Cheap dinner dates in Brisbane City - Visit Brisbane

Cheap dinner dates in Brisbane City

Eating out on a budget can be tough, but if you know where to go it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re organising a dinner for group of friends and don’t want to splurge, or just want to treat your special person to a night out and get change for a $50, take a look at these cheap and cheerful dining spots around Brisbane CBD.

We’ve tried to keep it under $25 for mains, but usually much less. We’ve also included a few lunch specials that were too good not to mention.

These restaurants, bistros, and pubs are all nice sit-down places you’d be proud to take a date, your mum or mates – so if you’re looking for a cheap eats guide that includes tasty takeaway spots and windows, read our Brisbane City Cheap Eats Guide here.

Buffalo Bar, Mary St

Bringing American food to the city, don’t skip ordering a serve ($15) of the buffalo wings with your choice of eight or so dry rubs or hot sauce coatings. Then there’s burgers, a spiced calamari salad, poke bowl, half a smoked chicken and more for under $25. Don’t like beer or whisky? Try a boozy milkshake.

Comuna Cantina, Albert Lane

Comuna Cantina

South American street food has its home in Brisbane at Comuna Cantina. Tuck into coconut crumbed fish tacos, spicy beef quesadillas, pulled pork arepas, healthy salads and nachos at this laneway bistro. Everything is best paired with a jug of sangria or caipirinha, of course.

Coppa Spuntino, Creek St

Coppa Spuntino

This super chic Italian snack and wine bar is the perfect date spot. Pull up two seats at the bar and tuck into small plates or pizzettas paired with Italian and Australian wines. The mains do nudge slightly above $25 here, but we know its worth it.

Embassy Beer Bar, Edward St

Looking for solid gastropub eats and craft beer in the CBD? Try Embassy. There’s 16 taps and one hand pump pouring with local craft brews, while the pub menu mostly gives change for a $20. Get your bare mitts around a pork belly burger, or be refined and use cutlery to tuck into a rump steak, chicken schnitty or lemon and fennel crumbed barramundi fillet.

Fat Noodle, Treasury Casino

Fat Noodle

Celebrity chef Luke Nguyen’s Fat Noodle is a classy diner inside the historic Treasury Casino that offers signature Vietnamese dishes along with Chinese and Thai food. Don’t skip the legendary 20-hour Fat Pho noodles. Most meals are around the $20 mark.

Felons Brewing

Like the idea of kicking back on the lawns by the river at Howard Smith Wharves? The healthy bowls, pizzas and burgers all come in under $25 at Felons. Just add a small beer for a perfect pairing without dipping into your savings. So long as you can stop at one.

Funny Funny, Burnett Lane

Ever tried Korean food? It can be fun, interactive and generally cheap. Try Funny Funny down Burnett Lane - it’s open late and it perfect for a group of friends keen to do a hot pot or DIY barbecue at the table. Or order rice dishes, savoury pancakes and other wonders to share.

George’s Paragon, Eagle Street Pier

River views, silver service and half-price dining. What’s the catch? It’s only half price at lunch or for early birds at dinner. At half off most seafood and steak mains are under $25 so if you can plan to be early you’ll enjoy a huge Greek feast that’s easy on the wallet.

Greenglass, George St

French cuisine and Australia boutique wines meet at this upstairs CBD gem perfect for a date or small group of friends. Somehow quality isn’t compromised by price, and the menu changes regularly based on seasonal produce. It’s easy to get a main for $20 and the atmosphere is top. 

Hakataya Ramen, Queen Street Mall

Once you have ramen fever you can’t go back. Japanese ramen soup is generally a quick and casual meal, so Hakataya’s basement store along Queen Street Mall is fairly casual but you can drop in for different types of ramen with 48-hour simmered broths, plus gyozas and beer.

Hanaichi, Wintergarden

Japanese food is either $2 takeaway sushi rolls or splurge-worthy fine dining. Hanaichi falls in the middle. Head upstairs in the Wintergarden near the Strike Bowling to find the Hanaichi restaurant. Bento Boxes start at $20, and most dishes and plates fall around or under $15. If you want to splurge, there are bigger sashimi platters or all-you-can-eat for $32.

Harajuku Gyoza, Albert Lane

The raindrop cake, the foot-long crispy sweet potato fries, the sweet Nutella gyozas - Harajuku isn’t one to shy away from an Instagram trend or novelty dish. Drop into this casual Japanese diner for bowls of Japanese curry and plates of gyoza. Two can feast for under $50, easy.

Irish Murphy’s, George St

Chasing the best craic in town? Irish Murphy’s stakes the claim. This classic irish pub opened back in 1999 and you can drop in for some foot stomping fun and a meal. Banger and mash, a Guinness pie and other classics will give you change for $25, easy.

Jamie’s Italian, Edward St

Jamie's Italian

Step into this two level Italian diner and be greeted by the antipasto bar (complete with hanging prosciutto legs!). Jamie’s is a little pricier, with pastas nudging around $28, but if you go at lunch during the week you can get pasta and a drink for $25.

Kinn-Imm, QueensPlaza

Sit down to Thai hawker food at this cleverly designed vintage-style Asian restaurant in the basement of QueensPlaza centre. All the favourites are here, along with more unusual soups, wok dishes, curries, stir fries and salads, with most of the menu around the $15-18 mark.  At lunch, Kinn-Imm offers a range of its curries and soups for even less (think $12-14).

New Shanghai, QueensPlaza

New Shanghai Dumplings

Step into this traditional 1930s street-style restaurant also in the basement of the QueensPlaza centre. With food from the Shanghai region, dine on the signature Xiao Long Bao, pan fried pork buns, hand-made dumplings and dim sum, plus salt and pepper prawns and stir fried noodles. It’s best to share dishes with the table, and besides the main meats and seafood dishes, most of the menu is under $15 a plate.

Phat Elephant, Post Office Square

With vegan and gluten free menus, Phat Elephant is a Thai food haven that will cater to all your dining companions needs. Unless you’re ordering a whole crispy barramundi or soft shell crab, most of the noodle and rice dishes come in with change for $20. Find the big restaurant located just off Post Office Square.

Red Hook, Gresham Lane

For a casual hang with mates or date who like it different, Red Hook is a laneway bar and American street food joint. On Tuesday $25 gets you a margarita and tacos, or come Thursday with a mate and get two beers and two burgers for the same. Usually the menu is around $15, and its killer tunes and epic drinks offering make for a super hip, chilled out laneway dinner.

Santa Monica, Ann St

Enter this beach vibe oasis in the centre of the city. This casual dining spot is all about relaxed American-style fare - think gourmet burgers, salads, pizzas, pub favourites, loaded fries and more washed down with craft beers and cocktails.

Taro’s Ramen, Queen St & Edward St

Taro's Ramen

It’s been called the best ramen in Australia by top national food journalists, and you can dine ona big bowl of steaming tonkotsu for $15. Drop into the chic restaurant space at 480 Queen St, or try the more casual and totally vegan Taro’s Express at Edward St. The pork broth tonkotsu has a special place in our hearts, but knowing how serious taro takes his ramen, the vegan will be excellent too.

The Stock Exchange, Edward St

The Stock Exchange Rooftop

It’s hard to believe that these days it can be difficult to find a classic pub that still offers change for $20 when dining out. Try the Stock Exchange in the CBD where for $20 or under you can eat a rump steak, beer-battered barramundi, potato gnocchi, chicken parmy, beef burger or chef’s salad. At lunch they offer these for $15 - and day dining on the terrace is super chic.

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