Sticking to a budget in Sydney doesn’t mean having to forgo the finer things in life. Sure, our rent and living expenses are high, but so is the number of top-notch restaurants serving dishes where the price belies the quality.

If you’re counting your coins this lockdown, here’s a guide for where to treat yourself and take away something tasty.

Itacate and Mexican Deli, Redfern Tacos (al pastor, suadero, chorizo): three for $16

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Rosa Cienfuegos makes some of Sydney’s best Mexican food. Inspired by her childhood in Mexico City, her Itacate and Mexican Deli in Redfern serves homey, comforting food and sells hard-to-find Mexican ingredients like specialty chilli sauces and lollies.

Served Mexico City-style in double corn tortillas, her tacos are as authentic as it gets in Sydney. There are three flavours to choose from: al pastor (juicy slow-cooked pork), suadero (spiced beef brisket) and a spicy minced chorizo. All come topped with finely chopped onion, coriander, fresh lime and a spicy salsa.

Fish Butchery (Saint Peter), Paddington Buttermilk-fried pink ling sandwich: $18

The sidekick to acclaimed Sydney restaurant Saint Peter, chef Josh Niland’s Fish Butchery in Paddington is a new-age fish shop that sells a constantly rotating range of seafood most people have never heard of, along with a killer takeaway menu.

Coming in at $18, the buttermilk-fried pink ling sandwich is Fish Butchery’s version of a KFC Zinger Burger. A piece of pink ling (which has soft, sweet-tasting flesh) is marinated in a spice blend, battered in tangy buttermilk and deep-fried before being placed on a potato bun with mayo, a slice of cheddar cheese and iceberg lettuce.

Lonely Mouth, Newtown Sunflower and hempseed shoyu vegan ramen: $19.50

Lonely Mouth is a vegan ramen bar and sibling to RaRa Ramen (which specialises in unctuous pork tonkotsu). This small noodle shop in Newtown uses innovative ingredients to create creamy, umami-heavy broths entirely from plants.

The sunflower and hempseed shoyu ramen is some of its best work: a big bowl of Hakata-style noodles in a deep, earthy broth that somehow mimics RaRa’s tonkotsu. It’s topped with plant-based chashu pork, fermented bamboo shoots, seasonal vegetables and the eatery’s secret tare seasoning.

Shwarmama, Surry Hills Lamb kofte pita: $18

Mat Lindsay’s (Ester, Poly) ‘fancy kebabs’ are one of Sydney’s best value-for-money meals. At this hole-in-the-wall on Commonwealth Street in Surry Hills, all five of the pitas and wraps on the menu are under $20, and they’re stuffed so full with falafel, marinated chicken or lamb you’ll probably get two meals out of them.

The lamb kofte is a highlight – consisting of garlicky balls of spiced meat stuffed into a fluffy white pita pocket. It’s topped off with a trio of creamy sauces (tahini, hummus and cacik: a tzatziki-style Turkish yoghurt dip), harissa, cabbage, chilli and vivid pickles. Take extra napkins.

Five Points Burgers, North Sydney Burger and chips: $18

There are just five American-style burgers on the menu at Five Point Burgers in North Sydney. Chef Tomislav Martinovic, who has worked under Heston Blumenthal, obviously knows a good burger joint only needs to do a few things well to succeed.

All burgers are named after a New York borough and come served on a soft brioche bun with beer-battered chips for around $18. The Manhattan is your classic cheeseburger with a medium-rare patty and double cheese, while veggies can go for the Staten Island portobello mushroom burger with marinated peppers and tzatziki.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Bankwest. See Bankwest’s online money management guides for more ideas to get the most out of you