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Cheap places to eat in London.

Hello everyone and thanks for taking the time to read and post in this thread.

I am looking for an advice about where to eat en downtown London, I am looking for cheap accessible places.
Local places with local food, hole in the wall restaurants, markets, etc.

I am wide open to suggestions.

Thanks Again!!!

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  1. Where's downtown London?

    4 Replies
    1. re: JFores

      Maybe Zone 1-2 approximately! Usually only North Americans say downtown. The poster has advertised for the same in Paris, Amsterdam, and Madrid.

      1. re: cathodetube

        Sorry is my first time in london... yes area 1 and 2. Thanks!!! :)

        1. re: josephml1

          Check out the extensive Brixton Village and Brixton Market threads as it's extremely close to central London proper by tube (and the food is definitely worth the "trip.") Not exactly a stereotypically British market or even a normal market with groceriesm, but Brick Lane's is definitely worth the trip on a Sunday. There's decent food in and near the market plus a very good Bangladeshi restaurant called Gram Bangla down the road. A bit further from there, but generally more appealing to non-Bangladeshis is Needoo (or Tayyabs) for Pakistani. I prefer Needoo by quite a lot.

          1. re: JFores

            I will add it to my list thanks for sharing!!!

    2. Soho is a good place to hit up, its very central and there's loads of options from bakeries, to cafes to some of the best restaurants in London that do good prix fixe deals. You should find previous threads on cheap places to eat in Soho. I'd suggest sticking around Frith St, Old Compton St, Wardour St and Berwick St. Good luck!

      1 Reply
      1. re: cookiebitch

        Very useful Info, i am taking notes. Thanks!!!

      2. What about a good public market?

        2 Replies
        1. re: josephml1

          Borough is the largest most amazing market in London.

          Cheap food -- try the beef brisket curry at Cafe TPT in Chinatown -- its like 5.50 and amazing. I will recommend their curry until the day I die.

          1. re: brokentelephone

            I am taking notes, definitive I will go there...Thanks!!!

        2. You might get more useful advice if you're more specific. Zones 1 and 2 cover an enormous area and I presume you will be wanting to see some tourist sights while you are here. Where are you staying? And what do you mean by a public market - there are lots, but many are in residential areas for obvious reasons. Borough market is the most famous, and touristy.

          3 Replies
          1. re: greedygirl

            I will be staying at the Marriot right beside the Eye of London. (What area is that?)

            I truly appreciate all your help and advice.

            thanks!!!

            1. re: josephml1

              the London Eye is on the Southbank, by Waterloo Station...you'll be able to get around central london really easily from where you are...and you'll be close to Borough Market too

              1. re: cookiebitch

                Sounds great...thanks for the advice. :)

          2. As previously mentioned, London is a huge city and 'central' London is quite spread out (a quick look at google earth tells me it's six miles from the Tower of London in the east to Kensington to the west). The sights are scattered across London and as with any major city, restaurants, including takeaways, chippies, restaurants and markets are found on seemingly every block in London. Most food places will be 'local' 'hole in wall' type places. Some will be dreadful, many will be perfectly fine and others will be outstanding. But given the distances in London are you willing to, say, visit the Imperial War Museum in south London and then go all the way to Clerkenwell for fish and chips right afterwards? It'd be easier for us to provide recommendations if you list the key sights you want to see and we can give you a selection of good eateries in the area.

            On top of this, London has an enormous variety of food and cuisines on offer. So it's also a daunting task to be asked 'what should I eat in London?' What do *you* like to eat? Do you want strictly English/European food or do you prefer ethnic cuisines such as Indian and Thai? Or a mix?

            Here's a few suggestions tied to specific locations/areas:

            Trafalgar Square/National Gallery: walk a few blocks eastwards too Covent Garden where the Battersea Pie Station offers excellent British style meat pies for a cheap lunch. On Thursdays Covent Garden has a small but excellent food market where you can pick up an inexpensive lunch from a variety of food vendors. My favourite was the roast pork sandwich.

            British Museum: a few blocks to the east is Brunswick, a large 1970s shopping/residential complex set amongst the georgian townhouses of Bloomsbury. The centre has a number of the better chain restaurants, including Yo Sushi, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Carluccios and Nandos. Yes, they may be chains, but the food is still largely good. If you'd prefer something more original, a few blocks north of Brunswick centre towards Kings Cross Station is Chili Cool, a Chinese restaurant specialising in spicy Sichuan cuisine. The dishes are on the spicy-oily side but it's decidedly inexpensive and popular with Asian students at the various University of London schools in Bloomsbury. Closer to the BM is a small Thai joint called Thai Garden Cafe. Ate there once and it was perfectly fine and most of the surrounding lunch crowd seemed to be employees of the BM.

            If you find yourself at King's Cross station around lunchtime, just north of the station (between King's Cross and St. Pancras' station) is a small collection of food stalls run by an organisation called Eat Street. It's a new concept and the food vendors change on a daily basis. The one day we were there we had burgers topped with kimchee. Quite good. There's an Eat Street website that can give you more updated information on the vendors operating while you're in London.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Roland Parker

              Great review and great advice...I am printing your post very useful.

              thank you very much for taking the time to post in this thread and for the advice.

              :)

              1. re: josephml1

                HI joseph in terms of the chains, I'd say the best are the EAT cafes if you need something quickly.their soups are generally quite good.

                1. re: DietStartsTomorrow

                  Good advice thanks!!!

                  1. re: josephml1

                    Hey Joseph! I occasionally get pummelled for this but I often take americans to The StockPot on Panton street, which is directly off Leicester Square. It actually features what we Brits argue that we never serve. It's inexpensive, hearty and a actually an amazing deal for central London. I think for Americans it's often the journey of discovery that can be the best. I'd say however, there are places I'd implore you to avoid at all costs such as Mr. Wu's ...regardless of how enticing the price may appear and the fact there are queues of people getting in the place! They serve a buffet of fried 'Things'. Fried UFO's is the best way of describing them. Oh and they have a dish of fried things in a sauce. Earlier today I recommended the Thai Pot, just off of Covent Garden. It's an extremely popular place and you'll most likely have to queue in the evening, but it's not a long wait.

                    Also,k directly across from the StockPot is the West End Kitchen. It's virtually a mirror image of the Stock Pot and the price tends to be the same...around £7 for a full dinner and pudding.

                    I see lots of americans dining at Pizza Express. My daughter says it's okay but I'm not a pizza fan and if I've eaten in one I can't remember. They're all over town.

                    WagaMama has become a very popular and familiar image around London and other cities. The dishes are hearty but I notice that the prices have crept up over the years.

                    http://www.stockpotlondon.co.uk/

                    http://www.thaipot.biz/index2.html

                    http://www.wagamama.com/

                    The Marriott is in the former GLC building. It's a magnificent structure. Make sure you sneak into the library for a snoop and get a snap of Parliament from there.

                    I once dined in the Chinese restaurant on the river side of the building...all I can say now is...don't.

                    Bring your swimming cossie with you. The Marriott has a magnificent pool. It's an easy walk across the bridge to Charing Cross, up the hill to the Strand where you can easily access Covent Garden, The Strand, Charing Cross Road and Leicester Square. You'll enjoy your stay. My son and I were guests the first night the hotel officially opened over fifteen years ago. I hope it's as nice for you now as it was when we stayed there!

                    Enjoy!

                    Fr Bill+

                    1. re: FrBill

                      Sorry to put a spanner in the works, as it's great you take the time to reply FrBill but if you are visiting London, please take note of some of the other suggestions and threads (particularly by JFores) with regard to cheap food - London has much better to offer than chains like Wagamamas and Pizza Express! Franco Manca is by far better and can be cheaper than Pizza Express and there are many places in Chinatown and beyond that will beat Wagamamas.

                      If you are staying at the Marriot, you are right next to the South Bank which on Fridays has a great food market - and if you can take the advice and head down to Brixton Market, it's a short trip from Waterloo.

                      1. re: pj26

                        Good Day PJ, thank you for writing. I had to go back to read what I wrote as I didn't recall recommending Pizza Express, nor actually Wagamama for that fact. However I did intentionally mention them as they seem to draw a large number of people. As I'm sure you appreciate, dining is a wholly subjective experience. What one person may like another may detest. I have noticed that there are some people who become a bit 'cranky' when someone mentions or recommends an eatery that they enjoyed. It's almost as if they've been shot down or are being discounted because they liked it. I can understand this from a human perspective. However, I am the world's greatest expert at my own opinions and when I enjoy something I'll mention it and if I haven't I have no problem in mentioning that too. I often find there are tourists who simply become rather worn out at the end of a day and are trying to process all the bits and bobs they've read about and have been offered to them with a melange of criticisms, recommendations, or salutations. Having that slightly broader perspective can sometimes help broaden the experience. I'm fortunate to be able to dine out often in London, and whilst I've dined at Franco Manca I personally didn't find it to be that exciting. However I respect the fact that you and others did. This is why site such as these are so wonderful - they provide variety and perspectives. During the past winter I received quite a raking over my comment about the Stockpot. I can't recall exactly what was said about it. By no means is it a Michelin experience. However, the queues of people out the door every night since the late fifties suggest there's something they've done right for their specific market. It's all subjective - Some prefer BA, some prefer Virgin. Nevertheless thank you for sharing that anything I might have enjoyed that you didn't must be wrong. I respect your view as much as I hope you respect mine.

                        May all your journeys be ones of discovery

                        Fr Bill+

                        1. re: FrBill

                          Whilst it wasn't an explicit recommendation for Waggamama and Pizza Express there is an implied recommendation in your post. As PJ26 says they really aren't great examples of what is good in the UK food scene at the moment. And lots of places in London have queues, it correlates with the size of population not quality.

                          It puzzles me that you make such obtuse recommendations. Certainly taste is highly personal but the recommendations seem quite conservative and old fashioned, most would have been valid 20 years ago so they don't really represent how UK food has changed and improved over this period.

                          London's food scene is now as good as many other international cities with Borough and Brixton markets treasure troves of good food and in Brixton cheap restaurants, and the Soho streets mentioned upthread teeming with great new food options. None of this really existed when Pizza Express,(1965), Waggamama (1992), The Stock Pot (1958), and Wolfies (1975) were in their heyday.

                          But as you say taste is very personal so each to his own, but useful to put the recommendations into context/