While London life may not be getting any cheaper, its appetite for great value food has never been bigger. With the cost of rent and travel taking ever-growing bites out of our salaries, knowing where to find London’s best budget restaurants is more important than ever. It’s now the city for fine dining and Michelin star restaurants; but it’s also a city of cheap restaurants. The following round up of the finest cheap restaurants in London offer wallet friendly fare for those times when only a bargain restaurant will do.
1. Dim T
Popular among the media crowd, Dim T is a stylish restaurant that serves authentic oriental cuisine which includes steamed dim sum, noodles, soups and traditional curries.
Add: 56- 62 Wilton Road, Victoria, London, SW1V 1DE
2. Franco Manca
The pizza is made from slow-rising sourdough (minimum 20 hours) and is baked in a wood burning ‘Tufae’ brick oven made on site by specialised artisans from Naples. This oven produces a heat of about 500c (930f). The slow levitation and blast-cooking process lock in the flour’s natural aroma and moisture giving a soft, easily digestible crust. As a result, the edge (cornicione) is excellent and shouldn’t be discarded.
Add: 4 Market Row, Electric Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8LD
3. Beigel Bake
Open 24 hours, this East End institution serving freshly baked filled bagels has become the snack-stop of choice for clubbers, drinkers and taxi drivers.
What do we love most about this institution? Perhaps the brilliant moist salt beef, carved as you wait from a slab kept warm in the front window, or the classic smoked salmon and cream cheese, or the bagels (boiled before being baked) these fillings go into.
Or could it be the 24-hour opening with hot bread pulled fresh from the ovens all night, or a Brick Lane location that makes this the snack stop of choice for clubbers, imbibers and taxi drivers?
Indulge in a piece of New York-style cheesecake or a super-sweet almond slice if you wish (ignore the pastry-heavy sausage rolls), but remember that the bagels are what have kept punters coming back since 1977. A narrow counter caters for eaters-in.
Add: 159 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB
4. Hummus Bros
Nutritious and inexpensive dishes in Soho from the innovative Hummus Bros. They give you the hummus – you work out the topping.
Add: 88 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F 0TJ
5. Lahore Kebab House
This is an almost legendary Pakistani kebab house – nothing fancy, but they serve fantastic, unpretentious food at unbeatable prices. You may not get a menu or an itemised bill, but go with the fl ow and expect a feast for a tenner. Mixed starters usually include kebabs, spicy sausage and so on. Spicy lamb cutlets are good and roti is essential. Please take your own poison as they will not serve or sell any. There is an off-licence next door. Don’t confuse this place off Commercial Road with a couple of similar-sounding ones nearby.
Add: 2-10 Umberston St, London E1 1PY
A Mexican restaurant on Villiers Street, Lupita Central is from the people behind El Farolito, a famous taqueria in Mexico City. They specialise in fresh ingredients and authentic recipes.
Add: 13-15 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6ND
Mandalay features home-style, welcoming and informative service, and cooking that accurately reflects the staples of Bamar food. The ten tightly packed tables are full each night with a mix of students, Burmaphiles and a few expats (best make a reservation). Burma’s food draws influence from its bordering countries (India/Bangladesh, China and Thailand) and is served at bargain prices here. Curries, noodle dishes, fried snacks and salads are put together in inventive ways, often with a hot, sour, or sweet mix of spices and herbs – there’s plenty of choice for vegetarians.
Add: 444 Edgware Rd, London W2 1EG
8. Meraz Restaurant
At Meraz Cafe they strive for prompt, efficient and courteous service to leave an impressionable mark on their customers. All of their food is freshly-prepared on the premises with a lot of love, care and affection. Their menu includes a fine selection of popular and some unique Indian dishes. At Meraz Cafe enjoy a wide variety of delicious Indian ready to be delivered to you.
Add: 56 Hanbury Street, Brick Lane, London, E1 5JL