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 home town, 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 restaurants for cheap eats – whether you are a meat lover or a vegetarian.
Best Cheap Eats in Auckland City
Dabbawala Simply Indian
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 Dabbawala Simply Indian stepped in. Just like Mukunda’s used to, Dabbawala serves up delicious vegetarian – as well as meat heavy – Indian food at inexpensive prices. The samosas here are some of the best I have ever tasted. Dabbawala Simply Indian is absolutely one of the best cheap eats in Auckland if you are craving awesome Indian food.
Address: 12/1 Beresford Square, Auckland CBD
Cost: Lunch Special with curry, rice, pappadum and naan from $12.99
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 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: 1 Queen Street and St Kevin’s Arcade, 183 K’Road – Auckland CBD
Cost: Large Poutine $10
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 favourite – the garlic knots, which are pretty filling and only cost $4 for 3! One of the iconic places to eat in Auckland CBD.
Address: 265 Queen Street, 183 K’Road and 49 Fort Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: $4-$6 per large slice of pizza
One of many Asian food halls in the city, Albert Street’s Food Alley offers up every Asian cuisine you could think of from Indonesian to Korean to sushi – and at a very good price. I like to get small dishes from a few different restaurants because it’s so hard to choose what to eat. This is one of the best places to grab lunch in Auckland.
Address: 9 Albert Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: $10 – $12 for a meal
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 from $12.50
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
Jango Mumbai Street Food
I am yet to go to India but if the street food there is as good as the stuff at Jango Mumbai Street Food – I will be a happy girl. Jango Mumbai Street Food serves up authentic – you guessed it – Mumbai style street food. I love the vada pavs – a traditional Indian snack of fried bread with a potato patty, spices and chutney. The chai tea and samosas are also delicious. A great choice for a quick lunch in the Auckland CBD.
Address: 5 Elliott Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: Vada Pav $4, Samosa $2.50
Photo sourced from Popa’s Pretzels
Stuffed pretzels is the name of the game at Popa’s – well that’s my favorite thing they do. Located on Queen Street across from Aotea Square, Popa’s is one of a cluster of little permanent food stalls that serve up cheap but delicious food to go. Along with their sweet and savoury stuffed pretzels, which they make fresh everyday, they also do Manakish – a Lebanese pizza. And there are vegetarian and vegan options on the menu too.
Address: 350 Queen Street, Auckland CBD
Cost: Stuffed pretzels from $5
Located on K Road, unpretentious Sri Pinang is one of the best places for Malaysian food in Auckland, and it’s cheap to boot. 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 $9, Mains starting from $16
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 $11
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 $11
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 $5
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?
If you liked this post, make sure to check out my other food related posts: