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The best cheap eats in London. London town is synonymous with black cabs, beefeaters, Buckingham Palace and being bloody expensive. Like feeding the 5,000 with two loaves and five fish, the British pound seems to stretch a bit further out of London. In London you'd be lucky to get a loaf of bread for under a quid. In recent years, though, London has got back the 'It' factor. It's now the city for fine dining and Michelin star restaurants; but it’s also a city of cheap restaurants serving inexpensive Thai cuisine, Vietnamese cuisine, Chinese food, burgers and chicken. Central London is obviously a hub for cheaper restaurant deals and special offers, but you must always remember that you don’t always need to download a voucher or coupon or sign up to a newsletter in order to get a cheap meal in London. You just have to know where to look.
Soho / Restaurant / Cuisine: Korean
Quirky is the only word to describe this little Korean diner. Soho is for the young and we like that its youth hangs from its mural-esque heart on the wall. With the Korean flag hanging proudly at the window, it's not hard to find; but a wait is inevitable as its popularity precedes its available tables. The best Korean fare in central London, possibly: Bimbimbap with noodle, salad & rice. Worth a look for the atmosphere and a light or sturdy lunch. All mains cost less than £10, even the raw seasoned beef fillet cooked once it is mixed in a stone bowl. There's also a loyalty card system in place which will ensure repeat visits to one of the cheapest restaurants in Soho.
Soho / Restaurant / Cuisine: Vietnamese
You've done the standard night out in Shoreditch, so you know the run down. A few cheeky cocktails, followed by a huge slap-up meal at Cay Tre on Old Street, before hitting the bars and clubs. Well, now you can copy-paste your east London evening to Soho because the French-influenced Vietnamese restaurant has a cheap restaurant in central London now too; only with a slightly sleeker appearance (we're not in east London any more). We recommend the seafood. It goes really well with the exotic spices. Plus, the small eat section of the menu has some great sharing ideas (all under £15) for those of you buddying up on the cost of this cheap night out in London. Single portions are even cheaper.
Whitechapel & Wapping / Restaurant / Cuisine: Pakistani
Meeting an old friend or colleague for a cheap drink and an even cheaper meal for a catch up during the working week? If you work in east London, we'd recommend skipping the touts crowding outside Brick Lane's neon tikka temples and head to the back of Tayyabs Pakistani restaurant lengthy queue; a legend well beyond its east London postcode. The cooking here is authentic, full of depth, and uniformly outstanding. Service is infamously prompt and they have the most mouthwatering lamb chops this side of, well, anywhere. A cheap meal for City of London workers any day of the week.
Fitzrovia / Restaurant / Cuisine: Vietnamese
Although this is a chain restaurant you should be afraid. It is not of the golden arches ilk. With a friendly, family-run atmosphere and contemporary setting, the Pho restaurants are all winners. We especially like this small cheap restaurant in Fitzrovia because this is such a happening area and it's a great alternative to Soho for that classic cheap eat, after work catch up. All food is fresh: no frozen peas here, and the jewel in it's chef's hat is the Vietnamese national dish, a tasty and nutritious noodle soup which only cost around £8 per meal. A beer is less than £4 too!
Marylebone / Restaurant / Cuisine: Lebanese
A cafe, shop and deli all rolled into one. The ideal spot for anyone who is Christmas shopping (or just normal shopping) in and around Oxford Street. For visitors after a quick refresher - be it a fresh mint tea or frozen yoghurt with dates - or those who want a lengthier, laid-back meal, the cheap and extensive Lebanese menu boasts some real cheap offers such as tagines under £8 and hot mezzes all under £6. Diners can chow down amongst the spices, sauces, dried fruits, tableware and Moroccan handbags, all of which are on sale. You can even bring your own bottle of wine as there is no corkage fee which should go down as well as the home-baked breads.
The Noodle House
Soho / Restaurant / Cuisine: Asian
Chilli heat, veggie crunch and fragrant flavours served up in simple welcoming surrounds - the dynamic and diverse cuisine of Southeast Asia has hit Shaftesbury Avenue at the noodle house. The restaurant combines the steam, buzz and satisfying fare of street food stalls, with the delicate flavours of teahouse-inspired cocktails to create a city centre bolthole ideal for lunchtime or evening. Most dished come in below a tenner; great for a pre-theatre or pre-cinema feed off the beaten track in Central London.
Soho / Restaurant / Cuisine: Italian
Vapiano, famed for its wide variety of homemade pizza, pasta and salad dishes already serves 15,000 guests in London each week. Pasta, pizza, antipasti and salads are ordered by customers directly from the Vapiano chefs at individual stations within the restaurant and prepared to order in front of guests (a Vapiano chef can make two different pasta dishes simultaneously and in just three minutes). The restaurant houses 240 covers over two floors and offers a bar, bench tables ideal for large groups and individual tables. Importantly, most dishes come in at less than £10 and the Soho location makes for a great cheap eat catch up with mates in Central London.
Mem & Laz
Angel & Islington / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Mediterranean
Perhaps lesser known than nearby Turkish Restaurant Galipolli, there's a great amount of choice for vegetarians at Mem and Laz and the atmosphere is fantastic too. It can get exceptionally noisy and busy at this small Turkish restaurant and the many hanging lanterns and bazaar-type decor add to the busy vibe. The mix meze starter is a great cheap eat as it offers 7 kinds of mezzes with warm baked bread for less than £7, and aside from the grilled meats, the mains are all under £10. One of the cheapest restaurants in Angel.
The Lemon Tree
West End / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Thai
Tucked away down a small side street in Covent Garden, The Lemon Tree seems a little confused as to what type of pub it is. There's the traditional interior that hasn't been decorated for a few years (since the late 80's?), but then first impressions hide the rather surprising hidden secret - very good, cheap Thai food! With most dishes being around the £7 mark, it's tough to find a cheaper meal in London's West End. Although the menu is by no means exhaustive, the selection is very suitable for a quick lunch time break. Arrive early or phone ahead and book a table as this small restaurant area is regularly full.
Marylebone / Restaurant / Cuisine: Lebanese
Described as the perfect hangout whatever your mood, Lazeez is set over two floors and offers a modern stylish interior with warmly coloured walls, an open plan kitchen and wide floor to ceiling windows. The Lebanese cuisine is only £12 for four tapas during lunchtime, perfect if you're shopping along Oxford Street. You can also get a two-person mixed platter - chicken shawarma, lamb mix, tabouleh, stuffed vine leaves, hummus, sambousek lamb, falafel, pickles - for £25.50. During the warmer months, take advantage of the terrace and enjoy your meal and drinks al fresco.
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