Bondi’s Top 5 Cheap and Cheerful Dinners

I had never heard the phrase “cheap and cheerful” until I started dating an Australian. When planning a dinner out with friends or as a couple it would be suggested we do something “cheap and cheerful.” If you’re stretched for cashed, or just want to make the occasion casual and fun – cheap and cheerful is the way to go.

As moving is a rather large expense, we have been seeking out some cheap and cheerfuls in our new Bondi neighborhood and, lucky for us, there are a bunch! My criteria here is that each person can get a meal for under $20 and you are able to BYO without a major corkage fee. Bringing your own bottle of wine or a couple of beers can really make the difference between having a proper cheap experience or spending $40-50 per person. And it certainly adds to the cheerful!

Here are our new favorites:

1. Sabbaba, 82 Hall Street
Middle Eastern food – lots of hummus, falafel ($8.90) and tahini. Really fresh and quick. Good outdoor seating.
Go for: the falafel or anything else you’d like to have in a pita (the fish pitas, $9.90, are great too).

2. La Piadina, 106 Glenayr
Flat bread, almost quesadilla-like, pizzas. Really simple menu, and very delicious. It’s super tiny, but if you can snag a couple of seats at the windows or at the small table outside, you’ll be stoked.
Go for: the pancetta, provolone, baby spinach and balsamic glaze ($11) or the speck, sweet gorgonzola and radicchio ($12). Served on wooden boards, they’re perfect for sharing.

3. Fishmongers, 42 Hall Street
In my opinion, Bondi’s best fish and chips. The fish and salads are always fresh and perfectly prepared. Grab one of big tables outside.
Go for: Grilled fish and chips ($15),the salt and pepper calamari with salad, or BBQ octopus. Their specials are usually great too.

4. Nina’s Ploy Thai, 132 Wairoa Ave
A typical cheap Thai joint with solid food. Nina’s can also be accommodating for a big group, if you ring ahead.
Go for: The duck noodle soup – it’s phenomenal and an a steal at $9.

5. Misschu, 178 Campbell Parade
A new-comer, the successful Darlinghurst Vietnamese tuckshop is finally sharing some love with Bondi. Nestled in a little laneway between Campbell Parade and Gould Street, the tuckshop and bar is a perfect spot to chill out if you can snag an outdoor milk crate table and stool.
Go for: the rice paper rolls ($6.50-$13 for 2) – sashimi tuna is the best, dumplings ($6 for 3) and pork buns ($2.20 each)

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All of the above offer take away too – so if everyone else is trying to get in on a good deal, you can always take your food down to the beach or the North Bondi grassy knoll for a picnic. What’s better than that?

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