As a cosmopolitan capital, London is one of the world’s gastronomy epicentres with cuisines from every country in the world. From Michelin star sushi to English ‘Pub Grub’ there’s a wealth of flavours and foods on offer. With a reputation as an expensive city, insider knowledge is needed to make it a little lighter on the wallet. Here are our recommendations of where to eat in London on a budget.
Salt Beef Bagel from Beigel Bake on Brick Lane
Famous for Sunday Roasts, English Breakfasts and Pies – the English diet is not always considered the most healthy, however there are plenty of choices. Head to Hoxton for Vietnamese restaurants or Soho for budget Italian restaurants in Soho, and experience great dim sum in Chinatown.
English Breakfast at Smiths of Smithfields
Traditional English Breakfast
The breakfast of champions, this is the perfect way to set up your day, especially if you’ve been enjoying London’s pubs and bars the night before. It can also be found in lots of cheap cafes (or ‘greasy spoons
’ ) as a ubiquitous English favourite. Not for the faint hearted, this is a killer meal with a bit of everything – fried. The best places to get your bacon and egg on a budget in London are the traditional cafes but there are a few restaurants that do a posher version. Check out Smiths of Smithfield
in traditional Spitalfields market, Terry’s Cafe
or The Breakfast Club
cafes (at 5 locations around town)
Fish and Chips at Poppie’s
Fish & Chips
You can find Central London’s Chinatown from the aromas of roast duck wafting teasingly through the streets. Just above Leicester Square there is a whole grid of great restaurants, offering great value dim sum, set meals and buffets. There are also some Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese restaurants in this area, so if you’re looking for steaming bowls of noodles then this is your best bet. Lots of places here are cash only but you can also get a great lunch for under £10. Favourites are Cantonese restaurants New China
and Sichuan restaurant New Aroma
Goddar’s Pie & Mash Shop
English Classics: Pie & Mash
London has lot a lot of its traditional ‘Pie & Mash’ shops but there are stills some to be found. If you’re central try Battersea Pie
in Covent Garden (not Battersea) – they also have good vegetarian options or Kelly’s
. South of the river don’t miss Goddard’s
in Greenwich, it’s famous locally and has been here since 1890! It’s also great for budget prices.
Cheese in Borough Market
Try Brick Lane Market for world cuisine at great prices (open Sundays) including Moroocan, Burmese and Ethiopian cuisine – you’ll be spoilt for choice! For good Paella and sausages including German specialties try Borough Market. For burritos, wraps and pastries try Berwick Street Market.
Mall Tavern’s Roast Dinner
Traditional Sunday Roast
Roast dinner is a traditional British staple and the best home cooking you can get. Try a traditional pub for a good value version – here are the more budget recommendations: The Lord Clyde, The Charles Lamb pub in Islington, The Camden Head and The Lock Tavern in Camden or The White Hart in Waterloo. A little less budget but worth it are the Mall Tavern in Notting Hill.
Aladin’s on Brick Lane
A “British” curry
As Chicken Tikka Masala was once voted the nation’s favourite dish, ‘curry’, has become as British as steak and kidney pie. There is a great choice in neighbourhoods such as Brick Lane
in ‘Banglatown’. Brick Lane is a short walk from Liverpool Street and offers great deals on curry, often throwing in free beers to get you into the restaurant (there are many curry houses to choose from). Try Cinnamon
, Bengal Village, Sheba
If you’re after super cheap to go, you can always grab a sausage at Big Apple Hot Dogs
on Caledonian Road or a salt beef bagel at the famous 24 hour Beigel Bake
on Brick Lane.
Equity Point Hostel
If you’re staying in London then why not stay at Equity Point Hostel in Paddington? Centrally located and with great facilities and communal areas, there is a choice of private and dormitory rooms at great value.
Photos courtesy of the restaurant’s websites