Workday lunches out need not be expensive. There are plenty of tasty options out there for a decent, inexpensive refuelling. Best part is, you won't have to resort to certain sandwich chains – you just have to know where to look.

We've scouted and tasted our way through the streets of Fitzroy to look for the best lunches, for no more than a $10 note. Whether you're after a hot Thai soup, a pie, or thinking of mixing things up a bit with a spicy Colombian empanada, our top 10 choices will give you more than few reasons to stop eating at the desk.

1. Salads at Brunswick Street Alimentari, $8 for a small takeaway container
If you think salads are only for when you feel like something light, think again. The salads at Brunswick Street Alimentari cover all the food groups in one scoop. Have a taste of everything by asking for spoonfuls of each salad on offer. And you won’t get bored during the week – the salads change each day.

2. Pies at Babka, $6 takeaway
This is isn't the kind of pie you get at your suburban footy games. Each piping hot bite (available in veggie options) is just saucy enough so that tomato sauce may not even be necessary. Takeaway or spend a couple dollars extra to eat in and have it served with a salad and tomato kassundi.

3. Sandwiches or salads at Hello Aubergine, $10 delivery
Sometimes you just have to let lunch come to you. With the creative vegetarian menu changing every week, all you have to do is put in your lunch order for a delicious homemade salad or sandwich, and sunshine-on-a-bike Pippa Cunningham will bring it over in time for lunch.

4. Light lunch at Grub Food Van, $10
For $10, you can get a light lunch comprising Grub's sardines on toast or something a bit more substantial in the form of the smashed egg, coriander, mayo and iceberg lettuce sandwich on fresh casalinga. Treat yourself to some sunshine by the van if it's sunny.

5. Bagels at Grace cafe, $7.50 - $9.50
How do you like your bagel? Just off Brunswick St, you can choose between fillings like salmon and quark, chorizo or smoked chicken for $9.50, or beetroot, fetta and mint for $7.50. You can also have it on regular sandwich bread, but we all know the bagel hole makes all the difference in the world.

6. A small plate of the day's lunch specials at Friends of the Earth, $10
Those usually averse to vegetarian food should give Friends of the Earth a shot. With an atmosphere not unlike a university co-op, you can get a heaped plate of the day's meals and salads for just $10 for a small plate (which isn't actually that small). Expect menu offerings like chickpea curry, fresh beetroot salad, rice balls and marinated tofu.

7. Wraps at Yong Green Food, $9.50
Wraps and sandwiches are good for one main reason: they’re the easiest way to cover all the food groups you need in one go. It’s exactly why the wraps at Yong Green Food are like a one-stop shop for your nutrient needs. All wraps are vegan, and you can choose between chilli bean, lentil or chickpea fillings for only $9.50.

8. Arepas and empanadas at Sonido, $7-$8.50
Mix things up a bit with the South American equivalent of the open-faced sandwich – the arepa. For $8.50, you can get the sweet corn on melty cheese arepas and for $7.50 try the spinach and cheese or beef and olive empanada. Save the extra coins for a bottle of Inka Kola, the Peruvian version of Coke.

9. Sandwiches at Slowpoke, $9-$10
Slowpoke’s menu changes pretty often as they like to keep things fresh, but we think there might be some kind of riot if they dare to take one particular sandwich off the chalkboard. For only $9, the pecorino, pickled beetroot, mint, rocket sandwich with house-made mayonnaise on crusty sourdough bread is a delightful dance of fresh flavours that will have you daydreaming until lunchtime rolls around.

10. Pintxos at Naked For Satan $1-$2
Depending on how hungry you are, in weekday lunch hours (from noon to 4pm) you can easily get 10 pintxos (baguette slices with toppings strung together by a toothpick) for $10 at Naked For Satan. Toppings range from the freshly cooked, vego-friendly to carnivorous and light and tasty. If you don't have a late meeting maybe also try Naked For Satan's home-infused vodkas.