Tenner a head in London
So after realising my monthly eating-out bill is something ridiculous, i'm trying to stick to cheaper places! I know there is a whole load of places where two people can eat for 20 pounds.
I'll throw Saravanaa Bhavan in Tooting (and probably in the other branches) into the ring. It's Sound/North Indian Thali's are the best I've had and are really special, and clock in at 6 or 7 pounds. Other good Tooting options, Apollo Banana Leaf, Chutney n Dosa, Spice Village (if you order conservatively) work too.
Any good suggestions?
Good shout. I find the gouging in China Town really annoying, nipping in for a dish or two ends up being 40 quid with tea, rice, service charge etc. Understandable though.
I keep meaning to get the Soy Milk and Youtiao from one of the cafes there. Definitely under a tenner and will hopefully remind me of Taiwan!
I've tried all these places at lunch, not sure if you could do all of them for under a tenner at dinner.
Bonda- Malaysian: Paddington
Ariana II- Afghan: Kilburn
Ibuki- Japanese Maida Vale
Salt n Pepper-Pakastani: Near Leicester SQ
Gana Cafe-Sri Lankan: Wembley
Kailash Parbat-Indian: Wembley
Dip and Flip-French dip and burgers: Battersea
I'm a PhD student who loves to eat out, so I'm constantly looking for more affordable places to eat! My recommendations:
Franco Manca, Brixton for pizza
Honest Burger, Soho (or Brixton)
Malaysia Kopitiam, Leicester Square
Noodle Bar on Cranbourne Street for their hand-pulled noodles - also try Maotai Kitchen in Chinatown
Koya, Soho (udon only though, not the specials)
Cafe East, Surrey Quays for massive bowls of pho
Asakusa, Mornington Crescent - I used to be able to order several small plates (+set meal) to share with a couple of friends and it would come to about 10 per head
Ittenbari, Soho - I prefer their ramen over the other newer, hipper places (not a fan of the super-rich tonkotsu)
You might be able to feed 2 for 20 pounds at any of the Korean restaurants around Centrepoint, or Koba near Goodge Street, or Asadal next to Holborn Station if you don't order the barbeque meat.
If you can go for lunch, I think the express lunch at Hereford Road (9.50 for main course, a glass of wine, and coffee) is exceedingly good value. Or come to Camberwell and eat at FM Mangal for delicious grilled meat.
Caravan, King's Cross
The Table, Southwark
I should also mention I almost always drink tap water!
If yo like a glass of wine with your lunch, Soif on Battersea Rise does a good and sometimes truly excellent single course with a glass of wine and coffee for £10. For well under a tenner you can have a delicious Mediterranean/North African lunch at Medina in Falcon Road.
Both in the deep south, of course.
there are some nice ideas for central london in this guardian article:
koshari street, wc2
honey & co, w1
scandanavian kitchen, w1
honest burger, w1
foxcroft & ginger, w1
pizza pilgrims, w1
bi bim bap, w1
banh mi bay, w1 and wc1
The Korean cafe on Museum St, near the British Museum does a great value bibimbap set for £10 (soup, bibimbap, kimchi and a drink), which is worth a look in an area mostly full of tourist traps. The nice Thai place opposite also did a good lunch menu, but they've now closed to be replaced by a fish & chip place which looks dire.
I also quite like Ten Ten Tei on Brewer St - you can do lunch there for about a tenner if you're careful. It's not the most exotic Japanese restaurant, but there's something homely about it.