Grabbing yourself a great lunch in a big city while also being budget-conscious can often be quite a challenge. Striking the sweet balance between quantity, quality and price can seem like an unlikely feat, especially when work is calling you back to your desk. Luckily, we've rounded up some of the best cheap eats for under $13 that don't scrimp on flavour so you can avoid decision paralysis and beat the lunchtime rush.


Summer rolls, $8 or Bánh mì, $12 | Tem, 19 Wellesley Street
Tem's Vietnamese cuisine is up there with some of the best in the city, and it's ideal if you're after something light yet packed with flavour for lunch. If you're on the hungrier side, opt for a bánh mì - we love the caramelised braised pork and spicy lemongrass chicken. For a lighter option, we suggest their refreshing summer rolls, filled with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, carrot, peanuts, and your preferred combination of prawn and pork, spicy lemongrass chicken, or tofu and mushroom.

Chilli Cheese Dog, $12 | Good Dog Bad Dog, Commercial Bay
For when you're feeling like something a little naughty, Good Dog Bad Dog hits the spot. Opt for the chilli cheese dog - frankfurter, chilli mince, cheese sauce and parsley in a toasty bun. Don't worry, this hot dog isn't super spicy but if you're not a fan of a tingle on the tongue the mac & cheese dog ($13) and classic dog ($9) are also high up on our must-try list. 

Oatmeal Bowl, $10 - $11 | Goodlife Super Food Co., 47 Fort Street
If you're still in the mood for breakfast, or want something on the sweeter side, grab a delicious oatmeal bowl from Goodlife. Whole oats are soaked overnight in cashew milk and mixed with honey and vanilla extract, then finished with one of four flavour options - apple cinnamon, blueberry chia, maple walnut or choc banana.

Good Dog Bad Dog - Chilli Cheese

Tacos, $12 for 2 | Mr Taco, 75c Victoria Street West 
Located just steps from the Sky Tower, this charming taqueria is the place to go for authentic Mexican fare. At just $6 each, their tacos are a must-try - think fresh corn tortillas graced with impeccably cooked meats and an array of flavourful toppings. Vegetarian? Not to worry, they also do a jackfruit and a Mexican cactus option!

Dumplings or noodles, $12 | Dumpling Hours, 18 Wellesley Street
Dumpling Hours takes affordable dining to a whole new level, with every single dish priced at just $12. It's a culinary dream come true for those looking for quality food without breaking the bank. From the heartwarming wonton noodle soup to the prawn dumplings, each dish is crafted with precision and passion. 

Triangle kimbap, $5 for 1 | DosiRock, 39 Chancery Street 
If you're craving Korean flavours for your lunchtime fix, DosiRock is a great place to find yourself. Their kimbap is a perfect grab and go option that's deliciously moreish - better yet, for just $1 extra, you can get it deep fried. From tuna mayo to spicy pork, beef bulgogi and spam, there's plenty to choose form. 

Dumpling Hours
Mr Taco

Cold Sichuan style noodles, $12 | Perch, 23 Galway Street
Infused with soy, black vinegar and chili, these refreshing noodles still manage to pack a punch. If you’re looking for the feeling of a mini getaway during your lunch hour, they can be enjoyed in Perch’s gorgeous outdoor dining space alongside a steaming basket of their famous dumplings.

Taipei bao buns $12.50 | Kai Eatery, Commercial Bay 
Discover the charm of Kai Eatery, renowned for their quick yet satisfying meals. Amidst their diverse offerings, the Taipei Bao steals the show, featuring tender pork belly, pickled greens, cucumber, and roasted peanuts on a fluffy steamed bun—all for just $12.50. Mark this spot and immerse yourself in the taste of Taipei without breaking the bank.

2 pack sando or sushi, $8.50-$12 | Oji Sushi, Commercial Bay, Britomart & Auckland Fish Market 
Conveniently located in Britomart, Commercial Bay and the Auckland Fish Market, Oji Sushi is the number one stop for a delicious light lunch. If you're yet to try a sando (Japanese term for sandwich), you're missing out! Classic flavours like egg mayo, crispy prawn or katsu chicken are sandwiched between fluffy white bread for the perfect meal. If you're after a more substantial meal, their salmon and avocado sushi is where we'd put our money. 

Oji Sushi sando

Madam Mi, $12 or Baby Mi, $7.50  | Hello Mister, 5B Hardinge Street 
A Vietnamese street food joint, Hello Mister’s dedication to offering a menu that’s quick, delicious and healthy has made it a favourite of city centre office workers. The Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi is our pick – and it comes in a half size if you’re after a light lunch.

Housemade paninis, $9 | EOS Coffee, Queens Arcade Building, 34/40 Queen Street
EOS Coffee's paninis are a delicious lunch option that always hit the spot. Think airy fresh bread stuffed with slices of ham and lashings of gooey cheese. If a meat-free option is more up your alley they do a delicious version with basil pesto, tomato and of course, cheese - classic but decadent. 

Beef, Pork, Chicken Ball, $12.50 | Meat Balls, 41 Victoria Street West 
Meat Balls Korean style rissoles, otherwise known at Tteok-galbi are a delicious culinary delight made from meat, vegetables ad an original sauce. Take your pick from the beef, beef & pork, pork, chicken or meatless Tteok-galbi, one bite and its clear that the hype is real.

Hello Mister
Meat Balls

Cheeseburger, $12 | Better Burger, 22 Customs Street
Fresh, quality ingredients cooked to perfection are what make this classic cheeseburger, well, better. If you’re after a cheeky burg that is simple yet satisfying, give this a go. They’ve got a lush portobello mushroom burger for the non-meat-eaters, and their skin-on crispy potato fries are finger-lickin' tasty too.

Dan Dan Noodles, $9.99 - $13 | Eden Noodles, 18-26 Wellesley Street or Commercial Bay
Eden Noodles, a celebrated spot for top cheap eats, presents an entire menu of quick and filling meals. including their renowned Dan Dan Noodles priced from $9.99 to $13. With a flavorful mix of warm noodles and zesty Sichuan peppercorns, their Dan Dan noodles are a standout choice. Explore other budget-friendly options like pork and chive dumplings and garlic noodles for a delightful lunch under $13. Don't miss out on Eden Noodles, a go-to destination for affordable and delicious dining experiences.

The CTB Bagel, $11.50 | Bagel Love, 1/141 Wellesley Street
Bagel Love's freshly baked New York bagels go down a treat at lunchtime! We love the CTB which comes with a generous spread of your choice of their housemade cream cheese (original, garlic & herb or sundried tomato) and then topped with tomato & fresh basil. They've also got a delicious grilled cheese bagel that is well worth a try with aged cheddar, cherry tomatoes & housemade gherkin mustard relish for $12.50.

Bagel Love - CTB
Eden Noodles

Feel like a sweet treat? | The Fed's famous pies, $12.50

End on a sweet note with a slice of Fed Deli's famous pies! Whether you're feeling like a classic New York Cheesecake, a more-ish pecan pie, or the decadent banoffee pie, these pies really are the cherry on top when lunching in the city centre. Plus, The Fed's menu is now available for online and takeaway orders, making lunchtime ordering that much easier! Check it out, here. 

Fed Deli Pie
Last updated: 20 February 2024