One of our favourites has to be Libertine’s cassoulet night. Every Wednesday, for just $25 you can get a most perfect of French winter warmer, traditional Toulouse-style cassoulet with pork belly and home-made sausages, a bargain.

Melbourne’s new Union Dining in Richmond has a menu full of share plates, which can keep things cheap, if you know how to order. Focus on their mains and you can get a Nicky Riemer classic, for around $35 that will warm up and not blow your budget.

Scared of the Movida tapas menu and the bill it can often leave you with? Then pop to Movida Aqui. For $60-$65 you can get a paella that’s plenty enough for two, or even three if you throw in a few bombas.

Don’t think you could ever afford Neil Perry’s [Rockpool]((/melbourne/food-and-drink/directory/restaurant/rockpool-bar-and-grill)? Think Again. Opt for the bar menu and you and your dining partner will be dining out on the best wagyu burgers in town with change from a $50 – that’s for both of you!

If your friends fancy a mid-week meet up after work, then book the group table at Mamasita where the chef’s menu is only $45 per head.

St Jude’s Cellars do $10 meals on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s if you opt for their bar menu. Grab a few side dishes – and at theses prices, a glass or two of wine, and prop yourself up at the bar and you’ll have a feast for peanuts.

Geoff Lindsay’s new eatery in Elwood, Dandelion, may not do specials, but at around $20 for a bowl of pho, (arguably one of the best in town), why wait for a special offer.

Newly on the map, Merricote in Northcote is getting rave reviews for it’s food and has most mains priced under $30, so get in for these prices while you can.

Guy Grossi’s Cellar Bar also offers city bistro dining on a budget. For around $20 you can get a bowl of fresh, handmade pasta. La Dolce Vita indeed.

So next time you don’t fancy cooking, put the beans back on the shelf and head out with a $50, you’ll be well fed, well chuffed and home in time for At The Movies.

NOTE: Of course, a bottle of wine or two will blow the budget – focus is key here people – remember what you went in for. These suggestions exclude those accidental dessert orders and that second or third glass of wine.

500 Victoria Street, North Melbourne
(03) 9329 5228

Union Dining
270 Swan Street, Richmond
(03) 9428 2988

Movida Aqui
1/500-512 Bourke Street, Melbourne
(03) 9663 3038

Crown Complex
8 Whiteman Street, Southbank
(03) 8648 1900

Level 1/11 Collins Street, Melbourne
(03) 9650 3821

St Judes Cellars
389-391 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9419 7411

133 Ormond Road, Elwood
(03) 9531 4900

81 High Street, Northcote
(03) 9939 4762

Grossi Cellar bar
80 Bourke Street, Melbourne
(03) 9662 1811