The best cheap eats on Brunswick Street

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The best cheap eats on Brunswick Street

Bimbo in Fitzroy, formerly known as Bimbo Deluxe

Now, whether your true passion is your band and you are living off a hospitality wage on the side...

Or, you have a modest paying job related to The Arts, or you were flushed before the weekend but you pushed your luck a little too hard at Crown Casino, the fact is that a lot of us live a life of scrimping and don’t have excess coin to dedicate to eating out.

Amid a possibly delayed financial apocalypse and an abundance of schmick, decked-out, and pricey new restaurants popping up around the city, the unsung heroes of Melbourne dining are those places offering decent deals for hardly a dime, and though the popular strip can trade on thoroughfare traffic alone, it’s possible to find good food options that won’t do your wallet too much damage.

Cruzao Arepa Bar

Direct from Venezuela to your belly, arepas are round, flat breads made from corn meal, stuffed with good stuff and grilled, and the ones from this newly established cantina are just as good as the ones you buy off a friendly street vendor up there in the north of South America. Arepa fillings include tasty options like black bean and feta, roast pork leg and shredded chicken with avocado, and the surprisingly filling corn pockets are all under $10 each. Almost the entire menu is gluten free, and there’s vegetarian options which means less whinging from those with dietary requirements, and more time for mojitos. Stick around for some live Latin American music and salsa dancing with a Spanish speaking guapo. Que bueno!

365 Brunswick St


I’m pretty sure not liking fish and chips is un-Australian, but it seems like the image of this classic dish is an unhealthy batch of fried up freezer goods, covered in chicken salt and wrapped up in the pages you are reading this on now. Enter Hooked – delicious and interesting seafood to go, which you can make as healthy or as indulgent (hi hangover!) as you like. Toeing the line between the corner shop classic and the gourmet seafood that leaves most wallets wincing, Hooked use high quality and fresh ingredients, but still give you prices you can afford. The lunchbox special, served between 12pm and 4:30pm every day of the week lets you choose from grilled/battered fish or grilled/salt and pepper calamari with your choice of salad (oh my liege, the crisp shreds of sweet potato in this salad will have you scorning all other salads for not measuring up) and hand cut chips, or sticky rice and bok choy for just $9.90. If you are a struggling student type, flash your card for a student hook-up and choose from fish with snack chips or rice and bok choy, or a fish or veggie burger coming in at a cool $7.90. Not just for North-siders either – there’s another one located on Chapel St in Windsor.

384 Brunswick St

Bimbo Deluxe

This is a genuine no-brainer. The notorious $4 pizza (at nominated times, including 12pm-4pm on weekdays, 7pm-11pm Sunday-Thurs and 7pm-9pm on Saturdays) has spawned so many imitations and resulted in a plethora of competing pizza specials blanketing this fine city, but Bimbo’s manage to hold their own and constantly deliver consistency. Each pizza on the vast menu is a thin-crusted, un-sliced, interesting and delicious disc of happiness. Bimbo’s is an instant sell on food, but it’s also assisted by the atmosphere. The rooftop beer garden is the perfect place to study or read a book on a sunny day, and the downstairs area is a little like being in your own lounge room, but instead of your mum cleaning up after you, it’s the super babe from the bar. Oh, and there’s also a never-ending supply of booze in your lounge room now. And celiacs are celebrating good times with the subtle introduction (FUCK GLUTEN placards on their Bimbo’s baby and Lucky Coq logos, plastered all over the windows, virtually giving the finger to the world of wheat) of gluten free pizza bases, for just an extra 2 bones.

376 Brunswick St (cnr Rose St)


‘Palooka’ is a word originating in the U.S. in the 1920s meaning a stupid or oafish person. Based on the American comic book character Joe Palooka, a boxer, over time the word evolved into a term of endearment as a simple but lovable character. One of the best value dinners on Brunswick St, Palookaville restaurant and bar gives you delicious food at really cheap prices. Every main on the menu is $14 and is served up better and cheaper than you could plate it up at home. The extensive options, including crisp roasted duck, BBQ beef spare ribs, twice cooked pork belly and chicken saltimbocca, as well as some vegetarian mains. The principle here is no luxury, no ‘fluff’ and no bullshit – just good quality ingredients prepared well, plus drinks at pub prices to enjoy in a relaxed and casual atmosphere.

416 Brunswick St

Also check out:

This is only a small slice of the affordable dining options along Brunswick St. Other financially conscious choices for us scrimpers and savers are:

Viet Rose

Lunch special menu and cheap laksa and pho all the time.

363 Brunswick St

Naked for Satan

80c pintxos for lunch but don’t be a dick – buy a drink.

285 Brunswick St

Le Cellier

Madame Sousou’s little sister – a baguette, salad and dessert lunchbox for $13.50.

Shop 2, 231 Brunswick St