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Cheap good food in London with two teenagers.

We will be in London for a week in July and I am looking for good inexpensive food for two teenagers. Thanks for any help!

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  1. Are you mainly seeing the sights in central London? Within 5 minutes walk of the Science, Nat. Hist. and V&A museums is La Bouchee in the Old Brompton Road or Bangkok in Bute Street which are both good. Just a short walk north of St. Paul's Cathedral are plenty of good places like Vinoteca in St. John Street.

    If you want much change out of $50 each you will have to stay with the chains. All Bar One and Fine Line are reliable. Less sure about Garfunkles or Cafe Rouge though. Avoid anything called Aberdeen Steak House.

    1. Where will you be staying? What kind of food are you after? And what do you define as 'inexpensive'? I completely disagree with the post about about having to stay with chains (which I would avoid at all costs) - there are plenty good places around that you can eat relatively inexpensively - ethnic places are usually the best bet. Try Tayaabs in Whitechapel for magnificent Indian food, or some places in/near Chinatown - there's a great thread recently about some places about - Leungs Legend for one

      3 Replies
      1. re: pj26

        With you pj about Tayaabs etc., but I know that between 3 hours in the British Museum and a visit to Westminster Abbey the nearest Pizza Express option is going to win over a trip to Whitechapel every time. My wife and I took our two teenage boys to Vinoteca after a morning in St. Paul's and the bill was £140 with just one bottle of wine. I know that All Bar One in Cannon St. would have been half the price and our sons would have been fine with the burgers.

        1. re: pj26

          We are staying in Kensington not far from the Natural History Museum, but will be traveling all over town. Thanks again for all your help.

          1. re: wienermobile

            The cafe in the V&A Museum is pretty good for lunch or tea and cakes and very beautiful. Don't eat in the Natural History Museum though. If your teenagers are not too hungry, you could try Brindisa (tapas) in South Kensington, or Pain Quotidien, which is a chain but quite a good one. Masala Zone is a small chain of Indian restaurants. There is one in /covent Garden and one in Earls court.

        2. Most kids seem to enjoy Belgo - there's one near Covent Garden. The price is right, especially good for early dinners. The frites, chicken, moules.. all very tasty.

          1. If you want to get some traditional British fare at a reasonable cost, try the Golden Hind in Marylebone for fish & chips. It's one of the best true chippies in town -- and you are able to bring your own wine for you. Great fish, great chips.

            1. I would recommend the following for teenagers:
              Wagamama, popular with teenagers/students here, fast, buzzing, noodles ramens etc. There are branches all over, including Knightsbridge (next to Harvey Nichols), across from the Tower of London, and round the corner from the British Museum. They are very speedy.
              Pizza Express, simple but consistent pizzas, again branches all over, and quite fast.
              If they demand burgers, Knightsbridge has one of the very few branches of Byrons, which we think are much better than the GBK or other competitors. Choc milkshakes are excellent (although if you are from the US, this won't seem quite the miracle to you that it does to us Brits)
              If you are shopping, the new Westfield shopping centre has an excellent food court, with good burritos and vietnamese (and the other Byrons, and another pizza express).
              Finally, if you're looking for a beautiful 15-minute walk that won't make teenagers too sulky to even breathe, you can walk North from the Royal Albert Hall/Albert Memorial into Hyde Park, and you'll hit the serpentine. Turn right and walk along the North shore of the serpentine, past the roller-bladers & horse riders (mainly at the weekend), and at the far end there's a lovely cafe that looks out over the water that was refurbished over Christmas & apparently does nice hot chocolate (this is the one recommendation I haven't tested personally).
              Hope you have a lovely time, and don't get rained on too much!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Shivaun

                Ooh, sorry, forgot to mention the SouthBank. South side of the Thames from Waterloo/London eye eastwards. Great place to wander along on a summers evening, loads of variably priced dining options to choose from.

              2. If you walk down Exhibition Road toward Cromwell Rd, cross it and keep going, there are a few pretty good and inexpensive little places around the tube station. One is the tiny noodle bar on the corner of Exhibition and Thurloe - it's really good. There are a whole load more informal places and useful little shops in the streets around the corner by the station as well.

                1. There are a few crepes places, too. They're fairly inexpensive and good for a main dinner or dessert. One is right near the South Kensington Tube stop. I agree that Wagamama is another good option, and they are everywhere.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: zuriga1

                    zuriga - the next time you head stateside, puhleeze get yourself to some ramen joints in nyc.
                    menchanko tei used to be great in my time, but i'm sure the boards will alert you to where the best ramen is these days. i promise you that wagamama will never ever sully your lips again.

                    1. re: howler

                      howler - believe me, I don't eat at Wagamama on a regular basis. :-) One reason... my husband lived in Japan for 8 years. But I promise to try a real ramen joint next time I visit NYC. Since I was just there a month ago, it might be awhile. I'll be in Minneapolis in August, and my son knows a lot of great places to eat. Maybe there is even good ramen there. I wouldn't be surprised.

                      That said, Americans seem to enjoy Wagamama and it's a good, inexpensive option for tourists.

                  2. Since there's so much interest in ramen, why not go to Noodle Bar on Cranbourne Street in Leicester Sq/Covent Gardens. Lanzhou style hand pulled noodles, made on the spot. Hand pulled noodles = la1 mian4, which became ramen after it was exported to Japan.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: limster

                      I will remember to give it a go, limster. Off topic, but I finally made it to Malaysia Kopi Tiam last week. Friendly staff and only a few other lunchtime eaters aside from me. I definitely didn't order the right thing having pad thai. Maybe it was an off day for them, and I'll give it another try with some Malaysian choices.

                      1. re: zuriga1

                        Malaysia Kopi Tiam and Rasa Sayang are probably good choices for Malaysian/Singaporean in the Chinatown area as well. I like the Penang style char kuay teow and Hainanese chicken rice at the former, and the nasi lemak at the latter. But for the really good stuff, it's worth a side trip to Sedap on Old Street to get their Penang style Nyona dishes (order off the curries section).

                        In that area, Abeno Too is also worthwhile for okonomiyaki.

                        I would think that tourists are chowhounds too (otherwise, why would they post here?) - let's not treat them as second class citizens - let's give them the same kinds of recommendations as we would a local.

                        1. re: limster

                          OK - I'll definitely give Malaysia Kopi Tiam another go for Malaysian next time. It's such a convenient location. I'll try to get to Sedap, too, one of these days. My husband promises to take off a lot of Fridays this summer.

                          I agree that tourists are not second class citizens by any means. I can only speak for Americans, and they seem to like what they can't find at home and places like Wagamama are a novelty for some. It's hard to generalize, of course, but I think some Americans are not used to very spicy foods and they like to stick to the familiar, even though they probably should not if travelling.

                          And maybe it's an age thing to some degree. My sons love much spicier dishes than I do and branched out into other cuisines a lot younger than I ever did. My generation did not grow up with all the choices available now in the U.S.

                    2. Thanks again for everyone help. I will report when we return. Thanks!