Despite Leichhardt's reputation as a hub for the Italian community and all its attendant cuisine, there’s plenty to be had here that is outside the pizza and pasta box. Better yet, an influx of cafes and casual eateries in the area means that there’s also an abundance of great value feeds on offer for $10 or less. Here’s our list of the best meals around $10 in Leichhardt.

Pig & Pastry; Bacon and egg roll ($9)
Only just on the other side of Parramatta road and with a Petersham address, we think this one is close enough to include. There are a couple of things you should try here for the under-$10 mark – but our favourite is the free-range bacon and egg roll. Bread is a house specialty here and the soft, house made bap, filled with house sauces (tomato or BBQ) lashings of bacon and a gooey egg is no exception. It might be breakfast fare, but it serves just as well for lunch … or any time of the day, really.
1 Station Street, Petersham

Flood Street Carousel; Mr. Elbank toasted sandwich ($10)
Flood Street Carousel is a cafe known for its child-friendly attitudes, super-low prices and an original menu. Specials such as the beef borek with a coffee ($8), or the brekkie sandwich with prosciutto and grilled egg ($8.50) are winners, along with lighter treats such as a glass of cold espresso with brioche dunking cube ($7.50). But the toasted sandwiches, including the Hectic and the Ploughman’s, top the list for great value. The Mr Elbank sanga also impresses; full of pulled pork, jalapeño mayonnaise and tangy pickled vegetables.
1 Lords Road, Leichhardt (corner of Flood Street)

Bonarche Burgers; All American cheese burger ($11)
This is a burger joint run by a chef and a butcher, so it’s no wonder that the servings are big and the ingredients of the best kind. Beef patties are cut and minced on site with Aussie beef and you can choose your own white or wholemeal bun. These are burgers that require two hands, so bring your appetite. The All American burger might be a dollar over the budget, but with that juicy patty, dill pickles and Coney Island mustard, it’s worth the extra coin. Or scale it back to a batch of fresh fries with kimchi and cayenne mayonnaise, or served with cheese and burger gravy ($9).
14 Norton Street, Leichhardt

Cocoa and Milk Espresso Bar; Toasted bread fingers with yoghurt and spinach dip ($8.50)
This spotless, soft-grey terrace with a black and white interior might be serving Double Roasters coffee, but it also has an awesome light snack that makes for a fast lunch. The pile of toast fingers with Greek yoghurt and spinach dip ($8.50) is simple and quick and the super-crispy toasted bites are crouton crunchy and make a great delivery system for the pot of warm dip. It’s a perfectly petite serving for a delicate lunch that isn’t on the heavy side.
22 Norton Street, Leichhardt

Mellow Thai; Soft shell crab pad thai ($9.90)
This is a pumping little Thai spot serving a host of great dishes that all come artfully arranged. But it’s its $9.90 lunch specials that are a real treat. It changes every now and then, and you can find the current specials written up on the chalkboards, but expect to see dishes like tom yum king prawn, BBQ lamb, or pad Thai with soft-shell crab on offer.
172 Norton Street, Leichhardt

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Jarrett Street Cafe; Salami and gruyere baguette ($10.50)
Hidden in the back streets, this is a cafe that boasts a loyal local following. It bakes its own baguettes daily and has a bunch of rotating specials. Try a roast beef and gravy roll ($10) or vegetarian penne ($12), but the salami and gruyere baguette ($10.50) is always on the menu and they are happy to do variations on what you see. It’s a family-run business too, so you might find relatives sunning themselves out the front.
68-70 Jarrett Street, Leichhardt

Store Espresso; Chicken burger ($9.80)
This is the second Store Espresso in Sydney – the first being in Camperdown. But this place has made its name for great value, friendly service and a cute fit-out all on its own. You’ll find a couple of things on the menu that will make the budget here (including all the sandwiches at $9.50), but the stand out is the chicken burger ($9.80). It’s quite a mouthful, packed with avocado, gooey melted Swiss cheese, crunchy fresh greens, moist grilled chicken and mayo. A handful of marinated olives on the side is a nice touch too.
132 Marion Street, Leichhardt

Penny Fours; Quiche ($6)
It would be easy to be seduced by the luscious golden pastries and sweet treats that this patisserie (and owner Penelope Ransley, previously of Tetsuya’s and Sepia) has made its name on. From slabs of leatherwood honeycomb to sunny yellow lemon tarts and sour cream brioche, this is a sweet tooth’s dream. But one cannot live on cake alone – and so there are a few savoury options here too – the quiche holds its own against the army of sweeter options. The offering of goat’s cheese, pesto and cherry tomato is a great match to a buttery and flaky pastry case.
141 Norton Street, Leichhardt

Ragamuffin; Assorted muffins ($3.50)
The muffins at tiny Ragamuffin are steamed and then baked, which gives them a fluffy texture second to none. Muffins might not be the go-to for a lunch option, but with flavours that include four cheese with onion and rhubarb jam, bacon and zucchini, or sun-dried tomato and feta, you’ll easily get a savoury fix here too. Though it must be said that it’s hard to resist the raspberry jam doughnut flavour, or the lychee, lime and coconut option. Flavours are posted online, and while some make regular appearances, take nothing for granted!
157 Norton Street, Leichhardt

Bar Italia; Arancini ($6)
This place is an institution – with a sprawling interior that gives way to a very understated courtyard. It’s been around for years and has the aura of a well-loved vespa helmet. It might have outdated plastic furniture and faded posters of The Godfather and The Untouchables gracing the walls, but it’s busy every day and night with fans queuing up for rich and heavy sauces tossed with tortellini, ravioli and gnocchi. Most of these come in at around the $16 mark, but the arancini wins the cheap eats title here. Huge balls of comfortingly gluey rice, coated in crumbs and spilling out cheesy spinach or meat sauce and peas are fist sized and make a meal all of their own. And at $6, you’ve got a bit left over to put towards a scoop of pistachio gelato ($4).
171 Norton Street, Leichhardt