Fitzroy North is all about independent merchants. There’s nary a Coles or Woolworths in sight, let alone a chain restaurant. It’s a culturally diverse, community-driven driven food hub – much of which falls under the $15 price point. If you’re in need of a cheap bite in the area, these are our top picks.

Puttanesca at Good Times –$9
Good Times prides itself on affordability. The pastas are all under $16 and two cost just $9. Of the cheaper options, the puttanesca, a briny mix of kalamata olives, capers, tomatoes and anchovies, is a good bet. Pair it with garlic bread or a carafe of wine for just $9 more.

Curry laksa at Malaymas – $15
Rich and hearty, a laksa at Malaymas is one of the best ways to fill up under $15. There are several variations here, but we suggest going for the curry laksa, made with chicken, noodles, fishcakes, tofu and eggplant in a creamy coconut broth.

Haloumi pita at Just Falafs –$15
Any time you pass Just Falafs, it’s likely you’ll see a queue snaking down the block – the falafel is just that good. Though it can be ordered as a platter, the portable pitas are the thing to get here. If you must choose just one, we’d say go for the haloumi, which also comes with a hefty helping of fried cauliflower.

Mushroom melt at Picnic – $14
The humble sandwich is almost always a cheap eat contender, but not every one is as decadent as this. Stuffed with mushrooms, spinach, toasted almonds and four types of oozy cheese between seeded sourdough, it's clear why it’s the best-selling item on Picnic’s menu. Bonus: it can be made vegan by subbing the dairy for cashew cream.

Sausage roll at Loafer – $9
Loafer specializes in organic bread and baked goods, both sweet and savoury. If you're after the latter, you can't go wrong with the sausage roll (or its vegetarian equivalent, made with mushrooms and barley). For a few bucks more, the salad sandwich ($12.50) or egg salad baguette ($13.50) are also wonderful.

Kottu meal at Citrus – $13.90
Though Citrus is touted for its $20 all-you-can-eat buffet, the takeaway specials are just as good a deal. And the kottu meal is a customer favourite. A popular Sri Lankan street food, it’s made from roti that’s sliced into strips and stir-fried in a cast-iron skillet alongside vegetables, eggs and your choice of protein.

Dinner pack at Moroccan Soup Bar – $12.50
Vegetarian institution Moroccan Soup Bar has gained a cult following for its buttery chickpea bake (from $6.50 to take away). But if you want a full-sized meal, try the takeaway dinner pack. It changes daily and typically includes a grain, fresh salad and a few signature vegetable dishes like fried eggplant spears or lemon-roasted potatoes.

Single beef burger at Danny's – $7.50
Since Melbourne’s burger boom circa 2012, finding a sub-$15 burger has become tough. Finding one that doesn’t sacrifice price for quality is even harder. But Danny’s, which has been flipping patties since 1945, is an exception. Its burgers are nothing fancy – just simple stacks of beef, lettuce, onion and sauce of your choice. For this price though, you can’t beat ‘em.

Bombolone at Dench – $4.50
Located just off St Georges, Dench is a highly sought destination for sourdough – but that’s not all it’s got to offer. The bombolone (Italian-style filled doughnuts) are just as good a reason to visit. If you prefer the classics, custard and raspberry versions are available daily. Otherwise, visit on the weekend for a Nutella rendition.

S’Mores sundae at Billy Van Creamy – $12 On a sunny day in Fitzroy North there’s nothing nicer than a Billy Van Creamy scoop – except maybe a sundae. The ice creamery has a few rotating options, but the s’mores is always on. With two scoops of vanilla ice cream, chunks of brownie and house-made marshmallows drowned in hot fudge, we think it’s pretty decent value for money.