Eating is important. So is managing your budget. These places offer good ways to combine the two. When we get cheap food, we want it to satisfy us. We want a good-sized serving, and we want it to be tasty, interesting and preferably from a nice place to dine. Like these places…

I just found $20, so it’ll be dinner at:

Cheap eats after the jump…

A. Sweet Mother’s Kitchen

SMK has been a very popular place to be in Wellington since it opened last year. The cheaper menu items felt like a proper American southern diner and the higher end mains were good for a proper meal.

The menu has changed somewhat recently but the prices have stayed the same. An $8.50-$9 po’ boy is still a great option for those on a budget.

B. Off-Beat Originals

Surrounded by the detritus that most 20-somethings’ will “get” – spaceman cigarette candies, giraffe-brand milkshake cups etc – it’s easy to think that this is another hipster cafe. But Offbeat seems sincere with their use of kiwi-kid icons and don’t charge an arm and a leg for your own memories.

Even with a recent price hike OBO still sails under the radar for cost, and jeebus their burgers are big!

Cheap food, good food. Kind of embodies the category doesn’t it?

C. Satay Kingdom

What can you say about a place that has its own Facebook Group? $5 Roti Chenai (though it is of the frozen variety) is good. The Mee Goreng (formerly the bottomless plate Mee Goreng) is great. The fried chicken wings are oily. Some of the stingy among us can even get two lunches out of one dish. You gotta love a place where you can see into the kitchen and hear the happy hum of activity. Even in the middle of the lunch rush the perennially perky staff are consistently on it.

But the best thing about Satay Kingdom is the location. Sitting outside in the stinking heat of summer or in the rain under the (new) tent in winter, it is all about atmosphere at Satay Kingdom. You can make your approach the traditional way via Cuba, take the sneaky side route up graffiti alley or enter via the industrial looking entrance on Victoria St. The way is clearly marked by a NZ shaped piece of gum.

D. K.C. Café

This place has the best Chinese-style food that you never got in a normal Chinese-style takeaway food place. Duck? Yep. Squid? Yep. Pig offal? Yep. Other really weird stuff which most gweilo would never dream of eating? Yep. And so on. If it was down the end of Lambton Quay instead of in the heart of Courtenay, we’d take K.C. over Chummeez any day of the week. And, it totally pwns the almost-adjacent pan-generational purveyors of muck J&M Fast Foods.

E. Chocolate Frog

Eating in a Miramar garden centre shouldn’t be so cool … but the Frog manages to be. With its older and more well-known sister over the hill in Karaka Bay, Chocolate Frog have, as the “wet weather” version, a lot to live up to. They take the coolness of numbered rocks, painted chairs and small-as kitchen that we all know and love and mix it up with a view of flowering plants, funky paintings and a kick ass set of staff. And with it being a stone (street) throw from the heart of Wellywood, who knows what future stars you’re sharing your brunchtime with?

Get your eat on with the Zoomin tag “best cheap”