Want to know where to find cheap eats in Auckland? It’s not as hard as you would think to find good quality cheap food in Auckland – read on to see my top picks…
One of the main complaints I hear from travelers that make it to my beautiful home country of New Zealand is how expensive it is. Especially the food.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Sure, New Zealand is no South East Asia when it comes to prices, I won’t pretend that you can eat out in New Zealand for next to nothing, but if you know where to look you can find some fantastic cheap eats.
In Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city and my hometown, this is particularly true. Cheap Eats in Auckland do exist – and they are delicious!
Auckland is a city bursting at the seams with culture and that is reflected in the Auckland food options – with a particularly large focus on delicious (and cheap!) Asian food.
There may be a number of fine dining restaurants in Auckland, but there are so many options for cheap food in Auckland too. In fact, I would say that the best restaurants in Auckland are not the most expensive – the best places to eat in Auckland, in my opinion, are the more down to earth and affordable options.
As I usually stay with my Dad downtown, which is where most travelers visiting Auckland also stay, this guide to cheap places to eat in Auckland is concentrated on the CBD and Karangahape (K) Road – luckily this area is also home to the best food in Auckland.
So if you are visiting Auckland soon, check out my guide to the best Auckland City cheap eats – whether you are a meat-lover or a vegetarian.
Best Cheap Eats in Auckland City
One of the absolute must-eat places in Auckland is Giapo in Britomart – home to the best ice cream in Auckland, and they are ice creams like no other!
Eating all the delicious flavours at Giapo is only half the fun – they have changed everything about ice cream including why we buy it. Lonely Planet even listed it as the best ice cream in the world.
The whole experience is mind-blowingly good and when you choose ice cream designs like the colossal squid, it feels like you are eating a piece of art. There is even wearable ice cream! Or selfie cones that all intentionally created to change the function of ice cream. It’s inspiring because I have never seen ice cream served in that way.
While it’s not necessarily cheap, the ice cream at Giapo is good value and start at $9, with the more out-there creations going for $20-$30. They are 100% worth splurging on, and you get free tasters. It’s like going to an art gallery, being educated about the art, then getting to eat it.
Believe me – you don’t want to miss Giapo if you are visiting Auckland.
Address: 12 Gore Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: Ice creams start at $9.50
Rasoi Vegetarian Restaurant
Now that my favorite Indian place that I had been going to for years has gone (R.I.P. Mukunda’s) I had to find a new place – luckily Rasoi Vegetarian Restaurant also offers delicious vegetarian Indian dishes.
Just like Mukunda’s used to, Rasoi serves up delicious vegetarian Indian food at inexpensive prices. I especially love the thalis, and the Masala Dosa is on point.
Rasoi Vegetarian Restaurant is absolutely one of the best cheap restaurants in Auckland if you are craving awesome Indian food.
Address: 211 K’Road, Auckland CBD
Cost: Small curry and rice $8.50, Masala Dosa $13.50
Photo sourced from Lord of the Fries
Lord of the Fries
This Australian Vegetarian chain serves up a variety of delicious fries including a vegetarian version of Canada’s favorite dish – poutine (what’s better than crispy fries covered in cheese curds and gravy – NOTHING!), along with vegetarian hot dogs, burgers, breakfast sandwiches, and sides.
There are also vegan options. Definitely put this one on your list of places to eat in Auckland – their fries may end up being the best you have ever had.
Address: St Kevin’s Arcade, 183 K’Road – Auckland CBD
Cost: Large Poutine $10.50, Burgers from $9
Sal’s Pizza is a New York-style pizza joint started by a New Yorker and a Kiwi 15 years ago. There are a number of stores around the city – and country – including Queen Street and K’Road.
You can grab pizza by the slice, a whole pie, chicken wings, or – my favorite – the garlic knots, which are pretty filling and only cost $4.50 for 3! One of the best cheap restaurants in Auckland CBD.
Address: 265 Queen Street, 183 K’Road and 49 Fort Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: $4-$6 per large slice of pizza
Photo sourced from Food Truck Garage
Food Truck Garage
The Food Truck Garage is all about fast food made healthy, and the burgers, tacos, and salads on offer are so flavorsome and delicious that you won’t miss the fat-laden originals.
Their house-made sodas that include Old-fashioned lemonade and Ginger pop are awesome too. Food Truck Garage is one of the best restaurants in the Auckland CBD, and one of the healthiest too.
Address: Shed 1, City Works Depot, 90 Wellesley St West, Auckland CBD
Cost: Burgers and wraps from $15.50
7 Siri Sri Lankan
If you are a lover of Sri Lankan food or would like to try it for the first time – check out the shipping container restaurant, 7 Siri, on Elliott Street, or their main restaurant on Sandringham Road.
They offer traditional Sri Lankan foods such as appa (poppers), and a range of curries, roti, curry puffs, and dosa.
Address: 11 Elliott Street, Auckland CBD and 580 Sandringham Road, Sandringham
Cost: Appas start at $2, Curry puffs are $3 and a Paratha curry meal is $15
One of the most iconic Auckland eateries, No1 Pancake is one of my brother’s favorites and there are always lines for their cheap and delicious Korean pancakes filled with meats, vegetables, or sweet options.
If you want something quick and not too filling – grab one of their pancakes. It’s one of the best takeaways in Auckland.
Address: 2 Lorne Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: Pancakes start at $4
The new kid on the block, offering some of the best dumplings in Auckland – make sure you don’t miss Sumthin Dumplin!
With a range of different dumplings and delicious sauces, Sumthin Dumplin is great for a quick meal on the go, and is one of the best lunch places in Auckland. The chicken dumplings are my absolute favorite but they also have pork, beef, pork and prawn, and vegetarian offerings.
Address: 12 O’Connell Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: Regular servings of six dumplings start at $10.50
If you haven’t tried Indian Kati rolls yet, then get ye down to Kati Grill right away! Kati rolls are India’s answer to the kebab and are made with paratha bread wrapped around roasted and marinated meat or vegetables.
Kati Grill was the first restaurant to offer Kati rolls in New Zealand, and they know their stuff. There are lots of options for both meat-eaters and vegetarians, and I’m partial to the Paneer Tikka roll, made with Indian cheese.
A unique place to eat in Auckland.
Address: 146 K’Road, Auckland CBD
Cost: Kati rolls starting from $11
If you are a lover of fried chicken, you have to try the Taiwanese fried chicken at Kai Eatery! This sleek shipping container restaurant just off Queen Street offers delicious bowls, out of this world bao, and of course – a gigantic fried piece of marinated and butterflied chicken breast.
Another great spot for food on the run, make sure you try one of their signature drinks too – they offer a wide selection of teas, milkshakes, and smoothies.
Address: 1 Rutland Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: Bao start from $9, Xtra Large Fried Chicken $11
Located on K Road, unpretentious Sri Pinang is one of the best places for Malaysian food in Auckland, and it’s cheap to boot – although it is one of the pricier options on the list, with mains starting at $17. If you asked locals to vote on the top restaurants in Auckland, this little gem would be on the list.
Make sure you book because it isn’t always open when you think it will be, and it’s very popular when it is. They do BYO so bring a bottle of wine to make it even cheaper.
Address: 356 K’Road, Auckland CBD
Cost: Roti curry $10, Mains starting from $17
Little Turkish Cafe
I admit that pretty much every time that I have been to Little Turkish Cafe on K’Road has been in the wee hours of the morning after a big night out at Eagle Bar down the road, but I always remember eating the falafel kebab here and it’s always delicious.
Along with a range of kebab options, they also do pizza, salads, samosas, and desserts. And they allow BYO! One of the best eats in Auckland for sure.
Address: 217 K’Road, Auckland CBD
Cost: Kebabs from $12
Photo sourced from Better Burger
Better Burger is New Zealand’s version of In N’ Out – simple burgers done well. But what makes it even better in my eyes is that they also do a vegetarian burger, and it’s pretty damn amazing.
Try their crumbed portobello mushroom burger for yourself, or grab a beef burger if you are a carnivore. Their fries are awesome too. One of the top food places in Auckland if you are a burger lover.
Address: Britomart Transport Centre, 31 Galway Street and 29 Vulcan Lane – Auckland CBD
Cost: Burger meal with burger, fries, and soda from $12.50, Burger only from $7.50
Best Ugly Bagels
The place to go for genuine Montreal style bagels in Auckland – Best Ugly Bagels is the spot! From the classic bagel with cream cheese through to bagel sandwiches stuffed with everything you could imagine, Best Ugly bagels may be ugly, but they sure are tasty.
Address: City Works Depot, Cnr Wellesley and Nelson Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: Bagel with cream cheese $7
So there you have it folks, my pick of the best cheap food in Auckland with, hopefully, something for everyone.
Have you got any other cheap places to eat in Auckland City that you think I should add to the list?
Where to Stay in Auckland
For a solid mid range choice in Auckland, I would recommend the Pullman Hotel. The Pullman has a great location right by Albert Park and only a few minutes walk away from Queen Street. There is a restaurant, spa, fitness centre, and pool onsite.
If you are on more of a backpacker budget, Verandahs Backpackers Lodge in Ponsonby is an excellent choice. It’s walking distance to the city and K Road, and offers comfortable dorm and private rooms.
There are also a number of great Airbnb options around Auckland, and staying at an Airbnb will allow you to experience more local neighborhoods.
The Best Insurance for Your Auckland Trip
Make sure you get travel and health insurance before your trip. Safety Wing is my go-to and they are cheap and easy to claim with – it auto-renews every month unless you turn it off so you don’t have to think about it for longer trips
Safety Wing also allows you to sign up when you are already traveling, unlike a lot of other travel insurance providers.
If you liked this post, make sure to check out my other food-related posts:
- The Best Louisiana Food Guide to Tantalise your Tastebuds
- The Best Cheap Eats Hong Kong Guide
- The Best Markets in London
- Eating Anchorage and Other Tales from the City
- World Dishes: New Zealand Corn Fritters Recipe
- World Dishes: Italian Gnocchi Recipe
Post fully updated and added to in November 2019.