Editor’s note: This post was edited in February 2022 to update information and prices.
London’s food scene is pretty incredible. You can find basically every cuisine you could possibly think of. However, like New York, London is not known for being cheap. In fact, it’s known for being quite the opposite!
Despite the fact that you can easily spend hundreds on one meal in London, there are also plenty of places to eat in London. Yes, you can dine for under £20 per person. I’ve compiled a list of the 21 best cheap places to eat in London for anyone visiting the British capital on a budget.
There’s nothing quite like a food tour to provide a crash course in a new destination’s cuisine. Check out our tops picks to help you eat your way blissfully through London, no matter your taste or budget.
Where to Eat in London on a Budget
Brasserie Zédel, Piccadilly
A gorgeous French Café tucked away in the heart of Piccadilly, Brasserie Zédel is a wonderful choice for cheap places to eat in London.
Serving delightful traditional French dishes in an elegant, marble-clad restaurant, it also plays host to an American bar and live music and cabaret from early until late.
Their a la carte menu is super affordable with main meals ranging from £11.00 for the Chopped Steak and Peppercorn Sauce with French Fries to £29.75 for the Rib Eye with French Fries if you do feel like going all out! However, there’s plenty of dishes in between and they also offer an excellent set menu where you can get 2 courses for just £12.25 or 3 for £16.00.
Drake & Morgan, King’s Cross
Just about everyone who goes to London will at some point find themselves at Kings Cross during their visit. As one of the main hubs for commuters and tourists alike, it certainly has a lot to offer (including their wonderful Harry Potter themed shop!).
As you might expect, there are plenty of pricey restaurants at Kings Cross, but Drake & Morgan is a rather pleasant exception. The quirky setting features two floors, a gorgeous open bar, and extensive outdoor space, excellent for alfresco dining and cocktails in the sun.
Their menu will also blow you away.
From intriguing pheasant sausage rolls to coconut-crusted tofu and soy-glazed pork belly bites – and that’s just to start! Mains start at just £11.50 and include some more tantalizing dishes such as Swordfish with Borlotti beans & N’duja, a Halloumi Burger, and Jacob’s Ladder of Beef with Carrot purée & Chablis jus.
Plus, if you’re after something traditionally British, they also serve Beer Battered Cod and Chips for just £14.95 and a traditional English Infused Tea starting at £2.75!
One of London’s only Burmese restaurants, Lahpet has gained a lot of popularity since it first opened its doors in 2018.
Featured in TimeOut, Conde Nast and BBC Good Food, the restaurant focuses on the traditional cuisine of Myanmar and then jazzes up its dishes with a contemporary twist.
Located on Bethnal Green, you might think this type of restaurant would come with a rather hefty price tag. But this is one of the other great things about Lahpet is they make it affordable for everyone to dine there.
Their Lentil Chow Chow starts off at £13, their Pork and Mustard Green Curry is only £13.50 and their Coconut Noodles with Chicken is the same price! With appetizers and desserts starting at just £3, you can easily have a delicious and affordable meal at Lahpet for under £20.
If what you’re after is a great British classic, then you really can’t go wrong with Kerbisher & Malt. Offering traditional fish and chips in a modern, contemporary setting, you’ll instantly see that they’re one of the best cheap places to eat in London. You’ll also be able to see why they were rated one of London’s Best Cheap-Eats by TimeOut.
They believe highly in fresh ingredients, preferring to cut their own chips instead of buying readymade ones, they make all their own sauces (except ketchup), and even brew their own beer! They also support the local community by buying all their fish fresh from sustainable sources and buy their potatoes from local farmers.
They serve everything you’d expect from a British Fish and Chip shop including a few additional extras such as calamari, fish cakes, and grilled halloumi. The chefs will also grill your fish if you don’t fancy it deep-fat fried!
Whether you’re looking for takeaway or eat-in, Kerbisher & Malt will guarantee you a great, affordable and delicious meal. Their traditional haddock and chips will come in at just under £8 – as will most of the menu!
Boqueria Tapas, Battersea Park
I absolutely love tapas restaurants and this delightful restaurant at Battersea Park certainly doesn’t disappoint. The restaurant itself has gone for a traditional wooden-look decor with comfy bar stools and plenty of bottles of wine on display.
Plus, with a delicious selection of light bites and sharing plates, Boqueria Tapas is one of the most perfect cheap places to eat in London as a group. Choose from mouth-watering appetizers such as Octopus with Paprika on a Bed of Potatoes, King Prawns with Truffle & Goat’s Cheese Dressing, or Lamb Confit with Caramelised Figs, Cucumber & Mint Raita!
Plates range from £2.90 to £14.90, so once again very reasonable prices for London. I can hear my stomach rumbling just thinking about it!
Pizza Pilgrims, Various Locations
There are so many great pizza places in London, but Pizza Pilgrims is my personal favorite. At Pilgrims, they are ‘all about the crust’ and serve a tasty selection of both sweet and savory pizzas in their traditional Italian Pizzeria.
With plenty of stripes, checked tablecloths and funky décor, they have a range of venues in popular spots across London like London Bridge, Soho, Carnaby, and Covent Garden.
Be sure to look out for their signature bright green and go and order yourself a Margherita! Or if you’re after something more interesting, why not try their Nduja, Oven-roasted Mushroom and Truffle, or the Salsiccia e Friarielli which is covered in sweet fennel pork sausage.
After eating here, you will definitely be recommending Pizza Pilgrims to your friends!
Gökyüzü, Green Lane
I’m a huge fan of Turkish cuisine and after a meal at Gökyüzü, I’m sure you will be too!
With over 20 years’ experience in serving up Turkish delicacies, this family-owned restaurant has passed down recipes from father to son. They have 4 restaurants across London full of plump benches and the authentic brick-wall design of a traditional Turkish tavern.
Rated the ‘Go-to place for Turkish cuisine’, by TimeOut, Gökyüzü is also friendly for those traveling London on a budget. Choose from breakfast, hot and cold meze, mains and sharing platters – plus they also offer a takeaway service if you’d prefer to eat your dinner in your room.
The mains start at just £13.50 for a Turkish Pizza, Döner or Shish Kebab and go up to £22.50 for their Lamb Chops. So, no matter what you chose, you can find a meal here for around £20! And an utterly delicious one too!
Tokyo Diner, Leicester Square
This is a completely authentic Japanese restaurant in the heart of London’s Leicester Square. Tokyo Diner is one of those places that may not look all that, but take one mouthful of their delicious food and you will instantly change your mind.
As well as this they are actively working to protect the environment by using purely sustainable energy sources and refusing to serve tuna as to not support the overfishing that happens all over the world.
Another amazing thing about this restaurant is that they don’t accept tips.
They will physically turn them down and any money that is left they donate to St. Martin-in-the-Fields’ unit for the Homeless.
On their mouth-watering menu, you can easily find a good meal for £11-£20 including Katsu Chicken, Teriyaki, Soba Noodles, Japanese Curry, Sushi and Sashimi and a selection of sides.
Japanese Tea is free and so is extra rice when you order certain dishes! Tokyo Diner is a classic example of outstanding Asian hospitality and one of my absolute favorite cheap places to eat in London. Other London restaurants could certainly do with taking a leaf out of their book!
Rossella, Kentish Town
I’ll say this once and I’ll say it again; you just can’t beat a proper Italian restaurant! And the buzzy family feel of Rossella will have you coming back again and again.
The winner of several Open Table Awards and one Diner’s Choice, Rossella is a traditional Trattoria deeply rooted in Southern Italian heritage.
They’ve brought a slice of their family farm in Naples right to the heart of London, with their delicious selection of dishes from the classic Carbonara to their more elaborate Veal Escalope wrapped in prosciutto.
The best part? The mains start at just £13 and the most expensive meal on the menu is just £15.50, meaning you could very easily eat here for well under £23.
For a delicious British tradition, why not try out Pieminister for some scrumptious savory pies?
Pieminister can be found in a couple of locations across London and they will also deliver to your home, office or anywhere else you’d like to send them!
Their eat-in menu is super cheap with a pie and two sides coming in at just £8.50! You can get a pie, mash, minty mushy peas, Cheddar & crispy shallots for an extra 50p, and they also sell patties too for just £2 or 3 for £5!
It’s super affordable London dining.
They have some wonderful flavors too, from traditional Beef Steak & Craft Ale to Chicken, Portobello & Chestnut Mushroom and some more intriguing flavors like Chicken, Chorizo, Olive & Butter Bean and Vegan ‘chicken’, Celeriac, Smoked Garlic & Sherry!
Another Japanese restaurant in Soho, Shack-Fuyu serves up delicious comfort food in a relaxed setting.
The Western-Inspired Japanese cuisine is delightfully different as it’s clear that so much thought has gone into the dishes. Owned by Bone Daddies who also have a collection of other restaurants across London, the classic decoration is inviting, with big lights, brick effect walls and comfortable sofas.
They offer a pleasant selection of small plates, sharing dishes, main meals and desserts and is perfect whether you want to grab a bite to eat or are after a sit-down family meal.
You can get 2-courses for £19 and pay just an extra £3 to add a dessert! Plus, the selection is great – from Korean-style wings to softshell crab, lamb bao buns, crispy pork belly, and miso aubergine, you’ll want to order it all!!
Mamuśka! South Bank
This super-affordable Polish kitchen and bar have brought the classic tastes of Eastern Europe to the UK. Authentic and value-packed, with seating for up to 200, Mamuśka! is all about Polish flair, traditional cooking, and delicious food.
With luWith lunches for just £13.50, starters between £4.50-5.80 and mains between £10-16, it’s more than affordable food and by far one of the great cheap places to eat in London!
Tuck into their generous portions of Pork Gulash, Beef Roll-Up, Beef Cheeks, Pierogi and also some classic English dishes (like fish and chips or sausage and mash) with a cheeky Polish twist. Perfect for if you don’t want to step too far out of your comfort zone!
If unlimited oriental cuisine sounds like a good idea, then you’ll absolutely love Aroma in London. One of my favorite cheap places to eat in London, however, the value of your meal will slightly depend on the time you go.
Weekends and Bank Holidays are the most expensive with a set price all day of £21. However, with the prices of food in London, and the fact that this is all you can eat, that’s still a pretty good deal!
Aroma serves just about every type of Asian cuisine you could think of. There’s prawn toasts, crab claws, samosas, calamari and more for starters. Then for mains tuck into lamb curry, chicken satay, mussels, squid, prawns, duck pancakes, beef with black bean sauce, stir-fried mixed vegetables, sushi, teppanyaki, rice and noodles, and much more!
There’s also a selection of desserts included in the price which makes this even better!
Prospect of Whitby, Wapping
Sometimes, great British pub food is exactly what you need and where else better to find it than the great British capital?
I absolutely love pub food and Greene King is probably one of the best chains in England if you’re looking for an affordable but quality meal.
Prospect of Whitby is slightly more expensive than other Greene King locations across the UK (it is London after all!), but you can still get an 8oz Sirloin with all the trimmings for just £15.99! Gammon, egg, and chips is just £10.49, the classic trio of sausages with mash is £10.79, and steak and ale pie just £12.99!
Well worth a visit if what you’re craving is a great selection of English comfort food in a wonderful location along the River Thames.
Lahore Kebab House, Whitechapel
Lahore Kebab House is a wonderful Pakistani restaurant in Whitechapel. Having won several awards for the best kebab house in the UK, this family-owned eatery has grown from a small diner into a friendly, atmospheric restaurant since they opened in 1972.
All fresh ingredients, all authentic recipes, the chefs at Lahore truly are masters of their craft, serving up delicious curries, kebabs, appetizers, and house specialties.
You can choose from the Lamb Chop Curry, Chicken Kebab Curry, Sag Aloo, Mutton Tikka Roll or Tandoori Prawns; pick a naan bread and maybe even some samosas, and wash it all down with a jug of passionfruit juice for the table.
The most expensive main on the menu is just £14.50 so you can enjoy these award-winning kebabs, without worrying about the cost.
Not so much a restaurant but perfect for a snack or lunch, the Brick Lane Beigel Bake is utterly delicious! Thick bagels, melt-in-your-mouth meat, and cheap-as-chips prices make this infamous Brick Lane haunt a must for all Londoners.
The food is perfect – simple, scrumptious and cheap! The thick slices of salted beef paired with a squeeze of hot mustard and pickles are the perfect combination of flavors!
Admittedly one small downside is that the bakery isn’t going to win any customer service awards any time soon with the blunt, slightly grumpy women behind the counter. But this somehow adds a sort of charm to the whole experience.
Brick Lane Beigel Bake is open 24 hours. So, whether you are looking for a drunken early-hours feast or a bit of pre-exploring fuel, you cannot deny that cakes for £1 or less and bagels for between £1.50 & £7.10 are an unbeatable value and most certainly one of the best cheap places to eat in London.
Ariana 2, Kilburn
A scrumptious Afghan restaurant in Kilburn, Ariana 2 is a great choice if you’re looking for one of the best cheap places to eat in London that’s just a little bit different.
They operate a ‘bring your own alcohol’ policy which can easily shave the price off your meal before you’ve even walked in the door. You can nip into the local Tesco on your way and buy a few bottles of beer for the price of one in a restaurant!
Ariana 2 serves a range of Afghanistan’s exquisite cuisine from kebabs and grills to incredible rice dishes, tandoori chicken, seabass and more, and starting at just over £13 per meal. You can also order a set meal for 4 for just £59 which includes starters, drinks and dessert.
Plus, with the portion sizes at Ariana 2, you’ll be well and truly satisfied by the end of your main, but also well and truly tempted to try more of their delicious food.
One of my favorite things about big cities, especially London, is that even though a lot of sit-down meals are quite pricey, it’s usually super easy to find affordable street food. And the best place to go for this is London’s food markets.
Borough Market near London Bridge is probably the most famous of them all – and for good reason having celebrated its 1000th birthday in 2014! With stalls selling cheese, meat, fruit and vegetables, chocolates and much more, be sure to come with an empty stomach! Especially since most of these stalls offer samples.
Greenwich Market is also well worth a mention and, although more tightly packed than Borough Market, it is no less delicious in terms of food quality.
My favorite market, however, is Camden Market which is undeniably the heart and soul of Camden Town. They offer such a diverse variety of food that you could easily spend hours wandering around the stalls.
But, the best place by far is KERB Camden!
KERB is arguably the best place to eat in Camden market – if you can choose just one place that is!
A selection of 34 street food vendors, lined along the riverside, it offers the perfect setting for outdoor dining and completely affordably.
With every type of delicious food imaginable from Spice Box’s plant-powered curry boxes to Only Jerkin’s Caribbean ginger chicken nuggets. You’ll also find fresh pizza, burgers, falafel wraps with homemade hummus, chicken wings, steaks, tacos and more!
Trust me, your mouth will be watering just walking around! And it’s all so affordable as well with food for just £2 or up – although no doubt you’ll be tempted to buy a lot of different things!
A few final tips on cheap places to eat in London
- Restaurants have to display their menu with prices at the entrance by law, so make sure you view the prices before you decide to sit down. This avoids any unpleasant surprises when you get to the prices!
- Be sure to check for minimum charges and whether they add any charges to your bill. This could include a ‘discretionary’ service charge, or tip and should be around 10%. If they do add this, there’s no need to pay any extra tips.
- In England, we don’t have a tipping culture so you’re not required to tip. Of course, it’s always nice and the staff definitely appreciate it, but it’s entirely at your own discretion.
So there you have it – a comprehensive list of cheap but delicious places to eat in London on any budget. Enjoy!
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About the Author
Alice Smith is the creator of Adventures of Alice, an ex-chef and serious travel addict. Since catching a serious case of wanderlust in 2016, Alice has visited over 20 countries whilst working a full-time job and saving to buy her first home. She has helped others to travel and is dedicated to educating and inspiring people to go out of their comfort zone and see more of the world. Adventures of Alice is a travel blog for anyone wishing to see the world for less, regardless of what life throws at you.