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Inexpensive (but amazing!) Food in London

Hey All,

This is my first post on the U.K./Ireland board, and I hoping for some help.
I'll be visiting London for 4 days at the end of June, and i'm trying to keep my budget for this trip as low as possible. Can anyone recommend fantastic restaurants for both lunch and dinner that won't break the bank?
We're not sure what area we are staying in yet, so suggestions that are easily accessible are greatly appreciated. We're open to all cuisines.

Thank you all in advance!

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  1. A good place to start would be to search this board for "cheap London" and "budget London". There have been many, many recent threads, as someone seems to ask this question just about every other week. Once you have a look at what's already been posted on this topic, you can ask more specific questions about the experiences you're after.

    Another good thread is the Brixton Village thread, as this gets recommended to everyone looking for inexpensive but amazing food in London:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/698606

    1. Assuming you aren't teetotal one way of making eating out cheaper in London is bring your own places. Venues like Tayyabs and Lahore Kebab House, Pakistani cuisine in east London, allow you to bring your own beer or wine with you at no charge.
      They are also very reasonably priced as far as their food goes.

      As gemuse says there are a lot of suggestions elsewhere on the boards. I can recommend Cay Tre the Vietnamese place in Shoreditch.

      1. How far do you want to travel for your food and what areas will you be around?

        Also, if you trace back through my posts (not to be conceited, but cheap/ethnic eats is all I'm good at) you'll find a huge number of places. Most of them might be a little far out for you though.

        The Brixton Village thread is an excellent place to look, but then we'll be getting into what we define as cheap. The food there is excellent and the food to value ratio is incredible, but I wouldn't call many of the places there cheap.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JFores

          I'm not sure where your staying or what you consider easily accessible but if your prepared for a half hour tube ride east then you can find some great food at really reasonable prices.
          Just search for East Ham on the UK board.

        2. Thanks for all the great replies everyone!
          We're still not sure where we will be staying yet, but as it is my boyfriend's first time in London, we'll be doing most of the typical "touristy" things, so suggestions in relation to that would be great :)

          2 Replies
          1. re: chefjeannine

            Well, they are not dirt cheap nor are they absolutely amazing, but the cafes in most of the major art galleries and museums are pretty good. The V&A (a beautiful cafe) and National Gallery in particular offer good value for money in places where you're likely to want to go. The British Museum food isn't so good but there you eat at communal tables so you get into interesting conversations.
            There's a food market behind the Festival Hall on the South Bank every Friday, Saturday and Sunday where you can get cheap and pretty amazing food to eat there or take away. The Moroccan stall is particularly good. And the Wild Food Co has 5-week-hung Dexter beef burgers. I bought some superlative lamb chops from them too.

            1. re: Jenny Sheridan

              I was so impressed by the V&A cafe. The food was really quite good, and beautifully presented, and the rooms are just gorgeous. As Jenny says above, it's not a tourist trap where you might expect it to be.

          2. The other answer I've just thought of is eat a good meal at lunch or very early evening.

            I'm assuming you are relatively keen on excellent foot and for example you could eat three courses at Arbutus at lunchtime which is an excellent restaurant for less than £40.

            I would also have a play around on websites such as this http://www.toptable.com/venues/offers...
            There are always lots of 50% off food and 2 for 1 deals floating about and in recent times they haven't just been confined to struggling restaurants. If you see something you like then come back and ask us for our view on it.

            1. Once again, thanks all!
              We're probably going to favor quick meals such as sandwiches & the like on the go. Any suggestions for places where we could get an excellent quick sandwich?
              Also, here in Montreal we've got tons of fantastic "hole in the wall" restos, any noteworthy ones in London?

              1 Reply
              1. re: chefjeannine

                All over London are a few chains that have very decent sandwiches and/or salads. Pret A Manger is one and at any Marks & Spencer shop there are also good lunch options to carry out.

              2. hi if you're in the East end of London- Hackney/shoreditch then i would suggest the Vietnamese restaurant on Old Street called Cay Tre- v good value. Think there's a Cay Tre just opened on Dean Street in Soho as well which will be a lot closer if you visiting central london for sight seeing. Or near to Bricklane by Spitalfields there is a retro fish and chip shop called Poppies which is really good and not too expensive
                A bit further a field and one of my fav Korean/Japanese restaurants is Dotori by Finsbury park tube.

                if you're in the Angel area then there are lots of restaurants on upper street from cheap to more expensive. I would recommend le mercury on upper street for French food

                For South London and if you are by Tooting I would suggest any of the Indian restaurants but my personal fav here is south indian Radha Krishna Bhavan- the Dosa is amazing - yum or try Mich Marsala
                I would personally check out timeout London and depending on whether you are staying North. East. South or West London see what budget eats are near by

                enjoy your stay in London

                1. Hi chefjeannine,

                  Check out Mooli's at 50 Frith St Soho - fun Indian fast-food wraps and convenient for Leicester Sq/central London - http://www.moolis.com/. I like Abeno for Japanese (not sushi) near the British Museum - http://www.abeno.co.uk/ - and Bi-Won nearby too. http://www.allinlondon.co.uk/restaura... There are also tons of little markets with cheap food stalls, like Exmouth Market -http://www.exmouth-market.com/ - and Goodge Place - http://www.qype.co.uk/place/228028-Go.... Borough Market is a must too for a lunch sometime - amazing chicken, hog roast, chorizo sandwiches. Enjoy!
                  Have a great time!