Even with this city being so expensive, there are plenty of cheap eats in London that are also really good. But the key is, you HAVE to know where to go to find these affordable dishes. So I’m here to help you find some of the best cheap eats around London, so you can eat well without busting your bank account too hard.
Every spot mentioned in this article is super vegetarian-friendly (I’m a veggie myself), and I’ve indicated if it’s vegan-friendly and/or GF-friendly.
For the purpose of this article, I’m defining a “cheap eat” as either street food, or restaurants where you can get a sizable main course for under £15.
Prefer to see cheap eats in London in video form? Watch the video below.
Image Courtesy of Chinatown
1. Jian bing at Chinese Tapas House
My YouTube friend Shu introduced me to Jian Bing a few months ago and it’s one of the cheapest and most filling street eats in central London. Think of it like a Chinese crepe, which is made with egg and can be filled with any ingredients on offer, like meats, veggies, and more.
Get a big ole Jian Bing from Chinese Tapas House for just £5.50, which is super filling for one but still pretty sizable when split for two.
£ | Chinatown | Chinese Tapas House via Chinatown’s Website
There’s plenty to do in Chinatown once you’re there btw, check out my video on how to spend a day in Chinatown.
Image Courtesy of Arepa & Co
2. Arepa & Co
Arepa and Co is one of my favourite spots to go in London when I want a casual meal with some friends that doesn’t break the bank. Arepa and Co does Venezuelan brunch, lunch and dinner, with a selection of arepas (obviously) and cachapas, which I personally always go for.
They do a great lunch deal during the week which gets you a main course plus a glass of fresh lemonade for just £8.50, making this one of the best lunchtime cheap eats in London.
£ | WA |Bethnal Green and Haggerston | Arepa & Co’s Website
Image Courtesy of Club Mexicana
3. Club Mexicana
London is known for not having great Mexican food, but Club Mexicana takes the cake (in my opinion) when you’re after a greasy, cheesy Mexi dish to curb your craving. They in no way serve authentic Mexican, with options like the Cheezburger tacos and the ‘Chorizo’ & Sweet Potato burrito but well, it all just tastes great.
Plus here’s the kicker… it’s all vegan.
£ |Seven Dials and Carnaby | Club Mexicana’s Website
Image Courtesy of Mamasons
4. Bilog at Mamason Dirty Ice Cream
Mamason is London’s only Filipino dessert shop and they absolutely KILL IT in the sweets scene. They serve up some popular Filipino treats but my absolute favourite is the Bilog, which is like a hot ice cream sandwich. Get it with Ube ice cream (Ube is a Filipino purple yam) and get ready to have a good time.
£ |Chinatown and Camden | Mamasons’ Website
Image Courtesy of Itadaki Zen
5. Itadaki Zen
This casual Japanese tapas restaurant in Kings Cross serves organic dishes that are fully vegan, yummy and super affordable. Try the tofu and mushroom croquette, vegan calamari with tartar sauce, or the classic gyoza. They also do bento boxes which are great lunchtime options for cheap eats in London.
£ |Kings Cross | Itadaki Zen’s Website
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Taiyaki is a traditional Japanese fish cake (like a pancake, not an actual fish cake) that is a great street food option. Pop into this cute little shop and the lovely staff will help you choose a savoury Taiyakiya or a sweet one. They also do seasonal options as well as their own bubble tea.
£ | Chinatown | Taiyakiya’s Website
Image Courtesy of Le Bab
7. Le Bab
Need a late night meal after a big night out in Shoreditch? Head to Le Bab, right next to Old Street tube station, for what I consider to be an upscale kebab shop. Grab a seat if you can find an empty one, or get yours as a takeaway. There are veggie and vegan options, plus the hummus and double-cooked fries are *chefs kiss*
£ | WA | Old Street | Le Bab’s Website
Image Courtesy of Purezza
If you’re in Camden, pop into Purezza for some of the best pizza in London. In fact, it’s award-winning. Go for the classic Margarita or one of their other inventive options, and the friendly staff will serve it to you with a smile on their faces. Oh also… everything is completely plant-based, even the “pork” and other meaty toppings. And they have plenty of gluten-free options.
£ | Camden | Purezza’s Website
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9. Mac Factory
Mac and cheese is hit or miss here in London, but Mac Factory have nailed it. Inspired by NY-style mac and cheese (which basically means, the more cheese, the better) you can get a souped-up m&c for just a few pounds. My go-to’s are Super Mario (hello truffle) and La Med Babe.
£ | WA | Camden | Mac Factory’s Website
Image Courtesy of Bao
Bao has a small menu of Taiwanese dishes that you might not have ever heard of but I promise that literally everything on the menu is damn good. As a veggie my go-to is the Daikkon Bao (bao are little fluffy buns) and the *ice cream wrap sounds weird but is banging.
£ |Borough, Soho and Fitzrovia | Bao’s Website
Image Courtesy of Pastaio
Pastaio, next to Borough Market is one of the most popular restaurants in London but it absolutely deserves the accolades. They serve up delish yet simple pasta dishes at affordable prices. Trust me, I’m picky about my Italian food after having lived in Florence, and as far as Pastaio goes, it’s one of the best cheap eats in London.
It gets SUPER busy here so be warned, if you visit during a peak time, you could be waiting for up to ninety minutes. However, they do have a good system where they’ll text you when your table is ready so you can pop to one of the many nearby pubs for a drink or two before it’s time to eat. (They do gluten-free pasta for most dishes, just ask them.)
£ | WA | Carnaby and White City | Pastaio’s Website
Image Courtesy of Padella
A close second for best affordable pasta spot in London is Padella, located in Carnaby. Very similar to Pastaio, they do simple pasta dishes at reasonable prices, and they even have a vegan pasta menu. This is the spot I always try when I’m near Carnaby and need someplace to eat and don’t have a reservation, I have never waited too long to get a spot at one of their long banquet tables. (Although, they don’t have any gluten-free pasta dishes!)
£ | WA |Borough Market and Shoreditch | Padella’s Website
Image Courtesy of Kaorsan
Londoners looking for a cheap-and-cheerful spot to meet friends for dinner love to book in at one of Kaosarn’s locations. Here you’ll enjoy traditional, simple Thai dishes, and the restaurants are BYOB, saving you even more money. Definitely book ahead as all locations are super popular.
£ |Brixton (WA), Clapham and Tooting (WA) | Kaorsan’s Website
Image Courtesy of Eat of Eden
14. Eat of Eden
This takeaway spot in Brixton Village (with picnic tables nearby) has a menu “inspired by Caribbean Ital and European recipes, ‘made with love’ to produce that home-cooked feeling”. Expect unique ingredients, big portions and punchy flavours, all for a reasonable price, and all vegan!
£ | WA |Brixton | Eat of Eden’s Website
Now go forth and enjoy some of these cheap eats in London. Make sure you tag @loveandlondon in any of your pics featuring my recommendations.
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