Best Cheap Eats And Budget-Friendly Restaurants

We love eating out but forking out for dinner can get expensive, so we’ve rounded up our favourite London cheap eats where you can stuff yourself silly without racking up a big bill. Dining out on a budget doesn’t have to mean fast food as you can get quality bargain meals in sit-down restaurants just as easily as you can from quick service joints and street food stalls – just check this lot out.

Street food is a great way to try different dishes from all over the world without putting a serious dent in your wallet, and Old Spitalfields Market and Borough Market are two of the best places in London to get it. Whether you fancy tacos, Middle Eastern stuffed pitas, Japanese yakitori or a big, juicy burger, you can get it all in one spot.

A big steaming bowl of soup is a nourishing as well as budget-friendly way to fill up and there are a myriad of places to warm your cockles, from ramen at Kokura to laksa at Phat Phuc or Roti King (if you can stop yourself from ordering the roti canai that is) to pho at Vietnamese restaurant and Shoreditch institution Cay Tre.

If you want hand rolled pasta that’s big on quality but low on price, head to Padella – its pici cacio e pepe is famous for a reason. If you don’t want to queue for the tiny Borough Market restaurant, then make a beeline for Flour & Grape, which also serves up excellent fresh pasta on Bermondsey Street. And if you prefer noodles to spaghetti, you’re also in luck because there a tons of places you can get your fix – Lanzhou Lamian Noodle Bar if you’re a late night eater, Maragume Udon if you want some tempura on the side, and Xi’an Impression and Silk Road for hand-pulled noodles.

Max’s Sandwich Shop might not serve up the cheapest sandwiches in London, but for the comedy value and the fact you probably won’t be able to move after noshing down it’s so worth the money. The menu changes pretty regularly but you can’t go wrong with the classic ham, egg ‘n’ chips sarnie! And if you do want a sarnie that you can actually eat on the go, head for Sons + Daughters in King’s Cross.


Cafe Mandalay, Murray Grove, London

Burmese food isn’t exactly easy to come by in London, but there are a couple of gems to seek out – one of which is the unassuming Cafe Mandalay. Located on the back streets of Old Street, Cafe Mandalay just looks like your regular cafe, and it does still in fact turn out English breakfasts and sandwiches. Ask for the Burmese food menu, however, and you’re in for a treat. They do an excellent lahpet (tea leaf salad), ginger salad, smoked fish curry, chicken coconut noodles, Shan noodles and much more. It’s fresh, authentic and delicious and there’s only one dish on the entire menu above £10, a chicken biryani at a frankly still bargain price of £12. Note it’s only open for breakfast and lunch until 3pm.


Borough Market Kitchen, Winchester Walk, London

Located in Borough Market, Tacos Padre is the Mexican spot from hot Irish chef Nick Fitzgerald who earned his stripes at Pujol, Mexico City (on the World’s 50 Best don’t ya know). The stall serves some of the best tacos in London, including beef short rib suadero with morita salsa, cauliflower al pastor with salsa macha and lamb barbacoa with gauc, alongside homemade bottled sauces, local beers and mezcal margs. And the annual summer residency, where Nick sets up on the terrace by the stall, has a bangin’ dinner menu with dishes like oysters divorciados, crab tostada with guajillo & tamarind, gilt head bream with shiso ceviche, confit pork chop cochinita with charred x-ni-pec, smoked celeriac with orange habanero glaze & macadamia sikil pak, and bueñuelos with morita cajeta. 


If you’re after an affordable and delicious lunch in Dalston, you won’t go wrong at Banh. They specialise in handmade bánh mì, but they’ve also got a selection of custard or pork-filled Vietnamese buns if you want something to go with your sandwich. There are eight types of bánh mì on offer here, including veggie and vegan options, but they only make a limited number each day, so get down there early if you wanna guarantee getting your hands on one.


Love kushiyaki? Then you’ll want to get down to Old Spitalfields Market and try out the skewers from Kushi. The Japanese-inspired kitchen comes from the same team behind Crunch (and is the unit next door) and centres around skewers, with the likes of chicken wings, chicken skin, smoked quail eggs, miso butter corn, lamb neck and grilled mackerel on the menu. They’re available individually, ranging from £2 – £5 each, or you can get a meal box with skewers and sides like wasabi sweet potato mash, mushroom gohan, and Japanese pickles for £12. Don’t miss the okonomiyaki waffle either.


205 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NE

Getting a decent burger & fries in London has got pretty pricey these days, but you can get a cheeseburger and fries for under £13 at Bleecker. AND take it from us, they serve up some of the best buns in London, oh and if you’re willing to spend a few extra pennies, go for the angry fries – they’re bloody YUM!


47 Camberwell Church St, London SE5 8TR

Located on Camberwell Church Street (now just one door down from its original location) Silk Road is one of the most popular spots in the area. And for good reason as it’s got to be one of the cheapest yet most delicious Chinese restaurants in London. You can spend ages in there with a big group, ordering all the food and drinking all the beers, and it’s somehow impossible to ever spend more than £15 a head. It specialises in food from the Xinjiang region and if you don’t order the smacked cucumber salad, the lamb fat skewers, the big plate chicken and the pork dumplings then you’re doing it all wrong.


A complete lunch in central London for around a tenner is a thing to behold, and although it may not seem like it, they do exist. Nécco (meaning ‘cat’) in Exmouth Market is a Japanese cafe and bar with a super affordable menu of sushi, curries, noodles, donburi, homemade cakes and desserts, beers, sake and cocktails. Head over any time between 12.30pm – 3pm to take advantage of their lunch set deal, which’ll get you two Japanese tapas items, a bowl of rice and a drink for just £10.80.


22 Rivington St, London EC2A 3DY

Butchies serve some of the best fried chicken in town, starting from their Broadway Market stall on Saturday mornings and growing to permanent sites in Shoreditch and Clapham. It’s perfect for a quick bite and a beer (or negroni on tap!) and their incredible fried chicken sandwiches start at £7 for the original and creep to just below a tenner for the epic ‘Jenny From the Block’, which comes with guac and smoked bacon. There’s also cheesy fries, nuggets, halloumi fries and wings for a true feast AKA wipe out central.


Murger Han, Eversholt Street, London

Murger Han is a X’ian Chinese restaurant with branches in Euston, Mayfair and the City that seriously delivers the goods, and is super cheap too. The speciality here is Biang Biang noodles. They are made fresh in house every day and hand pulled by the chef into one giant 12 foot sheet and then cut into wide, thick strands before cooking. The noodles are spot on and come with some epic sauces – we particularly love the braised pork, tomato, egg, and chilli sauce. Sides such as gyoza are excellent too, as well as the murgers themselves – a flat bread stuffed with stewed beef or pork.


10 Kingly Street, London

Rice paper salad roll biz Kaleido Rolls has a brand new flagship spot in Carnaby featuring an on-site rolling station, so you can see your food made fresh in front of you. The menu includes ten different filling combos, like maple salmon & edamame, chicken caesar, feta & pesto, prawn & crispy onion, and sweet potato & tahini, all wrapped up in rice paper, alongside peanut, tahini, sweet chilli and lemon dipping sauces. As well as different box sizes (a box of four comes in under a tenner), the rolls are healthy and nutritious too, making them ideal for lunch – and if you bring in your own lunch box, you can get a 50p discount on your order.


If you find yourself in Epping Forest any time between Thursday and Sunday, you’re in luck because you’ll likely be within walking distance of the Oyster Shack & Seafood Bar, a fishy little spot tucked around the side of the Kings Oak Hotel. Whether the raw bar is your thing, or you’re more into grilled fish, or you’ve worked up the appetite for a platter while walking in the woods, the Shack’s got you covered. The star of the show is their raved-about bacon and scallop butty – likely to be a hit with even the most avid seafood avoiders among us.


Fan of Vietnamese summer rolls? Roll Baby has taken the rice paper-coated classics and made them burrito sized, perfect for an easy and delicious lunch. Choose from options like prawn & avocado, falafel & hummus, mushroom and tofu, with each roll costing between £3.99 – £4.99. The neat parcels are absolutely stuffed with veggies – so this is a good choice if you’re after a healthy lunch – and can be matched with sauces such as satay, sriracha mayo, nuoc cham, sweet chilli and tahini ginger. They’re quite light, so you may wanna get a couple, but you could still come out with a lunch under £9 which, in Kensington, is unheard of.


Open until 1.30am during the week and 4.30am on Fridays and Saturdays, this noodle bar is the place to go when you find yourself in need of sustenance (and sanctuary) in Leicester Square. The noodles come la mian (hand-pulled) or dao xiao mian (knife-cut) and you can get them with a variety of toppings like fried pork chop, cold sliced beef, tomato & egg and dan dan sesame & shredded chicken. And if you really need nourishing, you can get them in warming soups too. Don’t get that in Burger King do ya?


Borough Market Kitchen, Jubilee Pl, Winchester Walk, London SE1 9AG

Shuk; (which means street market in Hebrew) is serving up a taste of Tel Aviv in the recently opened Borough Market Kitchen. It’s all about Israeli street food, which you can get in fresh baked pita or as part of a salad box, made using produce from the Middle East as well as the market itself. The pitas include sabich with roast aubergine & eggs, spiced lamb meatballs with chilli yoghurt (which is our fave) and beef brisket with cheese and pickled onions – think cheeseburger vibes. If you wanna skip the bread, you can go for a salad box by choosing from the  likes of roasted squash with cous cous or broccoli & carrot with labneh and you can add the pita fillings on if you want something a bit bigger. All the pitas are properly filling too, not to mention way more exciting than a bog standard sarnie.


19 Crouch Hill, London N4 4AP

Max’s Sandwich Shop, the late night sarnie shop you can get pissed in, might not serve up the cheapest sandwiches in London, but for the comedy value and the fact you probably won’t be able to move after noshing down it’s so worth the money. Expect quirky names and filthy creations. You can’t go wrong with the classic ham, egg ‘n’ chips but we also love The Original Gangster, a braised beef, sauerkraut and “incredibly slutty gravy mayo” creation and don’t miss the crispy potatoes coated in crack-like rose harissa yoghurt either.

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117 Benwell Road, London N7 7BW

Looking to try the food from the Xi’an region of China? This is the spot. It’s cheap and cheerful and you can’t go wrong with the pork and veg dumplings, the hand pulled noodles with chunky beef and chilli sauce, and the Xi’an pork ‘burger’. Highly recommended if you’re in the area.


40 Doric Way, Kings Cross, London NW1 1LH

Tucked away in a basement near Euston, Roti King serves up authentic Malaysian grub that’s cheaper than chips. You can get two pieces of roti with dhal for a very wallet friendly price and still have cash to the roti filled with caramelised banana. Or if roti ain’t your thing they do noodle and rice dishes like beef rendang, nasi lemak and kari laksa – one to remember next time you’re catching a train!


Marugame Udon, the world’s largest udon noodle restaurant, has landed in London right near Liverpool Street. It’s a canteen-style set-up, so you work your way around the open kitchen where you can see the noodles being rolled, cut and cooked. You choose your dish – the menu includes the likes of kama age, beef nikutama with short rib & onsen egg, two pork tonkotsu with chashu & spicy miso pork, chicken katsu curry udon, kimchi yaki udon and salmon donburi – before hitting the tempura station, and the condiment station where you can pimp your noods with ginger, chillies, tempura batter and other toppings. And once you’ve slurped to your heart’s content, hit the unlimited vanilla and vegan matcha soft serve ice cream.


If you’re after a quick bite that’ll be more exciting than Pret, Yolk is a good shout. Self-proclaimed purveyors of ‘fine fast food’, it does exactly what it says on the tin – serve up reliably well-made food with no hanging around. You can choose from one of their poached egg pots, brekkie baps (like the classic bacon or *fancy* bacon), next-level sandwiches (with options like bang bang chicken and nduja club), hot pots or salad bowls and still have time to spare on your lunch break.


52 Boleyn Rd, London N16 8JP

House of MoMo isn’t just great because they serve up some bloody good momo, oh no you can also get a bowl of dumplings and beer for just over a tenner. Whether you choose them steamed, pan fried, coated in a sesame creamy curry sauce or a spicy chilli sauce, you won’t be disappointed.

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Japanese ramen specialist Kokura is one of our favourite cheap eats in London as it offers some of the best value ramen and katsu curry you can find in the capital. There’s always five hot ramens on offer and the most expensive is £11.50 and they don’t shirk on quality though; the noodles are freshly made and the broth is rich and flavoursome. Kokura also does an amazing chicken or pork katsu curry at only £8.50! Take that Wagamama. For a quick bite in town that’s easy on the wallet, Kokura is a perfect choice.


Unit 119a Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross, London N1C 4DQ

Sons + Daughters, the brainchild of James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy (the duo behind award-winning East London restaurant Pidgin) celebrates the sandwich in all its glory. The Coal Drops Yard spot is an ode to all things between two slices of bread. They may have reduced them in size – and in price, dropping them down to £7 – but the sarnies are still epic. We particularly rate the CHICKEN S+DWICH, with Swaledale chicken, pickled cucumber, miso mayo, green sauce, soy-cured parmesan, gem lettuce and wasabi cress, and the EGG SALAD S+DWICH, with Burford Brown eggs, miso mayo, truffle crisps and salad cress. Remember the crisp sandwiches you’d make as a kid? This is like that except way more mindblowing. If sandwiches are what get you out of bed in the morning, then go venture in this playground, it’s like being given a AAA pass at Glasto. Rock on.


Despite what you might think, that’s not how it’s pronounced. Phat Phuc, meaning ‘Happy Buddha’ and pronounced ‘fet fook’, is a noodle shack off the King’s Road that serves up some of the best pho in town. The Vietnamese national dish is their speciality, with beef, chicken, prawn and vegetable options on the list (all at a tenner a bowl, except for beef which is £12). But there are also other dishes on the menu if you fancy venturing outside the pho world. You can grab some prawn har kau, char siu buns or duck pancakes for starters, or a bowl of laksa with either rice or egg noodles for your main. Then grab a seat in the first-come-first-served courtyard, which is even decked out with shelter, heaters and windbreakers for when the weather (inevitably) turns.


river cafe putney bridge

Not to be confused with the wallet-beating Italian restaurant, this particular River Cafe is an old school caff located right opposite Putney Bridge tube. It’s a stunner inside, with blue and white tiles, creaking plywood wall panels, and formica tables, largely unchanged since the 1960s. There are plenty of nods to the Italian owners too, with walls covered in Italian football flags and posters. The menu is as comforting as the surroundings, with bacon sandwiches and a big Full English for breakfast, and shepherd’s pie, pasta and Italian desserts at lunch. You can eat like a king here and still come with change from a tenner.


34 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 7XJ

It’s no secret that some of the best food you can get in Stokey and Dalston is Turkish, and we LOVE Turkish food. There are so many places to choose from but our fail-safe is Cirrik 19 Numara Bos and in our opinion, it’s the best. The menu mostly focuses on kebabs made from barbecued meats cooked on the charcoal ocakbasi served with an abundance of sides including salad, spicy onions, THOSE balsamic grilled onions, THAT fresh bread (which is unlimited), chilli sauce and garlic mayo. Their speciality is lamb chops, though you can’t really go wrong with their chicken Shish (or anything else for that matter). The place is no frills and concentrates on offering great food and decent service. Go hungry.


199 Lower Clapton Rd, London E5 8EG

Dom’s Place is a LOTI fave (you do not even want to see how many deliveries we’ve had from here…).Serving up Turkish grub you can either go for a wrap or plate with rice/ chips and you definitely won’t go hungry. Our faves include the Chicken Wrap with Sumakli salad (red onion, parsley, sumak and pomegranate vinegar) and the Lamb Kofte plate with rice – we’re drooling just thinking about it!


If you want your pasta fast-a and can’t wait in the queue for Padella, say hello to Flour & Grape, located not too far away on Bermondsey Street. There’s nine pasta dishes on offer and a handful of starters and desserts, with the most expensive dish topping out at £14.50. The tortelloni packed with roast pork shoulder and sage butter kicks ass and there’s also a decent pappardelle with beef shin and a cacio e pepe bucatini.


1a Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LL

It may not be as dirt cheap as your average high street chicken shop but then Chick ‘n’ Sours is on a whole new level…not only do you get free range birds, you get crazy sides and sauces you’d never find in Chicken Cottage. You can still eat here on a budget though; the house fry drumstick and thigh with THAT seaweed crack and pickled watermelon is yours for £12 or you could hand over the same amount for The General a beast of a bun with fried thigh, kewpie mayo, cheese and pickles.


136 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JE

We’ll take a slice of Pizza Pilgrims N’Duja pizza any day, you can’t really go wrong. It’s basically heaven. Once just a pizza van and now a little cult, Pizza Pilgrims has got some loyal followers and their quick expansion has been impressive, damn good reason for that too. Their Neopolitan pizzas are pure satisfaction with simple generous toppings and soft doughy crusts. And anywhere that does a Nutella dough ring for dessert is alright by us.


301 Old St, London EC1V 9LA

Cay Tre is a Shoreditch institution, having been doing its thing since 2001. It’s one of the top authentic and traditional Vietnamese restaurants in east London and it’s a cheap eat that rocks. We love the charm of the place, which is a polite way to say it’s a little rough around the edges, but that doesn’t seem to affect its popularity at all. With ample sized portions at Cay Tre you can’t go wrong. It’s no fuss and no hipster Shoreditch-ness, just a good old Vietnamese restaurant. Get it booked in.


6 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TQ

Padella serves up hand rolled pasta dishes in Borough Market and Shoreditch. The casual spot has a small menu, but it definitely delivers – all the pastas, from pici cacio e pepe to ricotta raviola with butter & sage to THAT pappardelle with 8-hour Dexter beef shin ragu, are absolute dreams and a dinner here won’t break the bank either. All in all Padella is great value grub, made with love.

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Goddards at Greenwich has been around since 1890 and is a proper old school pie and mash shop. The menu is filled with the classics including minced beef, steak and kidney and chicken and ham pie served with liquor, gravy, mash, baked beans or peas, and two of you can eat here for under a tenner. And if you’re not down with the pies, David Beckham is a regular and we can all get down with that…