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Help! I need help to find a few reasonable restaurants for my in-laws when they visit London, please!

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My in-laws will be visiting London on their own for a few days at the beginning of May. They are in their early 80's, and my father-in-law is very picky about what he eats (meat and potatoes will do just fine, thank you). They also don't want to spend much (okay, you can stop laughing now...). FIL won't go near most ethnic cuisines - too spicy or full of flavour, or whatever, so unfortunately most of the reasonably priced options that I have found won't work (although FIL will go any place that has salt beef on the menu).
I know where I'd go were I visiting, but that's of no help here. Yes, it's a tall order. They will be staying around Russell Square, will probably be taking the tube most places. Any lunch and dinner suggestions would be most appreciated!

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  1. What's their budget?

    2 Replies
    1. re: greedygirl

      Ideally no more than £15 or £20 per person for dinner. Less for lunch, if possible (odds are that will end up being soup and sandwiches most days). They don't drink, and aren't huge eaters, so likely they will be happy with a place they can order just a main dish, perhaps with dessert or a starter, but not necessarily.

      1. re: cherylmtl

        The budgets really low for a decent restaurant, you are getting recommendations for chains which may fit the bill, I would include places like Pret-a-Mangeur and EAT (they do soup and sandwiches for lunch).

        For good plain simple food you are going pay a premium in a restaurant if you want anything good, even in pubs, as ingredient quality is important.

    2. Is Pizza Express beyond the pale?

      Most of the museums and art galleries have decent and well-priced cafes, with plenty of choice, which might suit them for lunch.

      4 Replies
      1. re: J Sheridan

        Pizza Express is definitely not beyond the pale...and I think the museum cafes will work well for one or two lunches. I have the one in the National Gallery on my list for them (they had found the Cafe in the Crypt at St Martin in the Fields in some guidebook, which I was trying to talk them out of...)

        1. re: cherylmtl

          When my mum visits me (she's in her late 70's and not an adventurous eater) and we're in central London we normally go to Pizza Express or Cafe Rouge, Cafe Rouge do a reasonable steak frites and there's always offers if you search for Cafe Rouge vouchers online.
          If your FIL likes salt beef then maybe Brass Rail on the fourth flloor of Selfridges would be an option.

          1. re: Paprikaboy

            I haven't been for awhile. Has the Brass Rail moved up to the Brass Rail?? I'm glad you mentioned that.

            1. re: Paprikaboy

              I can't recall the last time I ate at a Pizza Express and had to pay full price as there wasn't an online deal. I suspect most of the chains will have similar offerings.

              As a general money-saving idea, sugggest you have a nosy through TopTable to see which places have offers on. Will they be wanting to have dinner near to their Russell Square hotel? TopTable can be set up only to show restaurants which have offers and are in a particular geographical area of London (big areas, though)

        2. Where are your in-laws coming from? the US? elsewhere in the UK?

          If Italian food works for them, the Carluccio cafes are pretty reliable.

          1 Reply
          1. re: DavidT

            They're coming from Canada. Italian is iffy with my FIL, although pizza works.

          2. zedel has some decently priced dishes esp. the set menu. not remarkable but a nice more impressive brasserie environment than the chains. its near piccadilly and the website menu should help you decide whether they would find the food approachable enough.

            1. If they enjoy burgers, I'd suggest Byron, a chain with quite a few branches around London.

              Definitely avoid Gourmet Burger Kitchen or Ultimate Burger, I can only assume the names are ironic...

              £15 to £20 is tough for non-ethnic meat and veg cooking...

              You could check the menu prices at Hush Brasserie in Holborn, I've had a decent meal there, nothing stunningly exciting for a foodie but decent food and a wide range of choice.

              All the steak restaurants I can think of are above the budget...

              1. Thanks to everyone who replied - I have compiled a list, along with suggestions that popped up on Top Table, and sent it to them. Now it remains to be seen what they do with the recommendations, but it should serve as a fairly decent guide for the few days they are there.