Cheap Eats in the World’s Most Expensive Cities

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Man eating ramen in Tokyo bar

It’s fairly common knowledge that with modish hotspots come mammoth price tags, meaning that some city breaks will set you back a bob or two. But, even in the world’s most extravagant metropolises, you can find some delicious cheap eats which both epicures and bargain hunters can delight over. So, without further adieu, prepare your palates for a budget-friendly dining tour!

Tel Aviv


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The metropolitan city of Tel Aviv is famed for its glorious swathes of golden beaches and proud advocacy of LGBTQ rights – it is widely considered one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world! What with its joy-filled Pride parade and recent stint in the limelight while hosting the Eurovision Song Contest, travellers are making a beeline for Tel Aviv’s sunny shores with understandable vigour.

If bar-flanked boulevards and balmy nights are an appealing prospect for you, Israel should be at the top of your ‘must-visit’ list, but be ready to drop a pretty penny because this laid-back metropolis isn’t cheap. With a pint of beer weighing in at £10 and hostels far outpricing any of its European counterparts, holidaying in the world’s 10th most expensive city is unlikely to be the most effective money saving exercise.

And yet, dotted throughout the markets and side streets of this fair city, stellar foodie bargains are waiting to be gobbled up! If you are after tasty traditional bites, head to Carmel Market to load up on budget-friendly baklava and basketfuls of fresh veggies. If you are in the market for a wee thirst quencher, drift into the maze of side streets that weave around Carmel and head to the one of the laid-back bars which dominate the area – a refreshing pint of Israeli beer is tasty and cost-effective. Finally, before hitting the beach, grab a bowl of chickpea goodness at Hummus HaCarmel, a thrifty purchase that certainly packs a flavour punch!



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Ahhh, London, known worldwide for its extortionate accommodation costs and downright offensive wining and dining prices. Considering that London’s average pint piles up to £5.20, while Barcelona’s pour weighs in at €1.20, it’s no wonder that a trip to this historical capital will set you back a bob or two. The Clash were right! London’s burning… a hole in our pockets. But never fear, even in this pricey capital there are deals to be consumed.

If you’re looking for some cheap grub, steer clear of the central London scrum and catch a quick tube to check out the food scene in Zones 2 and 3. If you’re after bang for your buck, head to Haringey for a waltz down Green Lanes. Dotted with flavourful Turkish eateries serving mammoth meat and falafel platters – not forgetting the reels of complimentary breads and dips – it’s fair to say that Haringey is the king of bargainous banqueting. Equally, head south of the river for a plethora of thrifty foodie spots! Camberwell’s Silk Road serves up top-notch northern Chinese fare at delectable prices. Here you can fill your boots with hand-pulled noodles and home-style aubergine, for less than a tenner!



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The trendy metropolis of Melbourne is renowned for its laid-back beachy vibes and international eateries. Holidaymakers flock to the hipster suburbs of Carlton and Fitzroy to sip on espressos in leafy roasteries, and browse the numerous thrift shops for their next vintage bargain. Boasting the largest museum in the southern hemisphere, Melbourne Museum, and a meandering stretch of golden-sand coastline, travellers are rarely at a loss for things to do. But with trendy haunts come gargantuan price tags – Melbourne isn’t cheap. With the average pint of beer falling at £5 and a week’s accommodation landing at £573pp – perusing Aussie’s artsy coastal city might be a bit of a splurge.

There are, however, ways to offset financial ruin… Melbourne’s large array of cheap eateries. While swanning down Fitzroy’s main drag, pop into Bimbo for a $4 (£2) pizza! Available through the App at specific times, this downright steal will save you money but deliver on deliciousness. Similarly inexpensive, and a favourite of plant-based people, the Trang Bakery and Cafe serves up steaming and succulent banh mis at reasonable prices – bag a BBQ chicken roll for $6 (£3). Finally, hit Chinatown for bargainous tasties! Shanghai Village Dumpling serves fifteen dumplings for $7.80 (£4), and has become quite the late-night institution.



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From cutesy bento boxes and custard-filled taiyaki to a saucy plate of okonomiyaki, Tokyo’s food scene is world famous for its cutting-edge innovation and delightful presentation. Boasting a whopping 226 Michelin-starred restaurants, it’s clear that this fast-paced city doesn’t mess around when it comes to cuisine. In between visiting the Imperial Palace, dining in cat cafes and strolling over Shibuya crossing, you might notice that this ultra modern capital isn’t the cheapest of places – with the average cost for accomodation weighing in at £665pp per week! But that doesn’t mean to say that you can’t do it on a shoestring – Tokyo’s delectable array of cheap eats will help stave off bankruptcy abroad.

If you want affordable nosh, a trip to Piss Alley never goes amiss! On a narrow and meandering street – adorned with twinkling lights and paper lanterns – you will be met with the smoky aromas of barbecues and sizzling meats. For next to nothing, you can fill your boots with yakitori and boozy drinks – be sure to try a highball, Japan is renowned for its whisky. Equally, a cheeky trip to a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant need not set you back! Chains such as Kastsumidori Meguro and Sushi Daidokoya supply a broad selection of deliciously thrifty rolls. Finally, the iconic Japanese vending machine needs a mention. Whether it’s crepes, beef broth, or even fresh eggs,Tokyo’s machines provide delicious on-the-go food for stellar prices!



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The historic city of Paris is renowned for its romantic architecture and world-famous gastronomy. Considering that this city alone possesses over one hundred Michelin stars, there is no doubt that you are spoilt for choice in the original foodie’s mecca. In between taking candid Insta shots next to the Eiffel Tower and admiring the artwork at the Louvre, you might notice that money seems to disappear with haste in this iconic place – and with accommodation totting up to £949pp per week, it’s not hard to understand why. But just because on average a pint will set you back a fiver, it doesn’t mean to say that there aren’t some thrifty eateries tucked away in Paris’s cobbled streets!

If you are after some classic French fare, a trip to the quaint and traditional Bistrot Victoires should be at the top of your to-do list. From the comfort of this intimate restaurant you can sample confit duck and ribeye steak for incredibly reasonable prices, in fact, nothing on the menu will set you back more than £10. Equally, a trip to the creperie Au P’tit Grec will prove as budget friendly as it is delicious! Slatherings of cheese or nutella will cost you as little as £4. Finally, a leisurely stroll through Marche Bastille is great for picking up fresh regional produce at reasonable prices, as well as gorging on platters of tasters – we won’t tell if you won’t!