily-changing menu. Moreover, there are a range of sizes available with a small box (two choices) starting from $8.50, making it perfect for a quick lunch without hurting the wallet. As well as using the freshest plant-based ingredients, it also has an innovative menu, serving dishes such as creamy vegan mac 'n' cheese and tofu pad thai. Did I also mention that all purchases come with their homemade complimentary hummus?
Pancakes are always a good idea for breakfast, lunch and dinner, especially when you can choose between a mouthwatering range of sweet and savoury. This little kiosk on Lorne Street serves authentic Korean fried pancakes all year round and you are bound to wait for at least 15 minutes no matter what time of the day you go. There are many crowd favourites but the Hawaiian ham, cheese and pineapple ($5) is a must try. If you have a sweet tooth, then just listen to your heart and grab a sweet three-way combo to try the red bean, chocolate and cinnamon pancakes for just $10.
While you might've visited high profile Malaysian eateries such as PappaRich and Mamak in Auckland, Uncle Man's is your one-stop shop for some flaky roti, chicken curry, seafood laksa and the famous char kuey teow and mee goreng — all for less than $15 per dish. Unlike other Malaysian eateries, Uncle Man's has an extensive dessert menu featuring guilty pleasures such as fried banana with ice cream as well as dessert roti including the roti tower — a must try.
It's a fiesta at The Mexican Café every day. The eatery has an amazing $15 dinner menu that keeps your belly and wallet happy with the likes of ensaladas, quesadillas and nachos. Make sure you make the most of their daily 5—7pm happy hour with $5 tacos. Wash it down with a $5 tap beer and you'll be dancing away.
This classic English pub is famous for its after work atmosphere and insanely cheap bottles of Heineken — we're talking $4 a pop. If beer isn't your thing, there's also $7 cider and $7 house spirits. The don't call it Thirsty Thursday for nothing. You can also pick yourself up steak, chips and salad for $20. While it's not exactly a culinary masterpiece, it does the job after a few of those bargainous bevvies.
This Indian restaurant and takeaway eatery is neck and neck with longterm establishment Paradise. However, with the same offerings (a restaurant, takeaway and buffet store) along the same street, you are guaranteed a seat and the same deliciousness — try the Chicken 65 and biryani. You'll pay around $10 for most things on the menu, but if you choose to takeaway a small curry will cost you a meagre $6. You're welcome.
This cult Italian eatery used to be a hidden gem, but it has reaped a string of accolades in recent years, including repeatedly placing in Metro's Top 50 Restaurants. While it's rare to find affordable Italian cuisine in the city, you're in for a treat with Coco's happy hour deals. You can get yourself a classic pasta pomodoro for only $13 from 5-6pm, Monday to Friday. Feel free to wash it down with $7 Prosecco, pilsner and house wine.
The hole-in-the-wall restaurant is tightly packed between a karaoke bar and Scorpio Bar on lower Albert Street. Don't plan on taking an oversized dining party along for the ride, the restaurant can only cater for up to ten people around the edges of the floorspace. The menu boasts several different kinds of ramen, but on weekdays from 12-2pm, a tonkotsu ramen can be paired with a Japanese curry on rice for just $9.50. Further lunch deals include a teriyaki chicken set with salad and miso, and a sushi pack alongside pork based noodles.
Consider this one your warm up to dinner. Every Tuesday to Saturday from 4-7pm, Britomart tiki bar Talulah hosts tropical cocktails at $10 a pop. Find a spot on the venue's plush velvet seating and pick up rum-fuelled classics like mai thai and dark 'n' stormy, a tropical banger comprising falernum rum, banana and lemon, sweet and tangy daiquiris and two for one mimosas.
Ponsonby staple Little Easy serves as the ideal place to warm up for the evening ahead (before you come back) and fit in some dinner. Everyday between 3-7 pm the bar pours $5 Heinekens and $5 Soho wines, while the kitchen pumps out burgers with fries for only $13.
Another favourite along the Sandringham curry mile, Shubh serves home-style Punjabi cuisine. Once you get past the line, either take your pick from the pre-made selection sitting out on the front counter or sit down and order the full thali. Available from 10.30-6pm, the feast includes two curries, rice, two roti, yogurt and pickle for just $9. In the curry department there's capsicum and soya nuggets, eggplant and potatotes, peas and cheese (and a whole lot more) — all well priced from $3.50-4.50 for a small serving and $6-8 for a large. The samosas will set you back $1.50 and you can pick up three dahi puri for $5.
If you're after a wholesome healthy lunch or some power snacks in the afternoon before a gym session, then Sushi Pac has got you covered. This cheap sushi bar boasts a huge variety of fresh sushi options including your standard sushi rolls at around $1.20 a piece and the unconventional purple rice rolls, katsu chicken nigiri and delicious sides such as seaweed that are around the $2 mark. Also, if you visit them half an hour before they close (depending on which store you go to), everything is half price.
You've probably heard of (or been to) Barilla. Yes, they still hold the title as one of Auckland's best dumpling joints that offers a three-page-long menu of dumplings with all sorts of fillings including fish and nuts. Make sure you also get your hands onto some of their delicious siu mai, priced at around $15 but definitely worth it. Going with a big group, the large portions will make sure everyone leaves with a full belly and a wallet likely to be still very full.
You won't find a cheaper breakfast than what's on offer at Italian bakery Il Forno. Forget shelling out $20 for a plate of smashed avo, when you picked up a freshly-made bagel with avocado, feta and lemon for $8.50. The potato gratin is another must-try; the crispy, cheesy dish comes served with wilted spinach, prosciutto, a poached egg and toast for $10. Elsewhere, there's the full cooked breakfast ($14) and killer lasagne ($13). A single shot coffee will set you back $3.50.
With winter just around the corner, I know we are all yearning for something hot, sizzling and bubbling. Nol Bu Ne has got you sussed with its Korean hot soups and sizzling plates, which all come served with complimentary side dishes. If you are a lover of spicy and sweet, do not go past Nol Bu Ne without trying the hot sizzling plate with pork or squid, all served between the range of $12-$16.