Cheap meals in London's best restaurants

Posh nosh for less dosh – the finest restaurants with bargain pre-theatre deals and set menus

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Want to sample London's gourmet restaurants without splashing the cash? Take a seat at off-peak times and you can eat like a king for a lot less than you'd expect. Here are just a few the finest London restaurants with bargain pre-theatre deals and uncommonly cheap set menus.

Plateau

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Offer

The aptly named Plateau sits on the fourth floor of Canada Place, with sensational views of Canary Wharf from its huge glass and metal façade. The interior aims to impress with iconic contemporary furniture – marble-topped white Eero Saarinen Tulip tables and matching chairs, and Arco floor lamps – but the restaurant isn’t just a designer showroom for the moneyed classes; the beautifully presented cuisine is testament to the fact that head chef Allan Pickett takes his job

  1. Canada Place, Canada Square, E14 5ER
  2. Main courses £14-£29.50. Set meal £22 2...
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Club Gascon

Club Gascon

Club Gascon

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice
  • Offer

The presence of the three-strong Gascon group (as well as Comptoir Gascon, there’s wine bar Cellar Gascon) ensures that a small area of east-central London has a flavour of south-west France. This is the most expensive of the trio, a Michelin-starred sanctuary of haute cuisine. Heavy wooden screens shut out the world; inside is a serene and urbane room of greys and golds with marble panels. Head chef Pascal Aussignac is from Toulouse, and the hallmarks of the area’s cuisine

  1. 57 West Smithfield, EC1A 9DS
  2. Dishes £12-£26. Set lunch £25 2 courses incl...
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Theo Randall at the InterContinental

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice
  • Offer

Since 2006, when Theo Randall, long-time head chef at the River Café, opened this eponymous restaurant its reputation (and Randall’s media profile) has gone from strength to strength. The colourful, spacious dining room is high on comfort, if a little corporate, with cream leather, walnut wood and olive green shades. Service is caring and warm-hearted and the cooking, in our experience, is joyous. The carte is not cheap, featuring luxury produce such as Limousin veal and wild

  1. 1 Hamilton Place, Park Lane, W1J 7QY
  2. Main courses £28-£38. Set meal (lunch,...
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Rob Greig / Time Out

Kopapa

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice
  • Offer

Fusion maestro Peter Gordon (of the Providores & Tapa Room) co-owns this handily located, stylish all-dayer. He oversees an exciting and well-executed menu that runs from breakfast to dinner, with missteps a rarity. Turkish eggs (poached eggs with yoghurt, hot chilli butter and flatbread) – a favourite from the Tapa Room – makes a welcome appearance on brunch and breakfast menus. Lunch features weighty sandwiches (steak on focaccia with caramelised onion, mustard cream

Kopapa is perfect for your pre or post theatre visit. We have set menu options available with 2 courses for £18.95 or 3 courses for £21.95
  1. 32-34 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9HA
  2. 2 Courses £18.95 3 Courses £21.95
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Thomas Skovesende / Time Out

Hakkasan

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Offer

More than a decade after it started wowing London’s big spenders with its classy Cantonese cooking, this Michelin-starred trendsetter remains a benchmark against which all high-end Chinese restaurants should be judged. The basement’s stylish interior (all dark wood lattice screens and moody lighting) still attracts the kind of beautiful people who might suppress their appetites – though there was little evidence of restraint on our midweek night visit. Plate after plate

  1. 8 Hanway Place, W1T 1HD
  2. Main courses £17-£61. Dim sum £3-£20. Set...
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Cinnamon Kitchen

Cinnamon Kitchen Ming Tang-Evans

Cinnamon Kitchen

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice
  • Offer

There’s something almost karmic about the location of this new sibling to the Cinnamon Club, occupying as it does a former warehouse of the East India Company. And it occupies it stylishly, with walls in soft pewter hues inset with lustrous mother-of-pearl patterns. The juxtaposition of exposed air-con ducts with intricate filigree light-shades works unexpectedly well under the lofty ceilings – as does the long tandoori-grill bar where chefs cook to order. Most dishes

  1. 9 Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YL
  2. Main courses £12-£32. Set lunch £15 2...
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Michael Franke / Time Out

Bar Boulud

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Offer

An outpost of the New York flagship, Bar Boulud is located in the basement of the majestic Mandarin Oriental and attracts a diverse mix of families, hotel guests, business people and romancing couples. Overseen by renowned chef Daniel Boulud, the restaurant has an eye-catching view of the open-plan kitchen where chefs work in zen-like calm. Charcuterie from Gilles Verot is a big draw, as are the elegant French brasserie options and finger-licking American staples. We’ve had

  1. 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA
  2. Main courses £11.75-£29
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Britta Jaschinski / Time Out

Barshu

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice
  • Offer

The distance north of Shaftesbury Avenue, though only 20 metres, is important. Barshu (the original of a Sichuan quartet along with Ba Shan, Baozi Inn and newcomer Baiwei) is distinct from Chinatown’s mostly Cantonese restaurants in looks and pricing, as well as cuisine. The dark wooden ground floor is brightened by red lanterns and partitioned by a beautifully carved screen; upstairs is similarly woody. Despite such rusticity, you could spend extravagantly here – though

  1. 28 Frith Street, W1D 5LF
  2. Main courses £9.90-£30.90. Minimum charge...
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© Nick Ballon

Blueprint Café

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Offer

A long-time favourite, the Blueprint Café would be destination for the setting alone: wall-to-ceiling windows look on to a stunning view of the Thames and Tower Bridge, and a retractable canopy gives a great inside/outside feeling. Head chef Mark Jarvis’s seasonal menus are short and to the point – dishes are beautiful but in no way twee. Begin, perhaps, with just-seared yellowfin tuna with kalamata olives and a delicate salad niçoise, or a tender artichoke salad with a

  1. Design Museum, 28 Shad Thames, SE1 2YD
  2. Main courses £12.50-£21. Set lunch £15 2...
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Lady Ottoline

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Offer

Note: As of October 2014, The Lady Ottoline has been taken over by the Truffle Hunting restaurant group, which also owns Newman Street Tavern, The Princess Victoria and The Henry Root. The Time Out Eating and Drinking Team   This upmarket gastropub is part of the small Noble Inns stable that includes the Princess of Shoreditch and the Pig & Butcher in Islington. All three have a commitment to drink as well as food, with space given over to drinkers and a selection that runs

  1. 11A Northington Street, WC1N 2JF
  2. Main courses £10.95-£24Meal for two with wine...
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