Cheap eats in Soho London

Find the best places for cheap food and best budget restaurants and cafés in the Soho

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Jonathan Perugia / Time Out

Soho's restaurants run the gamut from sleek and chic to fuss-free. Yet behind all the glitz and ritz of Soho are options of places to dine without breaking the budget. Try tasty Korean food at Bi Bim Bap or a hearty Italian meal at Princi. Whatever you fancy, Time Out has recommendations for great food on the cheap and good-value restaurants and cafés in Soho.

Koya

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The opening of Koya in 2010 marked a more youthful movement in the Japanese dining scene. With blond-wood sharing tables, white walls and a generally fresh-faced crowd of diners, the venue feels more like a friendly caff than a slick West End eaterie. The handmade udon noodles produced here are top notch, which explains why expectant diners often queue out of the door. Don’t be deterred: service is generally snappy, so you won’t have to wait too long. The well-priced menu

  1. 49 Frith Street, W1D 4SG
  2. Main courses £6.90-£14.90
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Hummus Bros

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Houmous may be nothing more than cheap student-fuel to many, but this humble chickpea paste is elevated to something altogether more delicious in the hands of Hummus Bros. The original Wardour Street outlet is spartanly decorated – all red communal tables and big windows – with queues of office workers snaking into the street at lunchtime: scenes replicated at the Holborn and Cheapside branches. Though the wraps aren’t bad, go for the bowls of silky-smooth houmous sprinkled

  1. 88 Wardour Street, W1F 0TJ
  2. Main courses £3.70-£8.80
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HK Diner

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4

Pay attention as you walk along Wardour Street, adjacent to Leicester Square – it’s easy to miss HK Diner’s narrow frontage. The interior is bigger than you might expect, and staff will hasten you towards any unoccupied booth seating. The menu covers Chinese standards, such as roast duck (impessively succulent) and various Chinese greens stir-fried with your choice of sauce, but on our last visit we were most struck by the generosity of the seafood (scallops, carved squid)

  1. 22 Wardour Street, W1D 6QQ
  2. Main courses £5-£25. Set meal £11-£32 per...
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Yalla Yalla

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4

Soho’s lively little Lebanese hub continues its success, judging by the numbers who cram around the tables in the distinctive yellow, black and white interior. At the back is a counter stacked with ready-made wraps to take away. This cheery café is a world away from staid traditional Lebanese restaurants. There’s none of the formality (or the space), but the standard of food is just as high. On a recent visit, we loved the tangy stickiness of sawda djej (melt-in-the-mouth

  1. 12 Winsley Street, W1W 8HQ
  2. Main courses £4-£13.75. Set lunch £7.50 2...
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Golden Union Fish Bar

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 1/4

Cast an eye over the menu and it’s evident that Golden Union can talk the talk – fish delivered daily from sustainable waters, grade-A potatoes, a combo of two frying oils changed at least four times a week, and freshly made beer batter. The point is, it can walk the walk too. Fish is chunky, flaky and perfectly cooked in a light, crispy, complementary casing; chips are crisp, firm and fluffy; pies and fish cakes are own-made and look it – there seems to be no weak point.

  1. 38 Poland Street, W1F 7LY
  2. Main courses £3.95-£12.95
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Yalla Yalla

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Yalla Yalla continues to produce its hit formula of superior Lebanese cooking in a casual setting. Its self-styled ‘Beirut street food’ resonates with the upbeat informality of these dinky Soho premises; we’ve found the quality to match that of much pricier restaurants. Diners cram on to faux-rustic tables at lunchtime, while others nip in for takeaway wraps – filled with everything from falafel to spicy sujuk sausage – from the pre-prepared selection behind the

  1. 1 Green's Court, W1F 0HA
  2. Main courses £8.50-£13.75
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Café TPT

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4

The menu in the window of Café TPT looks longer than the complete musings of Confucius. It’s not unusual to see a big menu in Chinatown, but such a vast repertoire seems impossible from a kitchen galley the size of an origami junk. Not so, because dishes from Hong Kong, mainland China and the diaspora are all produced competently, and some of them with commendable aplomb. The Cantonese dishes tend to be better than the Malaysian ones: roast duck on rice was succulent, and a

  1. 21 Wardour Street, W1D 6PN
  2. Main courses £6.50-£22. Set meal £11.50-£12...
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Princi

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Introduced to London by Alan Yau in 2008, this smart outpost of a Milanese bakery chain remains a popular all-day option. It’s an airy, good-looking room, with a sandstone interior, long black marble counters and a (slightly odd) water feature that runs the length of one wall. The food is varied enough to keep diners coming back for more: as well as cakes, pastries and breads, there’s a choice of filled focaccia (parma ham, say, or mortadella), hot dishes (lasagne, aubergine

  1. 135 Wardour Street, W1F 0UT
  2. Main courses £7.50-£11.50
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Beatroot

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 1/4

For a fast wholesome lunch, try this long-time favourite tucked next to the veg stalls of Berwick Street Market. Cartons come in three sizes, to be filled with a mix of tasty, freshly made salads and hot dishes (ten of each), on display behind a glass counter. Stalwarts include creamy coconutty dahl, lentil and mushroom shepherd’s pie, organic rice salad with tamari soy sauce and seaweed, mini ‘sausage’ rolls or simple blanched broccoli – it’s surprising how much you

  1. 92 Berwick Street, W1F 0QD
  2. Main courses £4.30-£6.50
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Gelupo

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

We usually adore this cool evocation of Sicily in Soho and the bustle suggests other Londoners have taken Gelupo to heart too. Yet we were disappointed in the flavours on our most recent visit. Kiwi with gin and elderflower tasted of little except elderflower; coconut gelato had a cloying soapy quality, while watermelon with cinnamon and jasmine smacked of floral toiletries. We should have stuck with Gelupo classics, such as black forest cherry and chocolate, blood-orange granita

  1. 7 Archer Street, W1D 7AU
More info
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© Jael Marschner


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Users say

9 comments
Lohit K
Lohit K

Stop by Braithwaites miniature tea room van on Rupert St for amazing English cream tea for only £4.99 - the most delicious clotted cream and strawberry jam on a lovely fruit scone with a cup of tea.

soho worker
soho worker

try siam cafe soho on walkers court, meals from £4 authentic thai curry!

theboydonefood
theboydonefood

Another list, much the same as last year, that seems completely out of touch. What happened to the good days when you guys published the cheap eats guide? Loads of lunches at less than a fiver.

Daniel
Daniel

what a joke. Busaba and Koya are hardly cheap eats. which world do you guys live in?!

KLT
KLT

Koya, Busaba Eathai and Malletti's are a must - authentic, fresh, tasty, inexpensive and superb. Pho are opening soon aswell and definitely worth checking out.

Ben
Ben

You've missed off Mooli's!

charlie
charlie

some seriously averag choices on here. Mooli's and Viet are both good. So to is Taro, Eat Tokyo, Donzoko, Joy and the brilliant I. Camisa.

paddersmcd
paddersmcd

Can't believe Mooli's on Frith Street isn't on the list. I work in Clerkenwell but the goan pork mooli with pomegranate salsa is well worth the trek over at lunch time!

NumberOneVietFan
NumberOneVietFan

I'm horrified you left Viet, 34 Greek Street, off the Cheap Eats in Soho! It's the best little cheap noodle joint in town, YUM!