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i'm in london and i'm running out of money...

r
rubybee Aug 21, 2006 05:09 PM

hi all,
i've been travelling through italy, france, spain and portugal for the past 6 weeks, and now i'm in london, but i'm running out of money, which is even worse, since it's so much more expensive here than anywhere else i've been. i live in nyc and have a list of good cheap places i hit up when the funds are low -- 'ino, rai rai ken, olives, etc... can someone point me to similar places in london? i'm staying in SE london, but am out and about everyday with my weekyl travelcard, so location isn't an issue. i need cheap, delicious food!

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  1. loobcom RE: rubybee Aug 21, 2006 09:00 PM

    Good question. Head up to Stoke Newington for some great Turkish food. For meat, my current favourite is the 19 Nomura. For vegetarian you could eat a Pide, a kind of Turkish pizza - quite delicious. A 243 bus will take you there from Holborn.

    There is cheap and delicious Indian food to be found in the Asian communities in Ilford, East Ham, E1 and E2, Tooting, Balham, Wembley, Southall etc.

    Just last Friday I had a blow out vegetarian feast on High Street North East Ham at the Saravana Bhavan. Very easy to over-order!

    If you are into Sushi, a very good and very reasonable place that has been mentioned here a few times is Kula-Kula on Brewer Street W1

    If things get desperate, a lot of people swear by the two bagel bakeries at the Bethnal Green High Road end of Brick Lane. Very, very cheap, personally I think their bagels are rubbish, the best are at Carmeli in Golders Green, but then they should be, they cost 3 times as much.

    1. cord RE: rubybee Aug 22, 2006 08:20 PM

      I was in London about 2 weeks ago - my go to place when I needed something fast, cheap, yummy and healthy was Pret a Manger, hands down. There are a million of them all over the place. I am from Toronto and we don't have that here, and I can tell you that I hope and pray that they will open here eventually. Maybe other people have different opinions about them, but I found them to be the one place I always knew I could run in and get something quick for not too much money which also tasted great.

      4 Replies
      1. re: cord
        pescatarian RE: cord Aug 23, 2006 05:13 PM

        I loved Pret a Manger when I was there. Their website says they do not believe in franchises, so I think it is unlikely they will arrive in Toronto. My dream is to open up a similar place of my own here one day.

        When I was in London, I found there were a number of places in Soho that had good vegetarian Thai take-away for 3 pounds. It was a good portion. I also found Camden Market on the weekends had good foods to sample - there was a "pickle" vendor - olives, pickles, etc. that was fab

        1. re: pescatarian
          zuriga1 RE: pescatarian Aug 23, 2006 07:58 PM

          Pret A Manger opened some shops in NYC a few years ago, but they weren't successful at all. I think it was because they made the sandwiches according to what they *thought* Americans would like. As one of those Yanks living near London, I wouldn't have changed a thing.. the choices here are great! I'm so happy... a Pret A Manger is opening in Guildford near where I live!!!

          1. re: zuriga1
            pescatarian RE: zuriga1 Aug 23, 2006 08:16 PM

            I'm jealous. When I was there in May, I had a latte there one morning (bank street location) and it was near perfect. It's always a shame when restaurants open new locations and they aren't the same - should keep things the way they are. I have a similar beef about Starbuck's prepackaged sandwiches. They seem to have better options in the UK - they had a grilled panini with a filling similar to chana masala - I don't go to Starbuck's often, but when I have gone here, I haven't seen such choices, just the usual tuna, etc. (I guess that's what they think the NA market wants).

            1. re: pescatarian
              cord RE: pescatarian Aug 23, 2006 09:33 PM

              Yes, I thought that Pret in the UK really "got it" in terms of what kind of sandwiches are tasty and healthy, and also their salads - greens with seeds and hummus and a good dressing so you get your protein/carbs/fats but no wheat - we definitely need more chains in North America that are clued in to the healthy/tasty/not your basic tuna salad ideal of Pret. I have to say I was very impressed.

      2. j
        Jayne in VT RE: rubybee Aug 23, 2006 04:52 PM

        If you're really that strapped for cash go to a supermarket (Tescos, Sainsburys, M&S) and get some of their marked down food at the end of the day. They do pretty good take out sandwiches etc. Pret a Manger are NOT cheap if you're strapped for cash.

        There's a great lil deli place on Charing Cross Rd that has the best falafel ever. Gaby's. It's the first diner/cafe you come to on the right hand side of the street as you're walking up it from Trafalgar Sq. It looks like a real dive, but you won't be disappointed with the falafel!

        For a rather odd but cheap dining experience try Won Kei's in Chinatown. The service is notoriously bad, but that is what people go there for. It's quite amusing.

        Stock Pot (dotted around in the centre) have home cooked meals aty reasonable prices too. Not top quality but filling and cheap.

        Tai do Thai buffets for about 6 quid I think. In Soho.

        Misato in Chinatown is also cheap but the lines are horrendous sometimes.

        Failing that, every cafe will do you two rounds of toast for about a quid ;)

        Have fun.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Jayne in VT
          cord RE: Jayne in VT Aug 23, 2006 05:06 PM

          At Pret a Manger you can get a really healthy and filling sandwich for under 3 quid (or really good salad with protein for under 4 quid) - even add a drink and dessert and still be around the 6 quid mark you referred to for the thai buffet. So, not sure how that is not also cheap?

          1. re: cord
            j
            Jayne in VT RE: cord Aug 23, 2006 05:49 PM

            Well, I would imagine the OP would want value for money, and IMHO I don't think Pret is good value food apart from perhaps, their breakfast menus. The Thai buffet means all you can eat, so yes, that is much cheaper and probably much more nutritious than Pret. Some of the Chinese places are way under 6 quid too. Anyone can grab a sandwich at any cafe/deli for much cheaper, and much more interesting surroundings than Pret. The OP is running out of money, so blowing 6 quid on a sandwich and a drink is not wise budgeting! I agree it would be good if more of these quality chains arrived in Canada and the US though.

        2. cord RE: rubybee Aug 23, 2006 07:45 PM

          Ya I can see your point. I think the main thing I found comforting when I was in London about Pret was that it was always around, so when I needed something quick and didn't have specific idea for that meal and needed something relatively cheap, it fit the bill. I did also go into M&S and was impressed by their to go section, bought myself a insulated lunch bag as a little souvenir. We used to have M&S in Toronto, the last one closed about 5 years ago, that was a sad day. But we never had the array of M&S prepared food here that you have.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cord
            j
            Jayne in VT RE: cord Aug 24, 2006 12:50 PM

            Agreed that Pret is somewhat of a guarantee to get something good without worrying about whether it's good or not (which you have to wonder with some places)...especially if you're a tourist.

            I was trying to give the OP some of those back street cheap places that tourists probably wouldn't find, or wouldn't want to trust cos they look a but dodgy.

            I miss M&S SO much. I too have that insulated lunch bag!

          2. t
            themags RE: rubybee Sep 3, 2006 01:02 PM

            BTW Pret a Manger is actually owned by McDonalds, if that sort of thing matters to you.

            For great cheap South Indian dosas try Drummond Street near Euston Station - there's an Ibis on the corner that you can see from the station - that's Drummond Street. A favourite is Diwana - get the paper dosa and it's BYO. Super cheap. They also do the very best Tarka Dahl I have ever had - and I've had a few!

            Turkish in Dalston/Stoke Newington - the Mangal Ocasbasi (sp?) on Arcola Street is the best, although too famous due to being featured in Rick Stein's TV programme. It's BYO.

            At the bottom of Kingsland Road are all the Vietnamese restaurants - my fave is Tay Do. They do a great chicken and basil salad and I love the tofu, vegetables and crispy fried noodles. Again, it's BYO.

            1 Reply
            1. re: themags
              j
              Jayne in VT RE: themags Sep 3, 2006 02:56 PM

              Are they really? I knew there was something that didn't sit right with me and Pret. I guess that's why tourists love them. That's a great bit of information. Thanks :)

            2. j
              Joan Kureczka RE: rubybee Sep 4, 2006 11:14 PM

              Actually that's not quite true. McDonald's is a 33% investor but has no involvement in the running of Pret a Manager.

              1. s
                sifter RE: rubybee Sep 7, 2006 11:49 AM

                I think there's a big difference between eating cheaply by buying sandwiches and finding a cheap restaurant.

                In my experience, the absolute cheapest way to fill up is to go to Tescos/Sainsburys and buy a carton of the fresh soup (£2 or so) and a couple of bread rolls (20p each). Pret is nice, but it's easy to spend five or six quid on lunch there - much more than the Supermarkets. Far better for filling sarnies is Salumeria Dino, a little Italian deli just off Goddge St that does massive ciabatta sandwiches for about £3.

                In terms of cheap sit-down places, Ramen Taro is excellent. £5.90 for a massive bowl of ramen soup noodles - they're very tasty and really filling. Taro has two branches, one on Old Compton St and one on Brewer St, both in the West End.

                1. r
                  Rianna RE: rubybee Sep 11, 2006 04:12 PM

                  To throw out another candidate for the Pret sandwich-while-out spot, I think the best of the semi-chain sandwich places in town is Eat. Not necessarily a destination eating locale, but if you're sightseeing or running errands anywhere near one, it's convenience food that is actually well worth eating.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Rianna
                    c
                    CornflakeGirl RE: Rianna Sep 11, 2006 09:09 PM

                    Coming to London next month and I've been wondering what the difference is between Eat and Pret?

                    We have Pret here in NYC and it's proven reliable. Looking for lots of good London cheap eats but that will be a different post.

                    TIA!

                    1. re: CornflakeGirl
                      r
                      relizabeth RE: CornflakeGirl Sep 17, 2006 11:43 AM

                      EAT has less mayo. i prefer it to pret, but find both rather unpleasant.

                  2. wleatherette RE: rubybee Sep 12, 2006 05:20 PM

                    to me, a big difference is that the sandwiches at eat are much less gloppy. at pret, everything seems to be drowned in mayo or some other kind of special sauce.

                    1. r
                      richmaem RE: rubybee Sep 16, 2006 02:29 PM

                      Kurz and Lang for wonderful and cheap Bratwurst and Currywurst with delicious freshly fried sourkraut and potatoes. All for under 4 quid! Just google Kurz & Lang for location. Plus It is open until 7 a.m. on weekends.

                      1. TexasToast RE: rubybee Sep 20, 2006 11:23 AM

                        What you need to do is refer to this site for cheap eats.

                        www.guttereats.co.uk

                        If something looks good, then post on CH to see if anyone can recommend it.

                        TT

                        1. e
                          exmonkey RE: rubybee Sep 25, 2006 07:45 AM

                          Have you tried the hari krishna place - behind Soho Square just off Tottenham Court road? Also, I beleive that Sikh temples offer free food as one of the rulkes of their religion.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: exmonkey
                            TexasToast RE: exmonkey Sep 25, 2006 01:16 PM

                            Do you mean Govinda's? Isn't that meant to be for the homeless? I think they have a van that comes out to Camden and feeds people on the streets there.

                            TT

                          2. e
                            exmonkey RE: rubybee Sep 25, 2006 07:27 PM

                            I'm not sure of the name, but I've eaten there twice and the food is very good (especially if, like me, you're a veggie).
                            There may well be a place that feeds the homeless also, but this is definately a commercial concern.

                            Mind you, I ate for free every day at the Hari Krishna tent at Glastonbury festival...

                            1. howler RE: rubybee Sep 25, 2006 10:13 PM

                              try the indian ymca in fitzroy square. best deal in town - eat good, authentic indian canteen food for less than ten quid. try india club in the strand - again, canteen food, but not so good as the ymca. finally, try the malaysian students center off bayswater - bit pricey, but sometimed delish.

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