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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© Tricia de Courcy Ling

Lawn Bistro

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Offer

NB in February 2014 chef Ollie Couillaud left; who will replace him is not yet clear. The review below refers to 2013 only. Time Out Editors     More refined than you’d infer from its name alone, the Lawn Bistro is a classic French dining room that has added a strong independent voice to the chain restaurants and cafés of Wimbledon. Open since 2011, it offers accomplished French cuisine via two- or three-course prix fixe menus and a drinks list notable for French ciders

  1. 67 High Street, SW19 5EE
  2. Set lunch (Mon-Sat) £14.95, £19.50 2 courses,...
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Tom's Kitchen

Tom's Kitchen Rob Greig

Tom's Kitchen

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

Although Tom Aikens first made his mark in haute cuisine, this brasserie is his stab at a more egalitarian style of cooking and service. It offers ‘food for everyone and anyone’ – as long as they can afford it. This is primarily a local for Chelsea Green residents; wear Thomas Pink or Joseph and you’ll fit right in. Still, the place is highly likeable. It’s the comfort food that gets the attention – macaroni cheese, fish pie, beef burger, calf’s liver with mash –

  1. 27 Cale Street, SW3 3QP
  2. Main courses £12.50-£29.50
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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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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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The Cinnamon Club

The Cinnamon Club

Cinnamon Club

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

There’s a gentleman’s club feel to this grand, Grade II-listed Victorian building (once a library) and the high ceiling, book-lined gallery and crisp napery convey a sense of occasion. It’s an established haunt of sharp-suited power brokers and Westminster politicians who enjoy a fine-dining menu of updated rustic and regal pan-Indian dishes. We liked the sliced veal escalope with its toasted coriander seasoning – an innovative complement to creamy tomato-cumin sauce.

  1. Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, 30-32 Great Smith Street, SW1P 3BU
  2. Main courses £14-£32. Set meal £22 2...
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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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Almeida

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

The route between the Almeida theatre over the road and this D&D London restaurant is a well-trodden one: visit of an evening and there’s an exodus before curtain-up. The pre-theatre menu here, then, is often just that – and is excellent value at £17 for two courses, £20 for three. Those without a show to rush to can take more time over the sophisticated cooking, which is broadly modern French with a few excursions around Europe and Britain. On our last visit, Cornish

  1. 30 Almeida Street, N1 1AD
  2. Main courses £18-£22. Set meal (lunch...
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