There’s no gentle way to put it - London is an expensive city. When you put rent, transport and bills together, it can sometimes feel like there’s nothing left for the weekends. But don’t give up too quickly as despite the wealth of Michelin stars and swanky restaurants in the capital, it’s not hard to find some amazing cheap eats in London if you know where to look - and fortunately, we do.
We’ve compiled a list of the best cheap eats in London from hot dogs to Hanoi noodles, so that whatever your budget you can enjoy the city’s best culinary delights at pocket-friendly prices.
This casual Chinese joint is absolutely beloved by Camberwell locals, who come here for lamb skewers and steamed soy cabbage, and over the last few years their reputation has spread across London with diners from as far as Highgate crossing the capital for Big Plate Chicken.
Address: 49 Camberwell Church Street, London SE5 8TR
Phone: 020 7703 4832
The hallowed institution that is Beigel Bake on Brick Lane is not only the oldest bagel shop in London (they opened in 1977), but arguably the best. Serving a ridiculous 7,000 bagels a day on average and open 24/7, prices start at a measly £1 for a cream cheese bagel, rising to £3.70 for their infamous salt beef.
Address: 159 Brick Lane, London E1 6SB
Phone: 020 7729 0616
The Rib Man (real name Mark Gevaux) is renowned for making the best pork ribs in the capital. Don’t believe us? Head down to his stall at Brick Lane Market on Sundays for huge portions of rib rolls and racks covered in signature hot sauces including ‘Christ on a Bike’ and ‘Holy F***” for just £7.
Address: 91-96, Brick Lane, London, E1 6HR
Hot foot it to one of the central branches of Herman Ze German for a selection of good value happy hot dogs starting at £4.45. With changing specials and regular toppings including curry sauces, jalapeños, cheese and saurkraut, you’re bound to find the perfect porky roll.
Address: 33 Old Compton Street, London W1D 5JP
Phone: 020 7734 0431
The big bold burritos at Daddy Donkey have locals regularly queuing around the corner, but we can confirm they’re definitely worth the wait. DD serves flour tortillas stuffed with your choice of meat, black beans, coriander-lime rice, guacamole, salsa, sour cream and cheese which are guaranteed to put you in a post-lunch food coma.
Address: 50 Leather Lane, London EC1N 7TP
Phone: 020 7404 4173
Since 2012 you can barely move in central London without tripping over a noodle joint, but some are really a cut above the rest. One of our favourite of these cheap eats in London’s Soho is ramen restaurant Tonkotsu, which serves up huge warming bowls of Japanese ramen, gyoza and more. They’ve recently opened another branch in Haggerston so you can add them to your cheap eats East London hitlist too!
Address: 63 Dean Street, London W1D 4QG
Phone: 020 7437 0071
Scandi food is all the rage right now, and we reckon the best spot in London to try a few authentic dishes (apart from Ikea, of course!) is Scandinavian Kitchen on Great Titchfield Street. Visit the cafe for Nordic porridge, pastries and a smorgasbord of open sandwiches and salads, then stock up on reindeer meat and lingonberry jam at the shop. Skål!
Address: 61 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 7PP
Phone: 020 7580 7161
A popular street food dish in Egypt, Koshari is a delicious and healthy veggie dish full of lentils, rice, vermicelli and chickpeas topped with spicy tomato sauce. This unassuming little spot also sells fresh soups and salads, making it a perfect alternative to all the hot dogs and burgers taking over London right now!
Address: 56 Saint Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4EA
Phone: 020 7836 1056
Once a mere stall at Brixton Market, the pizza kings of Franco Manca now have eleven restaurants and counting in London, and are one of the best places in London for great food at cheap prices. The brick-oven baked sourdough disks are covered in artisan toppings from all over Europe, and start at a bargain £4.50.
Address: 98 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 4TR
Phone: 020 7580 1913
Who needs a plate when you can eat out of a bread bowl? Thats the basic premise at Bunny Chow, where you'll find variations of this South African street food favourite involving piri piri pork, spicy Durban sauce and even a full English breakfast!
Address: 74 Wardour Street, Soho, London W1F 0TE
Phone: 020 7439 9557
It's easy peasy Lebanesey to find a cheap eat London at one of the many branches of Comptoir Libonais, with restaurants from Chelsea to Covent Garden. This Lebanese canteen specialises in amazing mezze, wraps and creamy homemade hummus, so come with an appetite.
Address: 65 Wigmore Street, Marylebone, London, UK W1U 1JT
Phone: 020 7935 1110
This beloved Brixton-meets-Beijing spot is the ultimate place to come for cheap eats Brixton, with a yummy range of noodle soups, dumplings and salads. Get down early on the weekends or expect to queue though - the locals love Mama Lan!
Address: Unit 18, Brixton Village Market, Cold Harbour Lane, London, SW9 8PR
This Australian duo learnt their tricks in Sicily, so you can expect only the finest, most authentic arancini risotto balls at both this cheap Kentish Town cafe. Enjoy them in a stew, a wrap or just solo with dipping sauce, and you'll be hooked after one bite. Great coffee too!
Address: 115A Kentish Town Road, London NW1 8PB
Phone: 020 3583 2242
Don't let Attendant's former life as a Victorian public toilet put you off - this quirky venue is a brilliant place for artisan coffees, healthy foods and a drool-worthy brunch menu in central London. It's pretty tiny though, so can get very busy with local office workers during weekday lunchtimes.
Address: 27A Foley St, London W1W 6DY
Phone: 020 7637 3794
Take a break from the frantic pace of the city and tuck into a comforting bowl of hot udon noodles, rice dishes and tempura at this contemporary Japanese cafe on Frith Street, one of our all-time favourite cheap eats Soho.
Address: 49 Frith Street, London W1D 4SG
Phone: 020 7434 4463
It may not look like much from the outside, but trust us - the pizzas, pastas and salads at Rossella on Highgate Road are tasty, authentic and an absolute bargain. Throw in plenty of wine, friendly staff and a moreish gelato selection, and you've got a recipe for a fab cheap eatery.
Address: 103 Highgate Road, London NW5 1TR
Phone: 020 7267 9797
Tayabbs is legendary in East London as the byword for cheap curries, Punjabi cuisine and contented crowds. Come here with a big group for good value spicy dishes and a kindly no-corkage BYOB policy.
Address: V83-89 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1JU
Phone: 020 7247 6400
The Vincent Rooms is a proper London secret that even some seasoned city dwellers don't know about - tucked away in the heart of SW1, you can have a haute cuisine meal cooked for you by student chefs about to embark on careers at some of the world's top restaurants. At £27.50 for seven courses and Jamie Oliver as a notable alumni, this is by far the cheapest fine dining you'll find in London.
Address: Vincent Rooms, Westminster Kingsway College, 76 Vincent Square, London SW1P
Phone: 020 7802 8391
This colourful Iranian cafe in Kensal Rise serves some of the tasiest Persian food in London but has somehow managed to remain a little under the radar. Sit amongst the lavish furnishings and tuck into filling kebabs, curries and rice dishes for bargain prices - for a group of four you could eat like a king for around just £12 each including starters, a traditionally baken naan, a main and sharing a dessert (the starters and main are huge - be warned!). Very popular with the local Persian community, you'll find it a great mix of families, couples on dates and big groups celebrating.
Address: 1082 -1086, Harrow Road, Kensal Green, NW10 5NL
Phone: 020 8964 4477
South Kensington is hardly the place you'd expect to find budget eateries, but this cute Chinese restaurant is exactly that. Serving a concise menu of main courses such as pork chops, stewed beef and roast duck, it makes for an ideal lunch between museum visits and it's always full of the local Chinese residents - so you know it's got to be good!
Address: 2A Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2HF
Phone: 020 75818831
Know somewhere great that we haven't recommended? Let us know in the comments!