Pick of the Bunch: Best Cheap Eats in Wellington

A bowl of noodles and a bowl of fried rice against a white background.

Noodles, burgers, pasta and more - here are some of our top picks in Wellington for a meal that won’t blow your budget.

Words by: John Son

Photos by: Anna Briggs

We all love a fancy dinner out every now and then, but unfortunately, this isn’t the most financially sustainable of habits. Luckily, whether you’re stretching your dollars until your next pay or you just want a simple lunch that won’t break the bank, there are plenty of cheap eats to be found in Wellington.

Featuring noodle shops, a pasta joint, and one of Wellington’s most iconic takeaways, here are some of our top picks in the capital.

LUCKY

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105 Courtenay Place, Te Aro, Wellington

Appropriately situated smack-bang in the heart of the buzzing Courtenay Place, Lucky is a name that’s synonymous with Wellington’s epic burger scene. As popular during the midweek lunch rush as it is on a Friday at 11pm, Lucky’s popularity comes down to its simplicity as much as its taste - the compact menu lets you choose a chicken burger, halloumi burger, or one with both. And with a second store perched at the entrance to Willis Street’s Press Hall, you’re never far from an indulgent burger.

Taste of Home

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128 Vivian Street, Te Aro, Wellington

Probably only just big enough not to be classed as a hole-in-the-wall, finding a seat at Taste of Home is a challenge at the best of times. Most people end up having to take their order to the patch of grass across the road but don’t fret, the noodles here are guaranteed to warm you up. The dan dan noodles, drenched in Sichuan oil, are always in demand, but make sure you save space for the other menu items too. With rice dishes, fried snacks, and even sweet treats on offer, it’s amazing how a tiny shop can serve up such a feast.

1154

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132 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington

1154 is proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune for good pasta, even on Cuba Street. A pastaria that oozes class and quality without the price tag, 1154 is simply committed to serving the classics, and serving them well. Take a seat on the communal table or by the window and tuck into a bowl of your favourite pasta, accompanied of course by the famous garlic and rosemary rolls, before finishing with a delicious flourless chocolate cake.

A group of men sitting and standing around a table ladened with fresh produce.

The Ramen Shop

191 Riddiford Street, Newtown, Wellington

Newtown is a popular foodie spot thanks to its eclectic mix of eateries, with The Ramen Shop one of the most frequented restaurants along Riddiford Street. The team here have got the balance perfectly right, crafting bowls of rich, tasty ramen that hark back to their Japanese roots while incorporating a Kiwi twist. Choose the classic tonkotsu ramen for a safe and solid feed, the spicy chicken ramen as a reliable winter warmer, or the shoyu shiitake ramen for a superb vege alternative.

The Fisherman's Plate

12 Bond Street, Te Aro, Wellington

Tucked away on a side street and hidden behind an unassuming entrance, you’d be forgiven for walking by Fisherman’s Plate without a second glance. But do that at your own loss, for this humble noodle joint offers some of the best value meals in town. With an impressive menu (photos included) spanning the length of a wall, the range on offer here is almost staggering. The pho selection is always popular, as are the other Vietnamese dishes - or go completely left-field and order some fish and chips.

A flatlay of a plate of noodles and a plate of rice on a white table.

Little Penang

175 Victoria Street, Te Aro and 44 The Terrace, Wellington

Serving delicious and affordable Malaysian fare, Little Penang is hands-down one of the most popular Asian eateries in Wellington. A restaurant in either end of town - on Victoria Street and on The Terrace, a stone’s throw from the Beehive - means it’s a great lunch option for anyone who works in the city. Choose from a sumptuous range of starters and rice and noodle dishes, or if it all gets too much, just go for the daily special.

Sweet Mother's Kitchen

5 Courtenay Place, Te Aro, Wellington

Full of character and eccentric trinkets in equal measure, Sweet Mother’s Kitchen is a popular Courtenay Place spot for unwinding over some delicious diner-style comfort food. There are plenty of cheap eats on offer here - in addition to the unbeatable curly fries, you can tuck into fried chicken, tacos, po boys, burgers, and more. If your bank balance (and stomach) allow, make sure you squeeze in one of their delectable desserts as well.

A close up of a hand scooping out some food from an Indian buffet.

Taste of India

19 Cambridge Terrace, Te Aro

A true Wellingtonian institution, Taste of India on Cambridge Terrace is loved by hungry university students and yo-pros alike. The takeaway-only spot is busy most nights of the week, and unsurprisingly so, as they do a fantastic job of cooking up well-priced classic curries. The chicken tikka and rogan josh are crowd favourites and don’t forget to pick up a legendary garlic naan.

Image: Stock (by Anna Briggs)

Neat Wellington Places

Havana Coffee Works

Interior view of Havana Coffee Works.
Place Wellington
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This cozy, retro café on Tory Street moves through to an open-air, garage-style roastery.

The Library

A booth beneath a shelves of books at The Library bar Wellington.
Place Wellington
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Hidden behind an unassuming ground floor entrance, The Library is another well-known establishment that overlooks the go-go crowd of Courtenay Place.

Abel Fabriek

The exterior of the elegant Abel building with a white weatherboard outside.
Place Wellington

Hidden away from street view on the main Aro Valley shopping strip, you’ll find Abel Fabriek, part perfumery, part elegant retail store.

Garage Project

Coloured framed art on wall.
Place Wellington
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Situated in an old petrol station in the Aro Valley, Garage Project’s vibe is all about producing experimental beers in a perfect, yet unexpected setting.