This guide to the best cheap restaurants in London is perfect if you’re on a budget!
Feeling the pinch? I know the feeling! As I try to preserve every last penny before I jet off on another adventure, I’ve put together a guide to my fave cheap eats in London – perfect if you’re on a budget too.
These are the places to go when you’re trying to save your money, but don’t want to compromise on food quality. It is possible to have a great dinner in one of the world’s most expensive cities for under £10!
Enjoy – and don’t blame me if you pile on the pounds (while saving a few pennies!)
A few years ago there was a surge in burger joints popping up all over London. I felt like it was my duty to find the best ones, and after much deliberation (and a few tummy aches), Honest came out on top. The menu is simple with a choice of chicken, beef or veggie. There are plenty of toppings to add, but the plain beefburger is always a winner, especially as it comes with some of the best rosemary chips I’ve ever eaten.
Location: Several branches across London. Find your closest here.
Main course: £8.50
2. Princi Soho
Princi serves delicious Italian food in a canteen style environment. Join the queue and take your pick from big slices of Milanese style pizza, pasta and delicious salads full of Mediterranean ingredients. Be sure to save some space for some of the treats in the bakery/patisserie section!
Location: Wardour Street, Soho
Main Course: Pizza slice £5 or pasta £8.
Get your Spanish fix with some pintxos – tapas style snacks held together by skewers. Costing between £2.25 and £3.25, grab a plate and select as many as you fancy. Options include chorizo and manchego bocadillos, salt cod croquetas, calamares and gazpacho. If you have space, finish with some churros dunked in rich chocolate sauce.
Location: Four branches across London. Find your closest here.
Main Course: Around £10 for 3-4 dishes. For a special occasion, check out Pix’s Infinity Sunday. All the pintxos you can eat, plus unlimited cava for £33.00.
4. Flat Iron
When you’re in the mood for a steak, but can’t afford Gaucho or Hawksmoor, head to Flat Iron. A really great steak with a green salad is just £10. Obviously you’ll be wanting chips too, but for £12.50 you can enjoy a high quality meal in a really buzzy restaurant. It’s worth noting this is a restaurant with a no reservation policy, but when the food is this reasonable, it’s worth the wait!
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Location: Three branches now – 2 in Soho and 1 in Covent Garden. Find your closest here.
Main Course: £10
5. Bao London
These Taiwanese steamed buns have become very popular in London. Stuffed with delicious fillings including fried chicken, confit pork belly, lamb shoulder and the classic pork, for just a few pounds you’ll be eating some of the most flavoursome food in the capital. It’s a small restaurant with a no reservations policy, so although the food is cheap, you may have to queue a little while!
Location: Lexington Street, Soho
Main Course: Baos start at £3.75 and there’s a tasty menu of accompaniments.
6. Franco Manca
There’s a reason everyone raves about this pizza chain… not only is the sourdough-based pizza some of the best in the city, it’s also crazily cheap. Prices start at £4.50 for a tomato, garlic and oregano pizza, but for something with toppings you’ll be looking to spend around £7.
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Location: This pizza place is expanding at a rate of knots. Find your closest restaurant here.
Main Course: £5-£7
Everyone loves Wahaca! Masterchef’s most successful contestant Thomasina Miers’ chain has brought the real flavours of Mexican street food to Britain’s high streets. After spending a lot of time in Mexico, I can vouch that this is authentic cuisine – just a shame you can’t grab a taco and head to a paradise beach! With so many small plates of tasty food, it doesn’t need to be an expensive meal. I love the chipotle chicken quesadillas (£4.25) and the steak tacos (£4.50).
Location: Plenty across London. Find your closest here.
Main Course: £8 for a few dishes.
Brasserie Zédel brings the feeling of a grand Parisian restaurant to the heart of Piccadilly. The menu features plenty of classic French dishes include onion soup, coq au vin, cassoulet and a large fish menu. You’ll want to stick to the prix fixe menu if you’re saving your pennies.
A photo posted by Brasserie Zedel (@brasseriezedel) on
Main Course: If you’re on a budget, stick to their prix fixe menu, which is just £9.75 for 2 courses or £12.50 for 3 courses.
Vegetarian food doesn’t get more delicious than this. I’m not talking about uber-healthy, vegan style bird food, this is sophisticated, delicious food packed with flavour. The kind of food where you don’t miss meat. Mains start at £6 and they have some epic burgers on offer (smoked tofu, lentil, piquillo pepper in a focaccia bun with relish, rocket, red onion and tomato/with monterey jack) as well as yummy curries and stir fries.
Location: Soho and Camden
Main Course: £7-£11 10.
Tables are packed into this tiny Soho eatery, but the cramped experience is worth it once you’re slurping your way through a huge bowl of steaming ramen. The chilli chicken ramen is my favourite, with soft noodles, crunchy vegetables, seasoned egg and salty, Japanese broth – it’s certainly helped dust off a few cobwebs in the past!
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Location: Five branches across London.
Main Course: £11
Where’s your favourite cheap restaurants in Central London? Let me know in the comments below! If you’re looking for some great things to do in London on a budget, Visit London have some great tips here.