Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > U.K./Ireland >
Dec 28, 2007 09:23 AM


Traveling to London for the first time in February, any suggestions for good food at resaonable prices?? We hear it is extremely expensive to eat in London. We are going to see the sights more than for the food, but want to eat well, Nothing fancy as we travel to Paris every year for the FOOD and rather spend our money eating there.Thanks for all your help!!!!!!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I wouldn't personally save all my pennies for Paris when there are so many reasonable restaurants with excellent food on my doorstep.

    I wouldn't say it's 'extremely expensive' to eat here. Like anywhere else, it depends where you go and what you eat.

    If you could give some info about where you'd like to eat (in the West End? Covent Garden?), and what type of cuisine you prefer, that might help with recommendations.

    1. "Extremely expensive" ? I suppose much will depend on where you are coming from. If, say, Scandanavia, then you'll find it a real bargain.

      You'll find many threads on this board asking exactly the same question as you do. The answers are there as well.

      Have a good trip.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Brit on a Trip

        I think you took the words right out of my mouth, John.

        1. re: zuriga1

          I think it's one of those issues that plague any international board, June. Such a subjective matter.

          Looking back on my notes of my recent US trip, I see that we had two $200 meals - only slightly cheaper than I'd expect to spend at, say, the Lindsay House in London.

          kittycatkid - perhaps you could help by indicating the sort of place & price range you visit in Paris. Like most capital cities, it (and London) tends to be more expensive than the rest of the country. I rarely visit Paris and find it quite expensive - but I eat in Calais and Boulogne most years and find great value.

          1. re: Brit on a Trip

            My son was here for over two weeks (not staying with me) and casually mentioned that food prices seemed high in London. People just forget that it's not the prices that have changed so much as the darn exchange rate. No wonder Europeans are flocking to the U.S. these days. I've yet to hear where my son did eat - two small children were with he and his wife so it may have influenced their choices.

            It's all relative. I've had great meals in Paris for €30 per person and other more expensive ones that weren't up to par. It helps when people on boards like this mention what they paid for a meal. We all have different incomes or situations and just to say food was good, doesn't mean much at times.

            Enjoy your upcoming, London adventure, John.

      2. Let me say I am from NY, and live on Long Island which is certainly not an inexpesive place to reside. I go into Manhattan to eat often. Last time I was in Paris was this past Mayand I dined at Tallivant as well as small little bistros all over the city, spending as much as 400.00 on a lunch as as little as 70- 80 Euros on a dinner.I guess what I meant was that with the dollar being in such a slump, it was more the exchange rate that made traveling to Europe in general extremely expensive these days.
        I love all kinds of food, which the exception of Chinese, I eat it, but it is my least favorite. I love seafood, steak, duck, veal, Greek food and obviuosly French food. I guess I was too vague, what I really meant to say is I have dined all over Europe and not to insult anyone, I never think of food when I think of Londion. I think of Big Ben the changing of the guard!!! I hope this helps with suggestions, I wouldn't want to spend more than 100 pounds = 200 dollars per person on dinner.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kittykatkid

          Hey, no insult taken. It's the problem with any international board that uses English as its language - it's not possible to know which country folk are coming from unless they say. I also understand what you mean - I think of New York as the Empire State Building or Macy's, not dinner.

          I only visit London occasionally, and then as a tourist, but you're going to find some very fine dinners for £100 a head and, indeed, for half that. This board is very London-centric so you will definately find many previous threads that will help.

          I rarely pass up an opportunity to recommend my favourite London restaurant - Passione - three courses will cost you around £45, plus drinks and service charge.

          I'm also a great fan of Noura - for Lebanese food.

          However, as this is your first trip you might want to search out places that offer a distinctive British cuisine.

          Bear in mind when considering prices that, in the UK, tax is already included in the menu price. Many London restaurants adopt the European method of adding a service charge (around 10 - 15%) to the bill and, in these places, no extra tip is required. The menu should clearly state if a service charge is levied. If it isn't, then a 10% tip is normally perfectly acceptable - perhaps a little more in very upscale places..


        2. I understand your feelings. I lived in Westchester for more than 30 years - now here near London for almost 4. Food in London has improved tremendously since my first trips years ago. It would be a shame to think of the visit as for sightseeing only when there are so many good places to try. You can eat very nicely for £100. Try Googling for the Galvin Brothers' bistro on Baker St. or Great Queen St. which is on the street of the same name. The Only Running Footman pub has been highly recommended here for the food, and do look at the many similar postings about people coming to London and looking for good meals. You have lots of time to book places and find great meals. You might also enjoy one of Gordon Ramsay's places... for instance, Maze.
          Where are you staying - that might help people, too, although London is very easy to get around and not really all that enormous.

          1. I would recommend that you do a "compare and contrast" for food in Paris and London. The food is quite different between the two cities with London's good restaurants being a match for Paris's good restaurants. I suspect that you will find that Paris is quite traditional whilst London shows a slightly more innovation.

            From a price perspective I am finding them to be fairly similar in the mid to high end. Paris has the edge in good traditional food at the lower price point, although London definitely has he edge here if you want to try Asian and middle eastern food (OK Paris has Asian/Middle Eastern restaurants but the spicing is quite neutral to cater for French palates).

            I was in Paris earlier this month and ate at a couple of one stars with a average bill of £150 (approx. €200) for dinner for two. My last three star meal in Paris (February) was €600 (£450). Compare this to Gordon Ramsey his six course "Menu Prestige" at Claridges is £75 (€100), or for seven courses at his flagship restaurant in Royal Hospital Road it is £110 (€150), or the extensive tasting menu at Fat Duck at £115.

            OK these prices are without wine, water, coffee, service charge etc. which will push the bill up substantially. However, on a like for like basis you may be surprised to find that London's top restaurants are a little cheaper than Paris's - and probably at least as good, probably quite different, and maybe better in some cases.