Please sign in to post.

Cheap Eats in London?

As you know, the US Dollar has always been weak compared to the British Pound. I'm heading there in September and would love to get recommendations from fellow Rick-niks travelers on your favorite places to eat. My hotel provides breakfast but I need places for lunch/dinner.

I'm hoping to keep it between 10-15 pounds (per meal), if possible. My meal could be an entree and a drink. If dessert can be included, that would be even better.

If you can post -
1) the name of the restaurant (that you personally have eaten, please),
2) the general location in London (ie: covent gardens),
3) the approximate cost for the meal (lunch or dinner), Any type of cuisine / food is ok!

Kindly avoid posting a link to some web site. I want your personal recommendation!

Many Many thanks to all!

Posted by
8700 posts

Jenny Lo's Tea House near Victoria Station has excellent Chinese food at cheap-for-London prices. Noodle dishes are their speciality. Sorry, I don't remember what I paid for a meal. Unless they've changed their policy since I was there in 2005, it's cash only.

Posted by
3419 posts

Oh boy! are you in fro a treat- There are actually lots of places within your guideline. Also- eat a big breakfast and then just snack for lunch- fruit and/or salad or a sandwich can run you less than 3 pounds. Now- Victoria Station area- Shakespear's good fish-n-chips, pies, etc. 7-15 pounds. Covent Garden area- The Farmhouse Table (mediterrian) Great lamb, pork chops- 10 pounds and up. Picadilly Circus- Adams Ribs (BBQ)10 pounds and up. China Town near Leciester Square- Top of the Town or E Capital depends on how hungry you are- without appitizer 8 pounds and up. Almost all resturants and pubs post a menu outside. Check those. Many pubs have great food- Steak and ale pie, Hunter's Chicken, roast chicken or lamb or pork--- oh my I have to go wipe the drool off now. I'm glad we fly out for London tonight!!!!!!

Posted by
28 posts

My favorite meal in Britain was a trip to a Sainsbury market and taking English cheese and crackers to Trafalgar Square for a picnic on the grass in front of the gallery. Glorious setting if its a nice day, and the price was great!

Posted by
806 posts

My daughter and I were in London this past April for a week and really enjoyed Gordon's Wine Bar; in fact we ate dinner there twice. Less than 10 GBP for a glass of wine and a plate with 2 big slabs of cheese [you choose from 10-15 different cheeses] and plenty of good crusty bread that was enough for both of us! It's near the Embankment Tube stop. Also Lord Moon of the Mall Pub, on Whitehall; we had to wait a bit for a table in the non-smoking back section, but then I got a yummy lamburger with mint and a beer for 5 GBP. We also ate at Woodland South Indian Vegetarian Restaurant [near Leicester Square]; the full thali was too expensive for us, but we got dosas for about 8 GBP each. For lunch we had good luck just grabbing sandwiches for 2-3 GBP from EAT or Simply Food and eating in a park. More details on all in Rick's London book. Have a great trip!

Posted by
3551 posts

In Nov 2006 we went to St Martin of the Fields church basement(self-serve) it is a great place for 10-15 GBP (lunch) across from Trafalgar Sq great selection and very central.Proceeds go to charity also. Also ck board specials at pubs as you are touring around. We paid about 12-19GBP hearty meal selection when ordered off the specials blackboard.Some museums we found also had good reasonable lunch menus served.
Can't be beat.

Posted by
3580 posts

Near the north end of the Millenium Bridge, not far from St. Paul's and just a few minutes from Tate Modern Museum, is a Salvation Army cafeteria. I ate lunch there one day last fall. The food was reasonably priced and good. The building was very nice and seemed new. The customers appeared to be business people as well as others. I think St. Martin's in the Field is closed for renovations now, but they had a great lunch cafeteria, too. I've eaten lunch at churches in Bath and York. These places are popular with locals, so I have been able to meet people living in these places by eating at the church. In Bath, the YMCA serves lunch and sometimes dinner at very reasonable prices. If you can find a place that makes and sells Cornish pasties, one of those can make a very filling yet inexpensive meal.

Posted by
4555 posts

Yes, you're right....the cafe in St. Martin in the Field is closed until October 1st....too bad...as earlier posters said, it was a great place to eat in central London.

Posted by
1455 posts

Wow, never thought of the charity places like Salvation Army cafeteria! I guess here in the US those are for the homeless or low income but if you're saying business folks dine there, and the money goes to charity... wow, why not??

Keep them coming folks! I'm sure its not only helping me, but also other Rick-niks who are going to London too!

PS: My pocket book feels slightly heavier now! Thanks!! LOL!!!

Posted by
1 posts

Two great places (May, 2006) for us vegetarians in London: Bride of India, 66-68 Inverness (near Bayswater tube stop), great buffet for 5 pounds each (dinner); Tai vegan Chinese, 10 Greek St. (near Tottneham Court tube stop), 5 pounds lunch and 6 dinner. Took a flyer from someone at the tube station re: the first one. Second came from Lonely Planet. Both incredible all-you-can-eat tummy hummers. At Tai, even met a young man from Tianjin, China, who was born the year I was a student there (1983-84). Small world.

Posted by
390 posts

I spent a semester in London a few years ago in college so I know all about eating cheaply! Just off of Haymarket street near Piccadilly Circus, on Panton Street, there's a West End Kitchen and Stockpot. They're pretty much the same with amazingly low prices. You can get a 3-course dinner for about £6 and most main dishes are under £4. They serve primarily homestyle British food - it's not 5-star but it's filling. I also love grabbing Cornish pasties for lunch - about £3. You can find them all over the place, especially in train stations. Try West Cornwall Pasty Co. in Covent Garden. Pubs are also great for cheap dinners - Wetherspoons is a chain and has locations all over the city with meals for about £5-6. They have a special where you can get two meals for £5.49. Cheap drinks too! Icco pizza has several locations - Drury Lane and Goodge Street. 11" pizzas for under £4.

Posted by
8 posts

Wagamama Noodles have great food in an energetic setting. There's a location just down the street from Harrod's as well as many other great London spots. Yummy food, fair prices.

Posted by
5 posts

I agree with the Wagamama reply, we went there during our recent trip and loved the food. Filling and relatively cheap. 8-10 pounds each for entree and split starter. There are Wagamamas all over England, especially London.
Also consider picnics, you can get a great meal at Marks & Spencer Simply Food shops all over England. Waitrose and Sainsbury's also have great prepared sandwiches and salads that locals seem to snatch up at lunch time. The food is really great and at unbeatable prices. We just sat and watched people while eating all over London.

Posted by
27 posts

I agree with others on Wagamama branches - very flavorful and under 10 pounds.

Just south of Trafalgar Square, right in front of it on the main drag down to Parliament, is a pub (can't remember the name, but it is recommended in Rick's book) that has good 2-for-one selections for 7-8 pounds. Quite filling.

For a cheap pizza, go to ICCO (Italiano Coffee Company) on Goodge St., I think near the British Museum. 3 pounds for cheese, 4 pounds with topping for a pie for one hungry person or 2 moderately famished.

Posted by
50 posts

Your best bet is going to be finding a little dive where you happen to be walking. I have found some of the best places when walking the streets. All the restaurants have menus posted outside the doors. Take a look, check the price and see if it's good. Chances are, you are going to come home with a great story as opposed to a "nice" dinner. Good luck to you!

Posted by
1455 posts

Sandra I do plan on wandering and discovering new places, but I don't want to miss out on a great find from fellow travelers.

This will be my 5th time to London in 3 years, and I am pleasantly surprised at the wonderful suggestions that people are posting.

Posted by
3580 posts

Up the escalator in the top level of Victoria Station is a "food mall" with eateries ranging from a baked potato place (my favorite) to places that appear to be real restaurants. There are several fast food places.

Posted by
5 posts

I know that you are looking basically for restaurants, but for really cheap eats try Pret a Manger. They are all over London. Just look the name up on your computer and you will find a list of them. You can get some really delicious sandwiches from there. Also. as others have mentioned on here Sainsbury, Waitrose, and Marks and Spencer are my go to places for cheap meals. You can make a picnic out of all the nice things you can get at these supermarkets. They are all over London as well. If the weather is decent go to one of the nice parks and enjoy your picnic.

Posted by
389 posts

We ate at the Plough, a pub straight out the gate from the British Museum (2 blocks give or take) Every entree was huge and about £6. Six of us ate with drinks for under £50. Great service, friendly servers and no smoking for real.

Posted by
349 posts

In my many many times to London I have one conclusion seldom is food worth a tube ride (even with a pass ) I have chased many cheap meals from guide books seldom have I thought they much better then the corner cafe that doesnt mean a little searching and looking for smiling faces doesnt pay off.

Posted by
1455 posts

John, I agree but my post was asking fellow travelers for personal recommendations.

I printed the response, and if i so-happen to bump into the restaurant, I'll give it a try. If it does not appeal to me, I have the option of passing.

Sometimes the hidden jewel missed is because someone didn't ask for it.

Posted by
2788 posts

Thank goodness for Pret a Manger for places to eat at a reasonale price. Spent 10 in Londan and ate there probably 5 times on a restricted budget.

Posted by
4568 posts

I almost feel embarrassed to suggest this, but I love Nandos for a quick or late meal. Nandos is a semi-fast food place you order at a counter but then sit down where they bring your meal to the table. They have grilled chicken with spicy piri-piri sauce (or a mild sauce if you don't like heat). There are a lot of inexpensive, ethnic places that are open late in Soho ... try Wardour or Frith streets. Soho Spice on Wardour street is open quite late and you get curry with some sides for a pretty reasonable price. There are also places like Wagamama. I second all the recommendations for sandwiches and salads from Pret a Manger or from EAT. The Books for Cooks shop on Blenheim Crescent in Notting Hill has a test kitchen and you can sometimes get lunch or great bake goods. One street over on Elgin Crescent is Mr Christians which is a great deli and good place for a takeaway lunch. You can get different salads, filled croissants, pasties, etc.

Posted by
3 posts

Michelle...we just returned from a week in London and enjoyed our pub meals at The Lord Moon of the Mall pub about 1/2 block down Whitehall from Trafalgar Square. They had a special with many selections for 7.95 pounds/two for the price of one. We also enjoyed their Sunday roast chicken, roast potatoes, green beans and slaw with a choice of either pub beer or wine included for 6.95 pounds per person (several other options were also available besides chicken). They have an extensive menu and were very cordial. We also enjoyed our meal at Hard Rock Cafe (sandwiches with cole slaw and baked beans for 8.95 pound). The pizza restaurant and fast food restaurants on the top floor of Victoria Station were also very reasonable.

Posted by
11 posts

Trafalgar Square suggestions:

I once bought a sushi plate from the convenient store (similar to the kind you might buy at your supermarket), and ate while people/scenery watching on a sunny day in front of the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square. Can't get much cheaper than that!

There is a Pret A Manger right there too (local Starbucks-style place). I also like Cafe in the Crypt which should be better than ever following St Martin in the Fields' refurbishment (supposed to be done in Oct 2007 I think)

One funny thing IIRC (someone pls correct me if I am mistaken) is you pay a certain tax if you eat within the restaurant premises but not if you carry out. So if you place a take-away order at a Pret A Manger or similar places, don't change your mind and eat in the restaurant, you tax evader you! ;-)