Must-Try Food In Auckland For The Budget-Conscious

10 Best Spots in Auckland for Cheap Eats

Check out these places to fill your stomach without flattening your wallet.

Whether you’re off gallivanting in Waiheke Island, bungee jumping off the iconic Auckland Sky Tower, or admiring the pieces in one of the many art galleries and strolling through Auckland Central, your stomach is bound to come a-rumbling sometime.

Image credit: Chris Gin

And during that ‘sometime’, we’re sure you’ll be glad for this guide to cheap eats and good food in Auckland. We’ve got it all covered: food trucks, bagels, burgers, pies, chicken and more; so read on!

1. Best Ugly Bagels

food in auckland

Image credit: Best Ugly Facebook

Bagels are deceptively filling. Who knew a roll of dense, chewy bread with less stuffings than a burger could make you feel so full? With that said, bagels are a favourite choice for breakfast and brunch.

To start off your day, make your way to one of the two Best Ugly Bagel branches in Auckland. There’s one in the central business district area and one in Newmarket, and we doubt there’s anywhere else in Auckland serving up such delectable bagels.

On the sweet side, you could have peanut butter or jam or both in your bagel; on the savoury side, you could have your bagel stuffed with tuna, mayo, jalapenos, and tasty cheddar. Whichever side you choose, all bagels are hand-rolled and oven-baked. In other words, fresh bagels and unparalleled textures, all for under NZ$13. Yum!

2. Hare and the Turtle

Different people travel for different things, and if you’re the kind to travel for food, pop by Hare and the Turtle — an unassuming cafe between an electrician’s shop and a laundromat in a corner of New Windsor. Don’t let its humble appearance fool you; the queues go out the door on weekends, and for good reason!

While their star dish is their house-made cinnamon buns (only NZ$5 a piece!), they’re also well-known for their sandwiches. The Daisy (NZ$13), their most popular sandwich, is full of quality ingredients like melted Edam cheese and tender beef cheeks slow-cooked with juniper for 20 hours. Did we mention that you could get pancakes complete with maple syrup, grilled bananas, mascarpone, and candied nuts for only NZ$10?

3. The Vital Bowl

For those who wish for a healthier breakfast in Auckland, check out The Vital Bowl. Most of the time, people buy their specialties online with free delivery for orders over NZ$50.

Fret not! The Vital Bowl opens a food truck in Parnell on weekend mornings, offering their signature Chia Cups (flavours change every week) and breakfast bowl with toppings like Goji berries, greek yoghurt, cacao nibs, and unsweetened almond milk. That’s not all the good news: These scrumptious treats come at affordable prices (under NZ$10) for you to enjoy.

Wouldn’t it be such a waste if you didn’t also check out La Cigale French Market after finishing your refreshing Chia Cup? Located in the same area and open every weekend morning in Auckland, this French-style food market has been voted Best Food Market by Metro Magazine for years. 

food in auckland

Image credit: Amandine Facebook

The market is a smorgasbord of food: spreads, cheeses, meat, fish, bread, pastries… you name it! One pit-stop you’ll regret not making though, is Amandine. The selection of French style pâtisseries there changes every weekend, depending on the season as well as what fresh ingredients are available. Rest assured, their tarts, eclairs, and pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) are all mouth-watering regardless of the season.

4. Better Burger

food in auckland

Image credit: @betterburgernz

In the mood for something heavier? How does a burger sound? But this isn’t just any burger — it’s the kind that’s carefully crafted with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and packaged in 100% compostable materials so you can feel good about the environment as you munch!

Better Burger has several locations across Auckland, including in Central Auckland and Mt Eden. They pride themselves in prioritising freshness of ingredients, boasting how they neither microwave nor freeze their goods.

Every day, a new batch of produce is delivered to them and their beef patties and fries are made to order. Plus, it’s only NZ$12 for a cheeseburger combo complete with fresh cut fries and a drink. If there’s one burger to have, we’d definitely go for Better Burger!

5. Bird on a Wire

With one branch in Ponsonby, one in Takapuna and one in Orakei Bay Village, we wouldn’t call Bird on a Wire the most accessible place for some rotisserie chicken, but luckily, it’s still not too hard to get to (and extremely worth getting to).

For only NZ$8, you can purchase 120 grams of pulled chicken; or alternatively a quarter of a rotisserie chicken for NZ$11. Our favourite? The Chicken Fat Roasted Agria Potatoes (NZ$10) — they’re roasted potatoes taken to the next level, and only available from 6pm onwards.

Another great thing about Bird on a Wire is the wide array of ways offered for you to have your chook (chicken). Sandwich? Check. Salad? Check. Plain? Check. In a wrap? Check. Deep fried on a waffle? Check. Not just that; they also have a selection of house-made sauces and gravy: from Korean BBQ to Mushroom Truffle Butter, you’ll be spoilt for choices in Auckland!

6. The Fridge Cafe

If you’re willing to venture further out into the suburbs, then we highly recommend making your way over to The Fridge Cafe in Kingsland. The pies here are all hand-made and freshly baked every day. Not only that, but since their oven can only fit 21 pies, hot pies are constantly being made throughout the day.

Priced between NZ$8 and NZ$11, the pies haven’t changed their recipe since they opened back in 2006. The pastry is flaky both on top and at the bottom, and the mozzarella cheese remains gooey in the hot pie. Crowd favourites include chicken, creamy mushroom and pesto, as well as their mince and cheese pies. Whichever you pick, we can pretty much guarantee that the pie is well worth the trip down to Kingsland.

7. Crêpes A Go-Go

food in auckland

Image credit: Crêpes A Go-Go

Can’t decide between sweet and savoury for a snack? Or maybe you want a little of both. In that case, head over to Crêpes A Go-Go in Ponsonby. If you haven’t already guessed from the name, this little square specialises in French-style crepes, both sweet and savoury. And no, we don’t mean mostly sweet options with one or two savoury choices.

Crêpes A Go-Go offers more than ten different flavours (of ham, mushroom, eggs, and a variety of cheeses) of savoury crepes, and another ten (of different fruits and spreads, even homemade caramel!) for sweet crepes. Talk about variety! Prices range between NZ$5 and NZ$18, and if you’re a student, don’t forget to bring your student card. They offer a 10% discount for students if you show your student ID!

8. Giapo

This one is for the sweet-tooths! Ice-cream is a dessert loved by the young and old, but you’ve not had the true ice-cream experience until you’ve had the Giapo Walk-in Degustation.

In Giapo, the various flavours are not on display in the shop. Rather, they allow you to sample the different flavours during the mini ‘tour’ and from there, you can pick your favourite flavour and the way it’s served. Prices start at NZ$9 for a scoop in a simple paper cup and it gets more expensive the more elaborate the decoration.

Constantly updated, unique flavours like Coconut Chocolate Chip and Blackberry&Martini Rosso isn’t the only thing that sets Giapo apart from other ice-cream parlours. From wearable cones (mini cones that fit on your fingers like thimbles!) to ice cream and tempered chocolate sculpted to look like a giant squid, ice-cream isn’t just a dessert here. It’s a work of art.

9. Cereal Killa Cafe

Image credit: Cereal Killa Facebook

Speaking of desserts and sweet things, we’ve all heard of a milkshake, but have you heard of a freakshake? No, it’s not a milkshake for freaks; it’s a milkshake on steroids (read: over-the-top toppings — and when we say over the top, we mean truly stacked beyond your imagination).

Served in an overflowing mason jar, these milkshakes are monstrous: It’s not just whipped cream, a cherry, some chopped nuts, maybe even an extra scoop of ice-cream; we’re talking cotton candy, sticks of hard candy, full-sized biscuits and chocolate bars, extra scoops (note the plural) of ice-cream, popcorn, slices of cake… anything a sweet-toothed 3-year old would dream up in their dessert.

Image credit: Cereal Killa Facebook

And where in Auckland can you find this sugar dream? It’s none other than Cereal Killa Cafe in Mount Eden. The freakshakes here cost between NZ$15 and NZ$18.50. While it’s technically above the budget of NZ$13, were you really going to finish that freakshake on your own?

Split between two, the most expensive freakshake comes down to only NZ$9.25! Plus, you’d be minimising the chances of a stomach-ache induced by that copious amount of sugar!

10. Pizza Presto

food in auckland

Image credit: Pizza Presto Facebook

Another notable place of mention that is technically over budget, but falls perfectly under the price range once you’ve taken quantity into consideration is Pizza Presto. The pizzas here are well-known for their light dough, fresh ingredients, and hefty serving — they’re a metre long each!

While Pizza Presto is currently only available for over-the-phone or online orders within Auckland’s central business district and nearby suburbs like Ponsonby and Parnell, they’re opening a retail shop (location TBC) in February 2019, so keep an eye out for updates! With prices ranging between NZ$37 and NZ$57, you’ll easily stick to your budget while still enjoying a good meal with your friends. After all, sharing is caring!

Also read: 7 Photo Spots in Auckland for Your Instagram-worthy Shots

Now, who said good food can only be had by splurging? These yummy food in Auckland certainly prove otherwise!

About Author

Chan U-Jane
Chan U-Jane

U-Jane is non-stop, a lover of all things Disney, and may or may not be slightly obsessed with musicals. When she's not off gallivanting, she's probably binge-watching some show on Netflix. That, or she's meticulously planning her next adventure.


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