Ugh, that stomach-sinking feeling when you've got a grand total of $37 in your bank account, four days before pay day. Well, don't sweat it, because we've got your back, penning a list of the best cheap eats on the Gold Coast. So, you can quit bulk-buying those mie goreng noodles now. Hurrah!
How many of our Gold Coast cheap eats have you already tried?
#1. Greek Street Grill
If you've ever spent a summer swaying your hips half-naked on a Mykonos beach or stumbling around the maze of laneways in Ios, chances are you devoured many a two Euro gyros – a staple diet item for any backpacker budget when in Greece. The guys at Surfers Paradise's Greek Street Grill import authentic pitas from the motherland, and know it’s not a true gyros until it’s filled with seasoned chips and slathered with garlicky tzatziki yoghurt. So while they're not two Euro (hey folks, this IS Australian prices) at $8.95 (make it a meal for $14.45) it still qualifies as cheap eats in our book.
At Nobby Beach it's $5 taco night EVERY Tuesday and, honestly, who doesn't love a good taco?! The guys at MexiCali have got you covered with this weekly special, serving up a selection of Southern Cali/Mexican-style tacos. Tuesdays are popular with the local crowd (because, tacos!) so make sure you call ahead. What are you waiting for? Book it in, sit back, and enjoy the sunset and good vibes.
#3. Bine Craft Beer Bar
$10 beer and bucket of wings every day between 4 - 6pm. No, that is not a typo. $10 beer and bucket-o-wings, EVERY DAMN DAY. This Nobby Beach craft beer bar is the ideal Happy Hour venue, with live music and an interesting selection of beers on tap that rotate weekly. Wings people, WINGS! Get down there.
#4. Alfred’s Diner
This Mermaid Beach diner-slash-menswear-boutique-slash-barber is our fave for a sneaky lunchtime burger. You actually can’t go wrong with anything on their menu, with prices ranging between $9-$14. We highly recommend the pulled pork burrito, particularly as a hangover remedy, or as brunch, or just a snack. You get the picture...
Look, there really isn't too much to say here other than this Palm Beach hot spot offer $2 OYSTERS every Friday between 4-6pm. Yes, you read that correctly. What are you waiting for?
#6. Cha Cha Japanese
One of those places that just seems like it's always there, Cha Cha Japanese at Broadbeach is a bit of a Gold Coast institution because it ticks all the right boxes. BYO, cheap, and delicious! They've got all your favourites: sticky pork gyoza, teriyaki salmon, nanban cuttlefish, seaweed salad, miso steak, and did we mention it was BYO?
#7. Sunhouse Surf
This is what life on the Southern Gold Coast is all about. The crew at Sunhouse Surf have nailed it with their surf-shop-come-café hangout. Now JR’s Smokehouse has landed with their barbequing aromas suckering many in off the street to sample their finger-licking-good fare (Fri to Sun only). Twelve-hour slow-cooked Texas beef brisket roll for 12 bucks? Get it in ya!
#8. Burger Crew
We love burgers and there’s some seriously fierce burger-making competition on the Coast. But when all you want to do is save your precious dollar bills - tight Tuesdays at Southport's Burger Crew is made for you; get a bangin' burger feed for just $6.
#9. One 50 Public House
There's no excuse for missing a pizza night out and every Wednesday Bundall’s One 50 Public House serves up gourmet pizzas that are big on taste, but small on price. At just 10 buck-a-roos per pizza, order a few and share them around. Cheap. As. Chips.
#10. Vintage Velvet
Thursdays not only rock as they bring us one step closer to the weekend, but it’s also $10 menu specials all day long at Surfers Paradise’s Vintage Velvet. Work on your tan in the Gold Coast's biggest outdoor patio (where it feels like granny's place with a make over), and tuck into steaks, seafood, chicken wings, burgers, and pizzas all for – you guessed it – 10 bucks!
#11. Miami Marketta
Withdrawals from your last summer escapade to South East Asia? Craving some hearty European home cooking? Friends can’t decide if they want sushi or souvlaki? Every Friday and Saturday night Miami's industrial zone transforms into an international street food market with creations to satisfy every taste. Take a culinary adventure without the expensive plane flight. Free entertainment, an $8 - $12 dish of your choice, chowed down at communal tables with 300 of your new best friends? Winning!
#12. Fiery Deli
Mexico not far enough south of the border for you? Then have you tried Burleigh Heads' Venezuelan eatery, Fiery Deli? Fiery’s spicy nachos are wickedly good value or wrap your lips around their arepas. Arepa - what? It’s a delicious cross between a burger and a taco, that’s what! Can't get to Burleigh? Look out for their monster yellow and red food cantina plying events around the Gold Coast.
#13. Captain Hook’s Seafood
No Gold Coast cheap eats list would be complete without mention of awesome fish-n-chip take out joint, Captain Hook's Seafood in Tugun. Ok, so it mightn't have had a facelift since the 90s, but we've got one word for you... calamari.
#14. Finders Keepers Bar and Dining Lounge
Cheap doesn't need to mean sitting in the park smashing take out. Finders Keepers moody restaurant and bar on Burleigh's James Street is another fancy option for a mid-week date night on a budget. Their weekly Wicked Wednesdays special includes three beautiful courses for a very respectable $25.
#15. The Wiener Haus
Want bangers that give bang for your buck? Served up from a cute mobile caravan doing the rounds of Gold Coast markets and shopping malls, the boys from The Wiener Haus dish up gourmet hot dogs with all the trimmings (beetroot, guacamole, sauerkraut, pineapple, bacon... you name it) - all for an easy tenner. Stalk them on social media and find where they're parked for the day.