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  • Rachel Holliday


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    40 must-try Cairns cheap eats for $15 and less

    Heading out in Cairns to eat with 15 dollars or less to spare? Fill yourself up on these tasty morsels - from sweet to savoury, breakfast through to dinner - with Tropic Now's handy list of 40 cheap eats under $15…

    ‘Good Morning Jaffle’ at Jafflehead = $9

    A pocket of breakfast goodness with poached egg, spinach, hollandaise sauce, bacon, spinach and cheese.

    39-49 Lake St, Cairns City

    Lime n Pepper calamari at The Pier Bar = $14.50

    Take a seat overlooking the Esplanade and enjoy this seafood dish, complete with chips and a salad!

    1 Pier Point Rd, Cairns City

    Nasi goreng at Bagus Cafe = $10.90

    Indonesian foodies will love this classic fried rice dish.

    149 The Esplanade, Cairns City

    Beef roti at Roti Shack = $10.90

    Melt in your mouth taste of the Caribbean

    Shop 4, 93 Lake St, Cairns


    Coconut chia, muesli, yoghurt and blueberry jar at Paradiso Cafe = $8.95

    This wholesome breakfast is a delicious and healthy way to start the day.

    96 Abbott St, Cairns

    Chickpea and zucchini curry at Richard's Salt and Pepper = $14.50

    Famous for his goat curry, this vegetarian option from Richard's is also worth a whirl.

    Oleander St, Holloways Beach

    Downunder at Evo Burger = $14.90

    A proper Aussie burger, with beetroot, pineapple and an egg, plus an Angus beef pattie.

    105 Lake St, Cairns City

    Salmon bento box at Bento Paradise = $10

    A local favourite for fresh sushi, this box comes with four rolls plus heaps more - so much value!

    99 Mulgrave Rd, Parramatta Park 

    Epicurean chicken at Bang and Grind = $11

    On Turkish with bacon, salad, cheese and aioli. Mmmm.

    8/14 Spence St, Cairns

    Lunch deal at Jambo Pastry = $10

    The menu changes but it's all delicious traditional Filipino fare, served buffet style. Don't leave without trying the jackfruit ice cream.

    1/180 English St, Manunda 

    Avocardio at Waffle On = $13

    Homemade waffles served with smashed avo, scrambled eggs, bacon and spring onion.

    62 Shields St, Cairns City

    Lunch special at Jade Chinese Restaurant = $10

    One of the best value lunches in Cairns. Includes a meat seafood or vegetable dish with steamed or egg fried rice plus salad or soup of the day.

    313 Kamerunga Rd, Freshwater (Cairns North venue now closed)


    Taco Duo at Rattle n Hum = $15

    Soft shell tortillas with a choice of mexican chicken, spicy battered prawns or sauteed veges. Plus salsa and guacamole of course!

    67 The Esplanade, Cairns City


    Greek sausages at Fetta's Greek Taverna = $10

    Lightly spiced sausages with cooked onion, cucumber and chili sauce, served with pitta bread. A bargain at ten bucks.

    99 Grafton St, Cairns City


    Spanish tapas at Three Wolves = $10

    There's more than just fab cocktails at this laneway bar.  Their $10 Spanish-style tapas dishes are also a must-try. 

    32 Abbott St, Cairns City

    Curries at Khin Khao = $8.90

    Classic Thai red, green or Panang curry with your choice of meat, veges or tofu.

    21 Aplin St, Cairns North

    Quarter chook at Howlin' Jay's = $13

    Nashville-style fried chicken with bread and pickles in a great location.

    1 Pierpoint Rd, Cairns

    Poached eggs and sourdough toast at Caffiend = $9.90

    Breakfast eggs don’t get much better than this very cheerful combo.

    5/72-74 Grafton Street, Cairns


    Beef stew at Pho Viet = $12.90

    Think Vietnamese-style comfort food with bread or rice noodles to boot!

    Shop 5, 78 Abbott Street, Cairns


    Ham and cheese sourdough at Caffe Suprimo = $6.90

    Everyone loves a ham and cheese toasty - but this is better.

    Shop G11, Pier Point Road, Cairns


    Udon at Happy 4 10 = $13

    Seafood, tempura, beef, vege and chicken noodle options. Too easy.

    82 Sheridan St, Cairns

    Truffle loaded chips at APEX Milk Bar = $11.90

    Craving hot chips? Make it a proper meal with this huge, flavourful serving. 

    24 Hoare Street, Manunda


    Lunch special at Goong = $9.95

    A ten buck note gets you your choice of teriyaki chicken or tonkatsu pork with rice.

    16 Aplin St, Cairns City


    Russian dumplings at Linga Longa Restaurant = $12.50

    All home made, coming with a meat, veg and fruit filling. Just try them.

    120 Collins Ave, Edge Hill

    Cheesy pretzel at the Bavarian Beerhouse = $7.50

    This tasty Bavarian treat is made in house and is also available with jalapenos for an extra $2. Nice!

    1/77 The Esplanade, Cairns

    Chicken coconut soup at Café Thailand = $7.90

    A winter warmer for the Tropics!

    7/93 The Esplanade, Cairns

    Banana & walnut bread at NOA = $9

    A ‘best banana bread’ award should be created just to be given to this dish.

    1 Pyne St, Edge Hill


    Devonshire tea at Café Botanic = $8.90

    Enjoy a classic Devonshire Tea surrounded by the lush landscape of the Cairns Botanical Gardens. Comes with your choice of tea or coffee.

    Flecker Botanic Gardens, Collins Avenue, Edge Hill

    Mario Kart at Get Toasted = $8

    A vegetarian toastie with Basil Pesto, Bruschetta Tomato, Mozzarella, Balsamic Glaze. More carnivorous foodies can add chicken.

    149 Spence Street, Portsmith


    Fishburger at Mobil on Spence = $7.50

    Locally caught Spanish mackerel for under 8 dollars? Yes please!

    8/14 Spence Street, Cairns City


    Lunch specials at Outback Jacks = $9.95

    A ten dollar bill can get you a bush burger, chicken schnitzel and chips or a wrap and chips.

    78 Abbott St, Cairns City


    Cobbers Crust Pies at Rusty's Markets

    Pie Connoisseurs can get their fix with a variety of classic and unusual pie flavours.

    Rusty's Markets, 57-89 Grafton St, Cairns City


    Kurodama at Ganbaranba = $8.90

    A pork broth with special garlic oil, infused for over two hours.

    7/12-20 Spence St, Cairns City


    Chicken Tikka Masala at Indian Brothers Restaurant = $11.95

    Sometimes it's hard to beat the classics, especially at this price. 

    58 Lake Street, Cairns 


    Sushi plates at Sushi Express = $2-$4.50

    This Orchid Plaza restaurant is hands-down the cheapest sushi joint in Cairns. You won’t pay any more than $4.50 per plate.

    2/111-115 Grafton Street, Orchid Plaza


    French toast at Lillipad Café = $9.90

    A yummy 3 piece stack of French toast dusted with icing sugar and served with maple syrup.

    72 Grafton St, Cairns City

    Eggs benny wrap at Wharf One = $10

    The breakfast classic, in a tasty wrap form.

    Wharf Street, Cairns City


    Ramen lunch deal at Ramen Street Cairns = $14.95

    New ramen joint in Manunda with seriously delicious and authentic dishes. Amazing value with a bowl of ramen plus 3 free gyoza for their lunch deal.

    Shop 2, 1 Jensen St, Manoora


    Jabche with rice at Corea Corea = $9.80

    Noodles mixed with vegetables and beef. A hearty dish for under $10.

    Orchid Plaza, 32/58 Lake St, Cairns