Family of 6 needs survival advise from locals
I am posting for friends who are arriving next week in London for a week with their 4 adult (college age) children. With the cost of an inexpensive lunch running $20 and assuming dinner can be gotten for the same and adding breakfast, they are going to be close to $2,000 just for food cost and that assumes they won't do any nice dinners.
Please provide some unique and unusual ways to survive (they are willing to pack picnics). Their hotel may have a small kitchen for eating breakfast and packing lunches.
They are staying at Marriot West India Quay, 22 Hertsmere Road, Canary Wharf
London, England E14 4ED
Are they staying in one of the apartments at the Marriott? If so, they will have a kitchen, which will be a great help. I recommend starting the day with a BIG breakfast. The hotel has a grocery delivery service, but I do not know much about it. Canary Wharf (walking distance from the hotel) has a Marks & Spencer, Tesco, and Waitrose, all of which carry lots of pre-made salads, sandwiches, ready-made meals, etc. If they feel like it, they could even cook. They will be very impressed with the range and quality of prepared meals found in supermarkets in the UK.
For a treat/nice dinner out at a reasonable price, I think Canteen is a great option. The food is high quality and traditional British, so it's I nice option for visitors. It's also pretty reasonable, all things considered. http://canteen.co.uk/index-page-Intro.html&m=Home
S & M (Sausage & Mash) Cafe is reasonable and fun. http://www.sandmcafe.co.uk/
In South Kensington, Bosphorus Catering always had great kebabs, though I haven't been in a few years. Worth a stop on the way to/from the museums near the South Kensington tube station. We lived on their food when we were young and poor.
When out and about they will find a Pret a Manger on nearly every corner. Their sandwiches are varied and reliable. There should be something to please everyone. Of course making their own will be cheaper.
Pizza Express is good for a chain (and spares one the indignity of going to Pizza Hut).
La Porchetta has a few locations and is another good pizza option.
In Chalk Farm, Marine Ices has great ice cream and Italian food. It's a classic, and a favorite of my now 13-year-old son.
A visit to Borough Market is a fun outing with lots of free food samples and high quality take away food.
They should plan ahead and use TopTable.co.uk for deals. (Fixed-price 3 courses, 50% off, etc.)
Chain-wise, Nando's is nice and fast and not so expensive. Billed as Portugese chicken.
Golden Hind in Marylebone is pretty inexpensive and has fun retro-atmosphere. And it's BYOB, and there are lots of wine shops in the area. With six, probably good to book ahead. (They might want to pick up a pay-as-you-go phone with £10 on it at Carphone Warehouse or similar.)
Beigal Bake on Brick Lane for breakfast or lunch (take-away) for super cheap bagels/cream cheese and/or corned beef. A good place to go if they are interested in checking out Spitalfields or Columbia Road on a Sunday. (I think the college kids would dig this part of town.)
Tayyabs in Whitechapel for Pakistani. Great food, excellent prices. BYOB. Not the most picturesque neighborhood, but fun nonetheless. I am getting hungry just thinking about Tayyabs.