Cheap Eats 2015: The Top 100

by Metro Magazine / 02 October, 2015
Video by Melissa Tapper.
Judge Bao

Judge Bao. Photo: Rachel Dobbs.

Auckland's top 100 Cheap Eats 2015

No, we didn’t count the number of dumplings we ate. It was more than a lot. But we do know we considered the claims of 314 places: restaurants, takeaway bars, holes in the wall, food trucks and pop-ups, where you can buy dinner for not much more than $20, not counting whatever you want to spend on drinks.

It wasn’t so hard to cut that number in half. It was very hard, though, to turn 150 into 100, and we found it almost impossible to decide on the last five or six places to miss the cut. There are some unlucky cheap-eats outlets in this town.

Because that’s the thing. While the much-celebrated renaissance of Auckland restaurants continues on its merry way, the city is also experiencing a quite profound, but much less celebrated, renaissance at the cheap end of eating.

Fully a third of the places in our Top 100 are new to the list. Many because they’ve been around for a while and, we think, have got better. And many more because they are newly opened and aiming high.

We widened and enlarged our judging lineup this year (eight judges are now 12), giving us greater depth of knowledge in some cuisines and a greater ability to check places out of the city centre. If you live in the west, especially, we think you’ll be pleased with this list.

We did our judging on the quality of the food. Mostly, for Cheap Eats, we think service, ambience and so on are less relevant than for more expensive restaurants. At Barilla Dumpling, for example, they deal with their customers in a famously dismissive way. But we keep them on the list for the same reason those customers keep going back — we all love the food.

There were no quotas, for parts of the city or cuisines of the world. We did, however, ask ourselves why we might eat at a certain place when others nearby are doing the same thing better. Some outlets on Dominion Rd and in places like Sandringham and Ponsonby have missed out because while they’re pretty good, we found them hard to recommend when we knew we’d prefer to go next door or over the road instead.

THE METRO JUDGES


Our judges are all food writers, cooks or restaurateurs with expertise ranging over many ethnic cuisines. Most of them write regularly online about food in Auckland.
William Chen, williamchendesign.blogspot.co.nz
Helen Cheng, about.me/helencheng
Connie Clarkson
Damaris Coulter, cocoscantina.co.nz
Simon Farrell-Green, eatherenow.co.nz
Alice Harbourne, Metro Digital Editor
Lynn Huhtala, cheapeats.co.nz
Anna King Shahab, eatsbyanna.com
Delaney Mes, delaneymes.com
Alexia Santamaria, cheapeats.co.nz
Antony Suvalko, foodie.co.nz. Antony’s book East: Culinary Adventures in Southeast Asia (co-written with Leanne Kitchen) was published in August.
Simon Wilson, Metro editor, chair of the judging panel

THE TOP 100 BY CUISINE


Dumplings

Fish and Chips

Japanese

Korean 

Malaysian

Middle Eastern

Pizza

South Asian

Thai

Vietnamese

THE TOP 100 BY SUBURB


Balmoral

Central city

Eastern suburbs, Mt Wellington, Otahuhu and Waiheke

Epsom, Mt Roskill, Newmarket and Royal Oak

Kingsland, Eden Terrace and Mt Eden

Newton

New Lynn

North Shore

Ponsonby, Freeman's Bay and Herne Bay

Sandringham and Mt Albert

 

Latest

Inside the close-knit community that lives along the Cromwell-Tarras Rd
102505 2019-02-19 00:00:00Z Travel

Inside the close-knit community that lives along t…

by Mike White

Mike White heads up the Cromwell-Tarras road to merino and wine country.

Read more
The stars of Luther talk about their return in season five
102486 2019-02-18 13:16:40Z Television

The stars of Luther talk about their return in sea…

by The Listener

Idris Elba, Ruth Wilson, Hermione Norris, Wunmi Mosaku and Michael Smiley answer questions about the future of the dark and disturbing crime drama.

Read more
Vital evidence in Pike River mine disaster missing, say families
102465 2019-02-18 09:22:49Z Planet

Vital evidence in Pike River mine disaster missing…

by RNZ

Some families of Pike River mine victims suspect a piece of vital evidence may have been spirited away by the mining company and lost.

Read more
It's time to empower the mayor and make Auckland liveable again
102432 2019-02-17 00:00:00Z Politics

It's time to empower the mayor and make Auckland l…

by Bill Ralston

Making Auckland a liveable city is an unenviable task, writes Bill Ralston, but it's clear the mayor needs more power.

Read more
Knight star: Sir Hec Busby on his extraordinary life
102328 2019-02-17 00:00:00Z Profiles

Knight star: Sir Hec Busby on his extraordinary li…

by Clare de Lore

Northland kaumātua, master carver, navigator and bridge builder Hec Busby was hoping for “no fuss” when he accepted a knighthood.

Read more
Keira Knightley shines in bodice-ripping period drama Colette
102397 2019-02-16 00:00:00Z Movies

Keira Knightley shines in bodice-ripping period dr…

by James Robins

The story of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, a heroine of French literature, focuses on her early struggles.

Read more
Is barbecued meat bad for your health?
102255 2019-02-16 00:00:00Z Nutrition

Is barbecued meat bad for your health?

by Jennifer Bowden

Sizzling meat on the barbecue is the sound and smell of summer, but proceed with caution.

Read more
March of the Algorithms: Who’s at the wheel in the age of the machine?
102434 2019-02-16 00:00:00Z Tech

March of the Algorithms: Who’s at the wheel in the…

by Jenny Nicholls

Complacently relying on algorithms can lead us over a cliff – literally, in the case of car navigation systems.

Read more