Pixabay© Pixabay

The Top Cheap Eats in Nelson

© Pixabay
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
NZ Pocket Guide is 10 years old. Thank you for trusting us with your trip for over a decade!

Where to Find Affordable Restaurants in Nelson

Well, this is not like us. Usually, we recommend saving the cents on food by making your own meals in your hostel, like in 11 Backpacker Tips to Save Money on Food. However, we realise that sometimes the allure of a city’s food smells are just too much to ignore, especially in Nelson! So as a good compromise, we have put together this guide of cheap eats in Nelson.

Nelson is the ideal place for any foodie in New Zealand. The South Island city is surrounded by wineries, full of passionate craft beer brewers, and so close to the ocean that it’s so easy to find fresh and affordable fish and chips. Although there are plenty of takeaways and restaurants serving classic Kiwi dishes, there are also some affordable culinary delights from all over the world. Italian, Mexican, Indian, Thai, Switzerland and Sweden are just a few countries you can taste the cuisine of while in Nelson.

So save on the cents and pick up an affordable meal with this guide the cheap eats in Nelson!

Foodie Experiences in Nelson

Nelson is a food-lovers dream and with that, there are plenty of foodie experiences to be had. Here are just a few:

  • Go winery hopping and follow our 23 Nelson Wineries on the Nelson Wine Trail
  • Or if you prefer craft beer, there’s a trail for that too
  • Take a tour of the Pic’s Peanut Butter Factory, 18 Elms Street, Wakatu Estate – bookings essential
  • Check out the Nelson Market on Saturdays, 8am-1pm, Montgomery Square
  • and Monty’s Sunday Market on Sundays, 8am-1pm, Montgomery Square.

For more experiences like these, check out the 9 Things to Do in Nelson for Foodies.

Pexels© Pexels

Cheap Eats in Nelson – $10 and Under

Bakeries in Nelson

New Zealand’s bakeries are always a reliable go-to for lunch under $10. Check out the Swiss Bakery in Richmond, 237 Queen Street. Or get a sweet treat from the Swedish Bakery & Cafe in Nelson city, 54 Bridge Street.

Fish & Chips in Nelson

For takeaway food so cheap it hurts, check out Milton Street Gourmet Takeaway, 136 Milton Street. We’re talking $10 burgers and fish & chips for under $10. Pizzas are a tiny bit more expensive but still pretty damn good at $10-$12.50 for a 7-incher. You’ll find similar and slightly cheaper at Seabreeze Takeaways, 51 Vanguard Street, which also do stuffed potatoes (spuds/baked potatoes/jacket potatoes) for a maximum of $9. Finally, Victoria Square Fish & Chips, 176 St Vincent Street, is an award-winning fish & chips joint with similarly cheap fish & chips.

Coffee and Sweet Treats

Kush, 5 Church Street, boasts as some of the best coffee in town “ask anyone!” If you are passionate about coffee, then it’s well worth giving Kush a go. You can pick up a cheap (and sweet) eat along with your coffee. Plus, they have been known to hand out fresh pastries with their coffees for free, so keep an eye out for those sorts of deals. If anyone’s to rival that, Pomeroy’s Coffee & Tea House, 105 Montgomery Square, has a creative blend of flavours for coffee and tea lovers to go along with their cakes and biscuits.

$10 Lunch Menu!

For a hearty lunch deal, check out the Sprig & Fern, 280 Hardy Street, and their $10 lunch menu! Burgers, bacon and eggs on ciabatta with hash browns and vegetarian nachos are just some of the offerings.

Cheap Indian Food in Nelson

It’s extremely affordable to eat at the Indian Cafe, 94 Collingwood Street, at lunchtime with curries priced around $9 and $10 including their lunch platter – a selection of curries and rice. Sides and naans will take you over the $10 but are all ridiculously cheap too. We also recommend checking out their take out menu, which takes you over the $10 mark but is definitely reasonable with curries around $16.50.

Mexican Food in Nelson

Who doesn’t love Mexican food? Nicola’s Cantina, 6 Church Street, is a good place to get something on their daily specials menu for under $10. As for the rest of their menu, you’ll find meals at a reasonable $11-$20.To save more money in Nelson, why not try these 14 Free and Cheap Things to Do in Nelson?

Pexels© Pexels

Cheap eats in Nelson – $11-$20

Street Food in Nelson

Nelson’s most-popular food cart provides a hassle-free lunch with an ever-changing menu. Check out Streat Kitchen, 53 Bridge Street, for a range of burgers, pies, sandwiches and more! Although there are definitely items below the $10 mark, it’s worth treating your self to a mammoth wrap or sandwich around the $11-$15 mark.

Pub Grub in Nelson

Founders Brewery in the Founders Heritage Park, 87 Atawhai Drive, is not only famous for its craft beers, but they do a pretty mean (and cheap) pie and salad for $13.When almost every main meal on the dinner menu is $20, who can complain? This is certainly the case with The Verdict Restaurant and Bar, 189 Trafalgar Street.

There’s plenty on the Anchor Restaurant & Bar‘s, 62 Vickerman Street, lunch menu for under $20. Try a steak sandwich, catch of the day, gourmet fish & chips, red curry and mussels, salads and pasta while soaking up the ocean view.

Affordable Cafes in Nelson

The great thing about vegetarian food is that it keeps the prices down. That can certainly be said for East Street Vegetarian Cafe & Bar, 8 Church Street. The affordable menu has most mains around the $20 mark while having some of the cheapest beer handles in town – just $5! The cafe also provides a funky retro dining experience in Nelson. Just check out the decor and you’ll see what we mean.

For a filling breakfast or lunch, head down to Lambretta’s Cafe & Bar, 204 Hardy Street, for all your classic cooked breakfast dishes between $7-$22 and a whole bunch of salads, burgers, pasta and nachos for $16-$23.

Thai and Indian Food in Nelson

Did someone say Thai for lunch?! The lunch deals at Tongtara Thai Restaurant, 142 Hardy Street, are too good to resist at just $11 for pretty much everything! Alternatively, there is the vibrant Chokdee Thai Cuisine, 83 Hardy Street, with lunch specials around $12-$14.Indian restaurants in New Zealand are infamous for their affordable lunch deals and Little India, 269 Hardy Street, is no different. Check out their lunch menu for reasonably-sized meals for around $12-$17.

Jakub Kapusnak on Unsplash© Jakub Kapusnak on Unsplash

Cheap Eats in Nelson – $20-$30

Pub Dinners in Nelson

Craft beer bums rejoice because The Vic Brew Bar, 281 Trafalgar Street, also does $22 burgers with onion rings and fries. That’s not a bad way to stuff yourself while sipping on Mac’s finest beers.

Flames on Forty, 40 Waimea Road, has some tasty offerings on their dinner menu for $21-$32. We’re talking burgers, fish& chips, roast dinners and chicken schnitzel.

Italian Food in Nelson

Mamma mia! Italian dinners for around $25!? Yes, at babagatto tavola calda, 7 Morrison Street, there is a limited but extremely affordable selection of classic Italian dishes for $15-$25. Their lunch menu if of a similar price.

Dining with a View in Nelson

Riverside dining at it’s best, the River Kitchen, 81 Trafalgar Street, is situated along the Maitai River and serving some fancy lunch meals for around $22.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

Was this article useful?