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May 12, 2007 03:12 PM

Is GBP 50 a Cheap Meal in London?

Well, now I'm worried.

There are now two threads asking for inexpensive meals in London for no more than GBP 30 to 50 per person without wine. Gasp. Is that what you Brits call cheap?

I don't care about ambience or service. All I want is a tasty meal. Where does one find great food for, say, GBP 5 per person?

FWIW, I'll be staying near the Victoria and Pimlico tube stops.

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  1. This Brit would not call a £30 - £50 meal "cheap". And I wouldnt expect to pay that in my part of the country - except for quite upscale restaurants.

    But, on my trips to the London area, I find I can easily spend £30+ for three courses. And that is not going very far up the scale. I'm sure cheaper dishes can be found, though....but great food for £5? That's a challenge. I look forward to seeing what folk who live there come up with.


    4 Replies
    1. re: Brit on a Trip

      £30 - £50 is not cheap at all.
      £5 is a challenge. I can see your point as that's $10 worth of food. How about:

      If you go into China Town (nearest tube Piccadilly and Leicester Sq) you will find lots of places offering all you can eat of around £5. Not the best stuff but good enough.

      Hummus Bros - is a good place on Wardour St, Soho ( Oxford Circus and Tottenham Ct road tube. nice middle eastern food. Won a lot of awards.

      Leon - all over London, the one I use is opposite Blackfriars station( - from £4.20 a head.

      Breakfast Club - D'Arblay St.

      Stockpot on Old Compton St. Cheap and long established.

      There's also lots of little Sushi places that are worth a look.

      1. re: Liam25

        £5 is very very cheap for anything worth eating in London. You'll hit it during the day with sandwiches from places like Pret, or some of the individual sandwich bars that are to be found everywhere - and some of them are pretty tasty.In the evening, it's going to be ethnic - the eat-as-much-as-you-like Chinese buffets are pretty much just food fuel but will fill you up. Even fish and chips will probably be more if you go somewhere decent. Thai Silk chain (pretty standard fare) do have lunch special menus for just over the fiver, I think.And Culture Club on The Cut at Waterloo do really excellent all in one noodle and rice dishes for under £5. Really, your best bet is to invest in Time Out's Cheap Eats, though. Lots of suggestions there.

        1. re: SpikeyD

          The cheapest for reasonable quality is £10-15 per person. £10 is considered a bargain.

          1. re: Lake

            Lunchtime menus are usually cheaper, even at decent restaurants. You could consider having lunch as your largest meal. If you go to a food hall such as at Harrod's or Selfridge's, you can take away some really good food at reasonable prices. You can't eat on the premises, but Hyde Park is close to Harrod's.

    2. Thanks for the thoughts so far. I think it's all a question of how creative one is willing to be. For example, there is an Italian restaurant across the street from my apartment, in a neighborhood where the typical dinner is $30-50 per person. They have happy-hour specials in the bar, where one can get, among other things, a pound of steamed mussels in garlic sauce, some crusty bread, and a glass of wine for $8. I also enjoy going to farmers' markets, picking up some nice ham, a bit of cheese, a loaf of bread, perhaps a piece of fruit, and having a picnic in the park. That's the kind of thing I have in mind. A good meal, to me, does not have to involve a white tablecloth.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Lettuce Eat

        A couple of suggestions from a Londoner. With the exception of lunch time sandwiches, which I don't really consider food - more fuel - eating for under £10 is pretty much going to be 'ethnic'. In that bracket the best I can suggest is The Real Greek Souvlaki and Bar - a chain of Greek restaurants where you can have a chicken souvlaki and a glass of wine for around £8. They are scattered around town - there's one on the South Bank of the River right by the Tate. Or Maroush on Beauchamp (strangely pronounced 'Beecham') Place, just behind Harrods. If you eat from the menu here it's not super cheap, but order the wrap, which is lamb with salad and sauce in flatbread, and it's just under a fiver. Try borough Market as well. Great stand up food stalls including Chorizo sandwiches and a new Fish! Fish and Chips stall for just over a fiver. Have fun!

      2. I have found British food prices to be written in American dollars. Only, it is double that, because it is British Pounds. Assume food will cost roughly double what is does in the U.S.

        1. Try of good deals and fixed-price menus...

          1. We just came from a Scotland trip and had a day on either end in London. We were blown away by the cost of eating out everywhere we went. Like one of the posters mentioned above, the numbers would have been fine if in $ but they were in GBP!

            Our cheapest dinner meal was in Chinatown at an odd Chinese place with a very varied menu. But the BBQ meat plate with rice and my fried noodle and pork dish were each GBP 5 each and we were both full afterwards.

            "Inexpensive" entrees will run GBP 10-12 at most places. It's a shock to realize we would end up paying over $100 for a meal (GBP 50) most nights there when it would take a special occasion at home to spend that much on dinner!

            For lunch, take-away food is cheaper than sit-down (obviously). We found fish and chips for take-away for GBP 6 when it would have been GBP 9 to sit and eat. My lunches in London involved getting a pasty (GBP 3) and eating it while walking around. But this was as much choice as value - they're tasty and come in so many varieties!

            We also grabbed a sandwich from EAT and Pret a Manger - they're not necessarily cheap, but the food is all set to take with you (pre-packaged) but it's fresh and very tasty.