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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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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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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Orrery

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

This serene, elegant Marylebone dining room with bucolic views through arched windows produced a meal that astonished us in every way. The Ukrainian chef Igor Tymchyshyn has achieved the seemingly impossible – a £26 menu du jour of exceptional beauty, glamour and flavour. A starter of lobster bisque with seafood raviolo was pure luxury; chicken liver pâté was served on a raft of toasted Poilâne, heaped with tangy apple chutney and scattered with pea shoots. A main course of

  1. 55 Marylebone High Street, W1U 5RB
  2. Set lunch £23 & £34 2 courses, £26 & £38 3...
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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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Q Grill

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Offer

‘Twat.’ ‘Cow.’ ‘Wanker’: those of us who have ever worked ‘front of house’ in the past would expect this kind of abuse on a Friday night, when service would reach boiling point and the chefs would lose their cool. Afterwards, we’d sit down for a few beers, and all would be forgiven. These days, of course, all the cool, sexy restaurants have open kitchens, so you can see – and hear – all the action.   So it was with some admiration that we watched the chefs

  1. 29-33 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AJ
  2. Meal for two with drinks and service: around...
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© Ming Tang-Evans

Moti Mahal

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

Class, poise, judgement: these words might well be embossed on Moti Mahal’s burnished copper bar, beside the serried ranks of expensive whiskies. This London outpost of Delhi’s celebrated restaurant group is geared to international business diners and priced accordingly. Weighty linen tablecloths, polished wooden flooring, an ambient soundtrack and a spotless open kitchen (viewed behind a curvaceous glass partition) lend gravitas to the ground-floor dining room – as do

  1. 45 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5AA
  2. Main courses £9-£28. Set lunch £15 2 courses...
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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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Cinnamon Club

Cinnamon Club Dominik Gigler

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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Ming Tang Evans / Time Out

Galvin Bistrot de Luxe

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

The first of the Galvin brothers’ restaurant empire, this polished, much-loved Marylebone bistro is classically French (veloutés, soufflés, purées) with the occasional nod to Italy (risottos, lasagnes, panna cottas). The dining room is an inviting place, with its dark chocolate wood panelling, globe lighting and big bunches of scarlet gladioli. Lunch, ordered from the à la carte and £19.50 prix-fixe menus, was high on comfort and mostly tip-top. A smooth, nicely fatty

  1. 66 Baker Street, W1U 7DJ
  2. Main courses £16-£21.50. Set lunch £19.50 3...
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