If we know two things to be true, it’s that students love a good deal and Melbourne has an epic food scene. So, we thought it was about time we created a new blog series dedicated to finding the best cheap eats around Melbourne.
With our Display Suite at University Square recently opening next door to the University of Melbourne, we decided there was no better area to focus on for our first blog edition of #CheapEats. Melbourne University students are spoilt for choice being in the heart of Carlton, which itself is known for having a strong food culture. Although Italian food used to be Carlton’s claim to fame, there’s now a whole lot more to the suburb’s food scene than just pizza and pasta. Check out our favourite eateries listed below for some seriously good food at student-friendly prices.
1. Momo Sushi – handrolls, onigiri and more
163 Pelham Street, Carlton
660 Swanston Street, Carlton
At the top of our list, with not one but two locations around Melbourne University, is Momo Sushi. Sushi might be an obvious budget option, but we just couldn’t leave this joint out of our list. What makes this place special is their tasty hand rolls, which come in some unique flavours including Thai chicken, roasted tea prawn and citrus tofu – trust us, they are all delicious! And of course, the hand rolls come at a bargain price between $2 – $3. However, take note that they only take cash.
Our recommendation: the roasted tea prawn hand roll. It may sound unusual, but you won’t regret it.
2. Woodside Green – homemade Italian comfort food
87 Cardigan Street, Carlton
If it’s week 12 of semester and you’re in need of some serious comfort food and coffee, head straight to Woodside Green. This corner café on Queensberry Street serves up warm, homemade food all day long – including toasted wraps, burgers, focaccias, pies, lasagne and a veggie slice. If you’re really in the mood to treat yourself, they have potato cakes and dim sims too. All lunch options will set you back less than $10, so there’s really no reason to not check this one out.
Our recommendation: the falafel wrap – loved by vegetarians and meat-eaters too.
3. Ilbon Kimbab – Korean-style sushi
226 Pelham Street, Melbourne
You could easily miss this hole-in-the-wall restaurant but we’re pretty happy we found this hidden gem. Located just around the corner from The Spot and right across from our University Square and Infinity Place buildings, this joint specialises in Korean cuisine. Here you’ll find Korean-style sushi rolls for less than $3 and bibimbap rice bowls for less than $8. This place is also cash-only, but if you pop in after 6pm all sushi is half price, so you’ll only need a couple coins.
Our recommendation: any sushi roll with kimchi – truly a match made in heaven.
4. Heartattack and Vine – gourmet rolls and salads
329 Lygon Street, Carlton
Don’t be fooled by the up-market interiors at Heart Attack & Vine, this Lygon Street restaurant serves gourmet meals at affordable prices. Grab any breakfast roll in the morning for $10 on the way to uni or enjoy Venetian-style bar food for $4 with a well-deserved drink after a day of studying. Take a look at their menu online and we know you won’t be able to resist checking this place out.
Our recommendation: the porchetta roll. The slow-roasted pork is carved right in front of you, then served on a warm ciabatta roll with homemade salsa verde – need we say more?
5. Don Tojo – Japanese bowls and bento boxes
164 Cardigan Street, Carlton
Run by the same people behind the much-loved Don Don restaurant in the CBD, Don Tojo serves up delicious Japanese food unbelievably fast. We’re serious when we say you’ll never wait more than 60 seconds. Here you’ll find steaming bowls of authentic Japanese curry, fresh sashimi, flavour-packed bento boxes and more. All meal options are less than $10 and miso soup is only $1.50, which will be essential with winter just around the corner.
Our recommendation: the chicken curry don, its simple but always hits the spot (and it’ll only cost you $7.70).
6. Pidapipo – artisan Italian gelato
299 Lygon Street, Carlton
To complete this list, we just had to include a treat for those days when you have three assignments due and a mid-semester test to study for too. And what better way to treat yourself than with ice cream? Pidapipo specialises in artisan Italian gelato and has a large range of insanely good flavours, including dairy-free and vegan options. A scoop will cost you $4.50 and we promise every cent will be worth it.
Our recommendation: you can’t go past the hazelnut flavour. It also wouldn’t be a true Pidapipo experience without adding hot Nutella for an extra $1.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our first edition of #CheapEats! You can expect many more of these posts to come as we discover great food joints around different universities and in different areas of Melbourne.
While you’re trying out the six awesome spots listed above, make sure you come visit our University Square Display Suite and meet our team! We are located next to the Melbourne Business School and the Melbourne Law School, so lucky for us we are right in the middle of all these locations.
You can also arrange a Display Suite booking online in advance – we look forward to meeting you soon!