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You might think a fiver won’t get you far in London – a drink, maybe a packet of crisps. Think again. London is full of places where you can eat for less than £5, if you know where to look.
Here we’ve focused on cheap restaurants in Central London and popular tourist spots like Greenwich and Stratford. From traditional English favourites to no-frills pizzas, there’s plenty to choose from. Just remember to check the opening times before you go.
ICCo, Goodge Street
Pizzeria ICCo is a favourite among couriers and local workers – and little wonder. A freshly cooked, thin-crust, 11-inch pizza will set you back just £3.95 for a Margherita. Open daily until 11pm. Former sister company ECCO has branches on Lower Marsh in Waterloo, Strutton Ground in Westminster and on Drury Lane near Covent Garden with similar prices.
Attached to the ISKON Radha Krishna Temple, Govinda’s serves up a tasty and unusual combination of Indian and Italian food – all veggie or vegan. Try a Paneer (cheese) Burger for £3.50, Spinach Pie for £4.25 or Lasagne of the Day for £4.95. Alternatively head to Brick Lane and bargain your way to cheap Indian feast.
Goddards at Greenwich
Piping hot and delicious, pie and mash is a traditional working-class favourite in London. At Goddards at Greenwich you can tuck into a handmade mince beef pie, mash and liquor – a kind of parsley gravy – for as little as £3.70. Other varieties include cheese and onion, veggie soya, chicken and mushroom and chilli minced beef.
A West End institution, Gaby’s Deli is a favourite with theatregoers (and performers) due to its location; sandwiched between the Garrick Theatre and Wyndhams Theatre on Charing Cross Road. Cheapest eat-in options include Falafel, hummus and salad for £4.90.
The best way to dine on a student budget is to go where students eat. The Curve is part of Queen Mary’s University and serves students (and the public) affordable meals from its Deli Counter, hot-food Eatery and Café Bar. Last week, the £4.50 dinner menu offered Hot chilli beef & peanut salad with lemongrass dressing, Roasted cherry tomato & mushroom crepes with a cheddar glaze or Fish of the day (all served with seasonal veg and potatoes). Top marks!
Theatre Royal Stratford East Restaurant & Bar
The restaurant at Theatre Royal Stratford East is a lively spot, with regular open-mic nights and comedy and music showcases. The delicious Caribbean specials are sadly above the £5 mark, but you can still enjoy a burger with salad for £4 or a burger with salad and chips for £4.95. Or head down mid-week for Tenner Tuesday: two meals from the specials menu (plus soft drinks) for two for just £10.
Roaming foodie project StreetFeast has temporarily set up shop (indoors, thankfully) at Hawker House near Cambridge Heath Station in East London. Open every Friday and Saturday until 21-22 March, the market is free to enter before 7pm (£3 after). Under-£5 treats at last weekend’s feast, to give you an idea, included Yum Bun’s Pork Buns for £4 and Mike & Ollie flatbreads for £3.50/4 (taster size).
The Real China Express Hammersmith
The reviews on TripAdvisor may vary wildly, but you can’t really fault an all-you-can-eat buffet costing just £4.95. Pile your plate high at The Real China Express Hammersmith with a selection of the 30+ dishes available, such as Sweet & Sour Chicken, Shredded Crispy Beef and Stir-fried mixed vegetables.
Check out our Cheap London Restaurants listings for more ideas.