With the VAT increase and the rise in petrol prices, South African consumers are feeling the pinch. These days it can be difficult to find dinner for under R100 – let alone for R85. To put you and your budget at ease, we’ve rounded up hearty main courses in your city for R85 or under.
Top tips for saving money while eating out
- Dine out on a Monday. Many restaurants offer significant discounts for eating out on less popular days. Check out this extensive list of weekly restaurant specials.
- Go out for lunch instead of dinner. Many restaurants have cheaper lunch menus with slightly less high-brow menus. There are also loads of great specials on this list during lunch hour.
- Find a buddy and take advantage of two-for-one specials.
- Drinking? Take your own wine. (Our magazine includes corkage costs for each recommended restaurant.)
- Don’t succumb to the social pressure when the waiter asks ‘still or sparkling’.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for the price of any daily specials that the waiter recommends. The Mozambican prawn starter might sound amazing, but does it come with a hefty price tag?
- Keep an eye on our competitions page. You might win an amazing meal!
- Remember pre-drinks? Consider pre-eating. If you don’t want to miss out on an outing with friends – but still need to make rent – eating a small meal first (and then ordering a smaller, more affordable dish) can be a good option. (Apples are particularly good. The fibre will make you feel full, and the pectin supposedly prevents blood sugar spikes. Nuts are also great appetite suppressants.)
- Don’t add extra sides or sauces to your dish – especially if you don’t know what they cost. Extra avocado can be particularly expensive.
- Sharing is not just for social media. Pair up with someone special (and by special, we mean someone who likes the same things as you) and split a pizza. Some restaurants don’t allow this – but don’t be afraid to ask if you can do it.
- Ask for a doggy bag. That way, the price of your dinner could cover two meals instead of one.
- Just because a restaurant has dated décor doesn’t necessarily mean the food quality is poor. Fancy interiors cost a bomb – and menu prices will reflect that. Check how many tables are busy at dinner time. A full, badly decorated restaurant is a great indicator of delicious, affordable food.
- Split sides. If they’re extra – and if you don’t normally finish your chips – it’s worth asking your dining companions to go halvies.
- Postpone major holiday meals. Restaurants often insist on expensive set menus on Valentine’s day or Christmas day. Dine out on another day in the same week and you’ll likely save a packet.