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A Week in Central London on a Budget...

I saw a terrific thread that listed some great spots in London for a traveller who was running short of funds. But I also know that new places spring up often and new faces join the Chowhound ranks every day. SO...

We are spending a week in the London area and we are looking for cheap places to eat that aren't transplanted American fast-food chains. Not that I am patently agains fast-food or chains -- I love Pret a Manger -- but would like to stick with more London-y things. My travel parnter has never been to England (or even out of the North American continent) so I'd love to take her to some must-try things.

The budget I'd LIKE to stick to is around $5-15USD per person per meal. I realize that this is asking a LOT in London, but that's what Chowhounds do... dig up the nearly impossible!

So there is the gauntlet, thrown!

Thanks in advance, everyone!

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  1. I never understand why Pret gets such a good press from visitors. To me there is no joy to be found in one of their refrigerated sandwiches.

    A few weeks ago, there was a good feature in Time Out that highlighted some of London's best cheap lunchtime options.

    You can find it here:


    I have sampled quite a few of them and can heartily recommend.

    The Back Door at Rasa Samundra in Charlotte Street (actually its in the street behind the restaurant, I forget the name) You get a first class veggie lunch box for under £3.00

    I also like the bratwurst at Kurz and Lang in Smithfield. Although they are not quite as good as what you might pick up on the streets in Austria or Germany.

    Just Felafs in Covent Garden

    Houmous Brothers in Wardour Street

    I'll add a couple of recommendations of my own to the above in the form of the Jerk Chicken Trailer on Saturday in Hoxton Street Market. Expect a queue.

    A box of salad from Ottolonghi in Upper Street or Notting Hill must surely be one of London's greatest bargains. I honestly don't understand how they have got away with selling them without a sneeze guard for so long. But if yo don't mind that, they are delish and feature the best possible ingredients.

    1 Reply
    1. re: loobcom

      Wow! Thanks for the great suggestions and the excellent link to the TimeOut article.

      Anyone else have ideas?

    2. I have the PERFECT website for you. It's called


      and it's all about places Londoners go to for lunch. It aims to avoid all of the traditional places critics and publications rave about and has some good stuff listed.


      1. WOW!!! Thanks, TexasToast!!! GutterEats is an incredible site -- just the right thing. I can only expect that it will get even better as more people discover it and contribute to it (Not unlike Chowhound in that regard!)

        Still open to other suggestions from anyone else, too!

        1. am i the only one who shudders looking up restaurants in something called gutter eats?

          and will gutter eats ever find out about

          a) indian ymca
          b) india club
          c) malaysian students dining hall
          d) mohsen

          all of which are on a much much higher plane of existence than anything else i've seen on that miserably named site?

          1. I think that Gutter Eats will find out about these places if someone reviews them. The thing is, I think Gutter Eats more about takeaway, cafes and sandwich type places.

            1 Reply
            1. re: exmonkey

              Exactly. It's a new site. Give it time. I don't like the name either, but it's not my site.

              Oh, and if the OP wants to consult another source, try this:



            2. Fantastic suggestions, all! I agree about the unfortunately named "GutterEats" but as was mentioned...someone else's decision, not mine. I do hope, though, that someone does review the spots Howler listed. I'd love to hear more about them -- what is offered, general price range and maybe an address or general location! I'm at t-minus one month or so and counting before my big trip begins, so if anyone else has any further ideas, let me know. Also, since this thread seems to be attracting travelers (duh!) and European hounds, bear in mind that I have another post going elsewhere related to Bavaria and Austria at Christmastime, since I've got a shot at that as well!

              Thanks again, everyone! Keep the suggestions coming!

              1. swingprof - if you usethis sites search engine with the suggestions i've given, you should get all the info you need.

                the malaysian students dining hall is in queensborough terrace, off byaswater. mohsen is in warwick road off kensington high street. the india club is in the strand and the indian ymca is in fitzroy square.

                try the wonderful lebanese pizza at green valley, a lebanese supermarket in upper berkeley street, marble arch. try the ice cream and spectacular lebanese sweets too.

                1. The India club is a trip! And you can't buy alcohol in the restaurant dining room, but you go down one floor and buy it there, and bring it back up with you. I don't know if she's still alive, but there's this really old woman sitting there selling the beers.


                  1. For good Thai, try Isarn in Islington. Very good and inexpensive! Also, you'll find that many places in slightly out of the way London, areas like Clapham, are significantly cheaper than say Notting Hill or Mayfair! And the tube goes everywhere. Buy Time Out's guide and study well! It'll give you maps and everything!