Cheap and Cheerful – The 14 Best Cheap Eats in London
As we all know, London is expensive. But it’s also one of the best cities in the world for food. How do we balance our love of food with the city’s often astronomical gastronomic prices, you ask? Armed with our handy guide of the best cheap eats in London, that’s how!
These restaurants might not be fancy – or even restaurants at all – but our criteria of tasty, honest and (obviously) cheap food means you’re sure to be satisfied. Cheap eats in London are obviously a bit more pricey than elsewhere in the UK, so we’ve set our spending limit at £10, though many dishes come in much lower.
We’ve also made sure our list offers plenty of variety. After all, you don’t want to be eating the same lunch every day just because it’s cheap (we’re looking at you, Sainsbury’s meal deal).
With that in mind, our list of the best cheap eats in London spans continents and ranges from affordable restaurants to street food stalls and everything in between.
Get ready to dig in to the food and not your pockets.
The Best Cheap Eats in London
Brick Lane Beigel Bake
Open 24 hours a day, Brick Lane Beigel Bake is no stranger to Shoreditch and City workers, as well as late night drinkers in East London. As one of the cheapest places to eat in London, it has even gathered somewhat of a cult following in recent years. The place has barely changed over the years and the prices have stayed low too. There are cakes and you can buy freshly baked bagels to go, but those in the know opt for the famous salt beef bagel.
What should I order? Salt beef bagelHow cheap are we talking? £3.50Where? 159 Brick Lane, Shoreditch, London E1 6SB
Around the corner from Leicester Square, Tokyo Diner makes for a tasty but affordable meal. Tokyo Diner does authentic Japanese food (even the menu is mostly Japanese) at low prices. The menu is large, so many of the options are north of £10, but the real value is found in the lunch menu. There are usually about 8 lunch options that come with rice and a miso soup, and are served between 12 – 6pm. All are super cheap, especially for the quality.
What should I order? Special sauce chicken katsu curry setHow cheap are we talking? £8.50Where? 2 Newport Pl, London WC2H 7JP
Herman ze German
German food is definitely not the wurst! Herman ze German brings classic Berliner currywurst to London in its four branches. The premise is simple. You can go with currywurst with fries or choose your favourite type of sausage or schnitzel, with or without a bun, and then add your toppings. A hotdog is the cheapest option, but we usually stick with the currywurst.
What should I order? Classic currywurst with friesHow cheap are we talking? £7.95Where? 33 Old Compton St, Soho, London W1D 5JU43 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1RSUnit 6, Media Works Building, 195 Wood Ln, London W12 7FP19 Villiers St, Charing Cross, London WC2N 6ND
Located near Aldgate station, I Falafel serves probably London’s biggest falafel sandwiches from a stall on New Goulston Street. Seriously, these things are massive! The falafel wraps are 100% vegan and there’s also a chicken escalope wrap available for meat eaters. There are few London cheap eats that give this much food for this low a price. Bonus points for being somewhat healthy too. There’s usually a queue, but the food is prepared at lightning speed, so don’t fret – you’ll be back at the office in time!
What should I order? Large falafel wrapHow cheap are we talking? £4Where? 13-40 New Goulston St, Spitalfields, London E1 7TP
Ngon is the Vietnamese word for tasty and the food at Ngon Ngon is so good they named it twice! The Farringdon restaurant is spacious and does classic Vietnamese food; think pho, rice and vermicelli noodle dishes. Most dishes clock in at around the £8 mark, but there are cheaper deals during lunch time. In our humble opinion, the best value is to be found in the banh mi sandwiches.
What should I order? Pork bahn mi sandwichHow cheap are we talking? £5.50Where? 44 Clerkenwell Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 5DP
Those looking for a central London cheap eat after a long day walking around the British Museum should head straight to Hiba Express – especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan. Just around the corner from Holborn station, Hiba Express serves Lebanese and Palestinian food at low prices. The one person set menu clocks in at just over our £10 limit, but you can get wraps, salads or at least a couple of meze dishes for well under a tenner. If you’re in a rush, you can order to take away too.
What should I order? Large batata harra or falafel wrapHow cheap are we talking? £6.25Where? 113 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 6JQ
Need even more great restaurants in London? Check out some more of our guides.
Dosa n Chutny
Dosa n Chutny serves Sri Lankan and Indian food out of its South London Tooting restaurant. It may even be the cheapest London restaurant on our list. There are separate meat and vegetarian menus, with nothing on either over a tenner. Great food at an affordable price means this place gets busy, but it’s well worth a visit. Dosas are the speciality, but pretty much everything on the menu is a winner, and it’s so cheap that you can order multiple dishes and still have change from a tenner! The vegetable biryani is particularly great value at just under £5.
What should I order? Rava masala dosa (add sides and you’ll have change from £10)How cheap are we talking? £3.50Where? 68 Tooting High Street, London SW17 0RN
Cheap eats in central London are not easy to find. Thankfully Bibimbap Soho is there to answer our prayers. The no-fuss restaurant dishes out authentic Korean food at affordable prices – a real win-win. There are loads of options, but for real value, take your pick from one of the ten Bibimbap variations, almost all of which are under £9. The place is pretty small and its cheap eats status means it gets busy, but there’s another restaurant in Fitzrovia, as well as a takeaway in Leadenhall.
The Cheese Bar
We just had to put The Cheese Bar on our list of London’s cheap eats. While the restaurant has many pricey options, there are a couple of main dishes for under £10, like the five cheese macaroni. But we’re regulars at the Camden post for one reason only; the grilled cheese sandwiches. There are four regular options and one revolving special, all of which come in well under a tenner.
What should I order? West country brie grilled cheeseHow cheap are we talking? £7Where? Unit 93 94 Camden Stables, Chalk Farm Rd, London NW1 8AH
Located in Old Spitalfields Market, Dumpling Shack is popular among City workers. Dumpling might be in the name, but our recommendation is the Dan Dan noodles. You can get creative and take some of the sesame paste noodles with dumplings for just under £10, but the signature Dan Dan noodles are the cheap eats winner. If it’s dumplings you’re after, check out our guide to London’s best dim sum.
What should I order? Spicy Dan Dan beef noodlesHow cheap are we talking? £8.90Where? Old Spitalfields Market, Brushfield St, Spitalfields, London E1 6BG
Jardin du Jasmin
The prettiest restaurant on our list, Jardin du Jasmin might be young, but it has already built up a decent following. It’s also perhaps not the cheapest, but there aren’t many affordable restaurants in this part of London, and you can still eat well for under a tenner. The food is Arabic and Middle Eastern, so think hummus, fatteh and more. Combining the freshly made salads is a good, though not the cheapest, idea, but with most of the food veggie and healthy, guilt levels are kept to a minimum.
What should I order? Grilled halloumi, beetroot and brown lentils saladHow cheap are we talking? £8.85Where? 161 Great Portland St, London W1W 5PB
Flat Iron makes it into our cheap eats London guide because where else can you get steak for under a tenner in London?! The meat is good quality, juicy, tender and comes with a side salad. Sides like fries are extra and will take you over our cheap eats budget, but steak and salad works for lunch or a light dinner. There are now a whopping 9 locations, but the Covent Garden restaurant is large, modern and laid back, so swing by to recharge after some shopping.
What should I order? Flat Iron Steak with saladHow cheap are we talking? £10Where? 17-18 Henrietta St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8QH17 Beak St, Soho, London W1F 9RW9 Denmark St, London WC2H 8LS77 Curtain Rd, Hackney, London EC2A 3BS47-51 Caledonian Rd, Islington, London N1 9BU112-116 Tooley Street, London Bridge, SE1 2TH88-90 Commercial Street, Spitalfields, E1 6LYArcade Food Theatre, 103-105 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1DB19 Bevis Marks, Aldgate, EC3A 7JA
Baz and Fred’s Pizza
Coming out on top for London’s tastiest cheap eat pizza, Baz and Fred now have a permanent spot on Flat Iron Square. Pizzas are made in a chadwick oven which replicates a traditional brick pizza oven, while ingredients are shipped over directly from Italy where possible. A margherita pizza is the cheapest of the bunch at £7.50, but all the pizzas come in at under a tenner. Flat Iron Square has loads of cheap eat options and is a great and usually cheaper alternative to nearby Borough Market.
What should I order? Chorizo & nduja pizzaHow cheap are we talking? £9.60Where? 68 Union St, London SE1 1TD
Arancini Brothers started life as a stall on Brick Lane Market. The first brick and mortar location was in Kentish Town and there are now four locations across London. Arancini Brothers specialise in arancini – Italian risotto balls that are breaded and deep-fried. The Sicilian street food snacks are delicious on their own, but for a great meal, get them alongside a wrap or a salad. There are a few other cheap options like freshly made soup and even breakfast.
What should I order? Lemon chicken wrap with aranciniHow cheap are we talking? £6.90Where? 115A Kentish Town Road, London NW1 8PB592 Kingsland Road, London E8 4AH42 Old Street, London EC1V 9AETruman Brewery Ely’s Yard, London E1 6NJ34 Maltby Street, London SE1 3PA