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London: Where to Eat and Drink Well on a Budget

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London has a bad reputation when it comes to prices. And gastronomy! Many people still wonder if London is a good place to eat. But it’s easy to eat and drink in the British capital without sacrificing quality or worrying about your credit card balance… you just need to know where to go! Here is round-up of favourite cheap eats in London that will please both the taste buds and the wallets of budget travelers.

Price Index: Any pint (of cider or beer) over £5 and any meal over £15 is considered expensive by Londoners. Take it from us!

Franco Manca – where to eat in London on a budget?

Okay, it’s a chain with multiple locations. But not just any chain! Franco Manca’s wood-fired pizzerias are an absolute must for budget eaters in London. They’re located in several of London’s more residential neighborhoods, making it easy for couples, families, and students to meet and socialize – or at the very least, peoplewatch London. It’s hard to beat the value for money. All ingredients are fresh and local or imported from Italy. Most pizzas are under £11 and wine, served in adorable little vintage glasses, is £5.

For vegan travelers: Franco Manca offers fully vegan versions of their pizzas.

The Swan

Away from the tourist traps of central London, this neighborhood gastro-pub (as in “gastronomy”) continues to bring Chiswick residents together thanks to its authenticity and affordable prices. We go for the hand-picked English beers and the refreshing gourmet menu based on fresh local produce.

Bleecker – where can I eat in London without breaking the bank?

This is the hottest burger joint in town! The cheeseburger, priced at just £9, is juicy and juicy. It goes perfectly with the spicy mayonnaise-covered fries! Sure, this popularity comes with queues. But for a burger with change from a tenner in central London, the wait is well worth it.

Lanzhou Noodle Bar – cheap eats in London Chinatown

It’s impossible to list London’s cheap restaurants without mentioning its Chinatown (which actually encompasses several South Asian ethnic groups). Here, noodles are handmade to order and can be accompanied by a hundred different side dishes – all for under £8. One of the best places to sample the traditional dishes of London’s Asian diaspora.

Portrait by Richard Corrigan for London’s best cheap eats

A gourmet restaurant at the top of a prestigious, newly refurbished art gallery… on a budget? That’s because this restaurant offers a lunchtime table d’hôte for just £34, allowing foodies on a budget to enjoy a haute cuisine experience while taking in a magnificent view of the city. Every dish on the menu promises to be an experience in its own right.

In fact, opting for a prix fixe menu for lunch instead of dinner is one of our favourite cost-saving travel hacks.

Southampton Arms

This is one of London’s best and cheapest pubs. It’s known for its tight selection of all-British beers and ciders. This small Hampstead Heath establishment also serves a variety of sandwiches for under £6. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s efficient.

Beigel Bake Brick Lane – cheap areas to eat in London

This unpretentious 24-hour shop has become an institution of Jewish cuisine in London; its generous smoked meat bagels, sold for just £3.50 and served with pickles and mustard, are a hit with the locals. Unbeatable value with these cheap eats in London!

And Brick Lane remains one of the best places to experience the cultural tapestry of East London, with its waves of immigration from all over the world.

Borough Market

The ultimate destination for foodies on a budget! This public market has been around for over 1,000 years! It has several gourmet counters that offer delicious lunch dishes for just a few pounds.

Borough Market’s Wright Brothers restaurant even has a happy hour with oysters for £1! You may have to tolerate the queues for a bit but the turnover is quite fast.

Golden Hind, traditional cheap eats in central London

Few dishes are as quintessentially British as fish and chips. While many establishments pride themselves on serving the best, locals prefer the fish (order with mushy peas) from Monsieur Christou, owner of the Golden Hind. You’ll get a wonderful traditionnally English meal for little more than a tenner.

Tell him you’re Canadian and he’ll be happy to tell you about the time Stephen Harper set foot in his restaurant…

Marugame Udon

Come to London for Japanese food? Yes, you did! The capital is home to hundreds of different cultures and cuisines, so it’s an all-inclusive place to discover new flavors. Noodles are served with sides of chicken katsu, chicken karaage or small vegetable dishes (perfect for vegans). There are a few of these Japanese shops around the city, usually near train stations, making it a local favourite especially in West London, where dining prices tend to be on the higher side.

If you want to do what the locals do, go to Prêt à Manger for lunch! It’s a chain, a huge chain, with hundreds of branches across the capital. Gourmet sandwiches, smoothies to go, hot soup, pastries… Every address is packed with people, everything goes very fast, but for this tiny price, it’s worth it. What’s more, unsold food is donated to homeless organizations every day.

Take it to go and enjoy it in front of one of London’s many landmarks! Along the Thames, in St. James’s Park, at Victoria Quay to admire Big Ben: there’s no shortage of options. Definitely the quintessential cheap restaurant in London.

Diwana Bhel Poori House

This legendary restaurant has been serving excellent vegetarian home-style cooking since 1971. Whether it’s the £13 thali platter or the £10 masala dosa, or even the lunch buffet, you can’t go wrong with a full meal here. It’s not considered one of the best cheap eats in London for nothing: everything’s great!

Cheap eats in London: honorable mentions

  • Hummus Bros
  • Bill’s
  • Mother Mash
  • Bébé Bob
  • Mele e Pere
  • Jikoni
  • Roti King
  • Casse-Croûte
  • Orange Pekoe

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