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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
Check out my interactive map to the best cheap eats in Auckland.
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 $11.50, small burgers from $8.50
Photo sourced from Lord of the Fries
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 $5 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: $5-$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 $16
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 and 18-26 Wellesley Street East, Auckland CBD
Cost: Regular servings of six dumplings start at $12.50
Harbour Eats at Commercial Bay
The new Commercial Bay development at the bottom of Queen Street is home to an excellent upscale food court, along the lines of the US-style food halls that have become very popular over the last few years.
Harbour Eats has so many choices but I highly recommend Wise Boys for flavor-filled and inventive plant-based burgers, South American Oven for authentic empanadas, Foodu for handmade Beijing-style dumplings, and Paella Pod for some of the best paella in Auckland.
Address: Harbour Eats, Commercial Bay, 21 Queen Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: Wise Boys burgers from $13, Foodu dumplings from $8, and empanadas from $7.
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, vegetarians, and vegans and I’m partial to the Paneer Tikka roll, made with Indian cheese.
A unique place to eat in Auckland.
Update May 2022: Kati Grill is temporarily closed. Checked their website for updated details.
Address: 146 K’Road, Auckland CBD
Cost: Kati rolls starting from $12.90
If you are a lover of fried chicken, you have to try the Taiwanese fried chicken at Kai Eatery! Located in the Commercial Bay food court on lower Queen Street, Kai 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: Commercial Bay Store, Harbour Eats, 7 Queen Street & CBD Container Store,1 Rutland Street, Auckland CBD.
Cost: Bao start from $10.50, Xtra Large Fried Chicken $14
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 $14.50
Top Cafe Dumpling House
Tucked away on Cross Street, near K’ Road, Top Cafe Dumpling House is renowned in Auckland for its simple but tasty dumplings, as well as Hot Pot and noodle dishes.
There are a lot of different pork dumpling options, as well as chicken, beef, vegetarian, and even a vegan dumpling.
Address: 22A Cross Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: 11 dumplings from $15
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: 22 Custom Street East, Auckland CBD and 45 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland
Cost: Burgers from $10, Fries $5
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 and Commercial Bay, Lower Albert Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: Bagel with cream cheese $7.90
While it isn’t the cheapest place to eat in town, Fed Deli is one of my new favorite lunch spots in Auckland with excellent New York and Montreal-style deli fare. Think smoked meats, authentic poutine (swoon!), matzo ball soup, rotisserie chicken, bagel sandwiches, and killer desserts like lemon meringue and cheesecake.
There is such a busy and friendly vibe there too, making it the perfect place to go with friends or solo – just grab a seat at the counter and watch the chefs in action.
Address: 86 Federal Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: Small matzo ball soup $13, small poutine $10.50, bagels & sandwiches from $14
Best Cheap Eats Desserts in Auckland
When making a list of the best cheap eats in Auckland, you can’t leave out the best cheap eats desserts! Here are a few of my favorites.
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 flavors 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 $10, with the more out-there creations going for $12-$25. 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 $10
The Pie Piper
Home to the best American-style sweet pies in Auckland, The Pie Piper is legit and decadently delicious.
It is hard to go past a massive slice of their lemon meringue, pecan, or coconut cream pie, but they also have delicious donuts, rainbow cake, cheesecake, and cinnamon rolls if you are looking for a different type of sweet treat.
They sell whole pies and cakes too – perfect if you want to impress someone on their birthday.
Address: 321 K’ Road, Auckland CBD
Cost: Mini pies start at $7.50
Toro Churro offers churros, long and thin Spanish-style donuts that are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, and Toro Churro does them very well.
These delicious donuts come with a range of drool-worthy sauces like caramel, nutella, and white chocolate, and they are great to grab on the go as they are made to order quickly and come in carry-away cardboard packaging.
Address: Shop 10, 350 Queen Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: Three churros with sauce $7
HKS Bubble Waffle
Started by a couple of sisters that are originally from Hong Kong, Hong Kong Station or HKS offers Hong Kong-style egg waffles, egg waffle ice cream cones, and milk teas.
I’m a big fan of their chocolate egg waffles by themselves, but if you are an ice cream fan you should definitely try one of their inventive waffle ice cream cones, using the egg waffle as the cone and packing it full of ice cream and other toppings.
Address: 1 Rutland Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: Waffle by itself from $8, Waffle icecream from $13
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
If you are on 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. In the city center, Haka Lodge is a great choice too.
For solid mid-range hotels in Auckland, I would recommend The Convent Hotel, a unique boutique hotel in Grey Lynn that is housed in a former nunnery, Nesuto Stadium which has sleek apartments in the heart of Auckland City, and Auckland Rose Park Hotel across from the rose gardens in Parnell.
If you are looking for luxury, there are fantastic options in Auckland too. Stay at The Hotel Britomart near the Viaduct, the stylish boutique Hotel De Brett, or The Grand by SkyCity, a classy hotel in the SkyCity complex downtown.
For vacation rentals, Auckland has a lot of choices. Here are the best picks for affordable, centrally-located, and highly-rated vacation rentals in Auckland:
- Parnell Suite in Secluded Garden Setting
- Downtown Apartment in Heritage Hotel With Rooftop Pool
- Central Devonport Garden View Apartment
- Classy Downtown Studio in Art Deco Hotel With Rooftop Pool
- Central Apartment in Heritage Landmark Hotel With Harbor Views
The Best Insurance for Your Auckland Trip
If you are traveling from outside New Zealand, 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