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Inexpensive places in Russell Square (and beyond) [London]

My girlfriend and I are visiting London from the US next week,
and will be staying in Russell Square. I'd love to find some inexpensive
(15 pounds or less per person) yet interesting places to eat. Close
to Russell Square is good, but I'm sure we'll be wandering over the city
and wouldn't mind some destination restaurants. My girlfriend doesn't
eat pork or shellfish, but we're otherwise fond of all kinds of cuisines.

Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. La Porchetta in Boswell Street is a decent place for pizza or pasta, as is Ciao Bella in Lamb's Conduit Street. And there's a reasonable range of mid-priced if not exactly extraordinary restaurants (Carluccio's for Italian, Hare and Tortoise for noodles) in the Brunswick shopping centre. Osteria 51 on Gray's Inn Road looks like a very old school London trattoria, but the food is much better than this type generally are. You should be able to get a meal under £15 in any of these places.

    NB none of these places are particularly extraordinary: venturing farther afield will take you to more exciting places, but IMO all of them are decent if you just want something in the neighbourhood (and there are quite a lot of bad tourist traps in the neighbourhood).

    For cheap Korean, try St Giles' High Street next to Centrepoint. Various posters here have recommended Assa.

    For nice coffee and cakes, try the London Review Cakeshop, next to the London Revew Bookshop.

    For a cheap meal in a high-end place, try the tapas at Moro in Exmouth Market (a short stroll up Rosebery Avenue). Exmouth Market also has some good cafes.

    Beware the cafe in Russell Square itself - the food is awful, though the location is great.

    Friar's Delight on Theobald's Road is great for fish and chips.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sphamilton

      It's actually Fryer's Delight. My girlfriend and I went there yesterday as a break during a visit to the British Museum. We had Plaice & Chips and Haddock & Chips between us, and they were both delicious - the fish and the chips alike. Thanks for the recommendation!

      1. re: Pan

        Glad you liked it - sorry for the typo!

    2. Chili Cool on Leigh Street, between Marchmont and Hunter, is a wonderful Szechuan place, and very affordable. Service stinks, but the food is terrific. Not sure how well you can do with kosher restrictions at a szechuan place, but there's a fair number of veggie and chicken dishes. You can check out the menu at their website: http://www.chillicool.com/

      1. Tas has some decent Turkish food.... should come within your budget.

        If you go to the Borough Market about 11:30 or 12 on a Friday, you'll get some free samples and find other goodies for a nice lunch and an interesting look at the market.

        http://www.tasrestaurant.com/tas_bloo...

        2 Replies
        1. re: zuriga1

          Soho (with many tourist sights nearby) is not too far from Russell Square and has quite a number of good and interesting restaurants mentioned in recent threads. Chinatown is in Soho. (Try Haozhan.)

          Polpo, Koya (Japanese), Bocca di Lupo (a little more expensive but apparently very good) are a few restaurants that have singled out in Soho. I can personally vouch for Koya and Polpo.

          1. re: Lake

            £15 a person and less at Bocca di Lupo - really?

            Also Ragam on Cleveland St just across Tottenham Court Road from Russell Square is great - you could definitely eat well there for £15. Tas as zuriga1above posted is also good.

            You should check out Toptable - they often have some pretty good specials.

        2. It's also worth taking a 38 bus from New Oxford Street to Dalston (currently v fashionable if you're a clubber). Walk north up Stoke Newington High Street and over the next three or four blocks you'll have an excellent choice of Turkish ocakasi (barbecue) restaurants. I like 19 Numara Bos Cirrik and Mangal II, but there are lots more. £15 will buy a starter, a vast plate of grilled lamb with accompanying bread, rice and salad, and a drink. 19 Numara will throw in a few free side dishes as well, including a fantastic grilled onion salad with pomegranate sauce.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sphamilton

            If you are in that area you may as well walk down Kingsland Road towards Shoreditch - a range of inexpensive but tasty Vietnamese places. £15 will go far - and some of them are BYO so you can take your own booze. A

            1. re: sphamilton

              I second the rec for that onion salad. It is sublime.

            2. I'm happy to add a new place to Russell Square recommendations. We live in this area and are always dismayed at the lack of decent food options in the area,

              This past week a Turkish restaurant named Antalya opened on Southampton Row. Something about the place gave us a good feeling so we went to check it out, despite the slightly cheesy and overdone decor. They also appear to have one other restaurant in Nottingham which gets good reviews.

              We had Sigara Börek, a pastry with lamb and herbs as a starter and it was delicious. We also had Mititey Köfte, grilled spicy meatballs and the Guvec - an oven dish of vegetables and lamb and mixed kebabs. Everything was well prepared and homey and authentic, with lamb dishes being the standout. When you arrive, they immediately bring you vegetables, peppers, olives and bread to dip.

              I also posted in this thread because the prices certainly qualify this place as inexpensive. There were three of us. We had 3 starters, 3 mains, 2 glasses of wine. A complimentary fruit dessert is included. I also ordered a Turkish coffee which came with a Turkish "petit fours" - namely, a plate of Turkish delights. Total price for the three of us was £50.