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The 15 best cheap eats in Bristol

Dining out on a budget? Here’s our guide to the best cheap eats in Bristol, from perfect pies to killer curries

Huw Oliver
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Huw Oliver
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With Michelin stars increasingly common in these West Country parts, it’d be easy to rack up quite the bill at many of Bristol’s very best restaurants. Thankfully for those on a budget, you can spend a fraction of what you would at those high-end spots and still get your mitts on some really good grub. From tantalising tapas to perfect pies to killer curries, there’s all manner of brilliant cheap eats to be found in this gourmet city. Need some inspiration? These are the best budget-friendly restaurants and cafés Bristol has to offer right now.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Bristol

Best cheap eats in Bristol

Edna’s Kitchen
  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian

Modest it might be, but the food at Edna’s Kitchen, a kiosk in Castle Park, certainly packs a punch. All the dishes on offer are vegetarian – choose from mezze salad boxes packed with crunchy salads, falafel, tabouleh and freshly made hummus, a herby Israeli omelette, aubergine and egg salad, or if you’re lucky, Edna’s special shakshuka (eggs baked in a spicy tomato sauce). Most dishes cost around £4, while the mezze box is full to the brim and still comes in at under a fiver – perfect for a quick shopping pit stop.

Fishminster
  • Restaurants
  • Fish and chips

All the fish at Fishminster are fried to flaky, soft perfection in brittle beer batter. You’ll find a fantastic cod and chips for around £6, and the portions are hearty, vinegar-soaked and served with a slice of lemon to cut a zing through the feast. If you’re pushing the sustainable boat out, get some oily, crisp whitebait (£3) on the side and an old-school portion of mushy peas (£1) with a hint of mint and butter. Over and above the eco-angle, Fishminster just serve really bloody good fish at chips that won’t break the bank.

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Thali Restaurant Montpelier
  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian

What began (and still continues) as a stall selling vegetarian Indian food at festivals now has a restaurant in every corner of Bristol. The Montpelier branch is the original, and although the menu has evolved over the years to include meat, Thali is still staunchly loyal to its vegetarian roots. The Northern Thali is the classic dish and consists of a vegetable curry, dhal, Keralan salad and rice. Add a soft, thin chapati or papadum to pair with the homemade chutneys and you won’t be sorry. Especially when you see how damn budget-friendly it all is.  

Pickle
  • Restaurants
  • Street food

A tiny portable set up near Temple Meads Station, Pickle serves up some of the best gourmet sandwiches in the South West. A dizzying (and regularly changing) selection of fillings await, from a classic grilled cheese (£3.95) to our personal favourite, the hearty Big Fish, with line caught tuna, cheddar and lemon mayo, slaw, pickles, cucumbers, capers and an extra squeeze of lemon juice. Best of all, it’s all super-good value.

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Yurt Lush
  • Restaurants
  • Street food

Yurt Lush embodies a little bit of Bristol in everything it does. A tongue-in-cheek name that nods to its Brizzle heritage. Some far-flung culture in the shape of a Mongolian yurt. A Michelin-starred chef in director Josh Eggleton. And a kind of dazzling friendliness that some will tell you is a special Bristolian trait. Yurt Lush succeeds in crafting affordable, fantastic gosh in a unique setting. Not many can make that claim.

The Cowshed
  • Restaurants

Steak. When done right it’s the carnivore’s kryptonite. Cowshed do it right. They source from West Country farms, age it for 31 days (any steak worth its salt seasoning should be aged for 28), they cook high and quick, and not for too long. Give them a tenner at 6pm, and you can get a lovely rump with thickly cut chips and a cold beer. The £12 three-course lunch is a steal, too.

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  • Restaurants
  • Street food

Charcoaled meats and flat bread scents fill the air at Matina, whose delectable, size-of-your-arm wraps cost less than a fiver. Choose chicken (£4.20), lamb (£4.20), roast veg and halloumi (£4) or the Matina mix (£4.50) – that’s chicken and lamb. Watch them fire the flat bread in front of your eyes, and then choose from the array of salads, pickles, pastes and sauces.

The Gallimaufry
  • Bars and pubs
  • Café bars

Keeping it independent and local, as is the way around here, you’ll always find at least two beers from Bristol breweries at The Gallimaufry, as well as a selection from further afield that change regularly – all the better to wash down some award-winning food of which brunch is a particular speciality. But you don’t have to pay through the nose for such culinary delights – The Galli offers plenty of value, too. 

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Biblos
  • Restaurants

If you’re looking for something wholesome before, during or after a night out, Biblos is your place. While the menu isn’t totally meat-free, its Middle Eastern and Caribbean influences mean there’s plenty for vegetarians to choose from. Biblos stuff their famous wraps full with fresh salad, falafel, hummus and roasted veg, while meat-eaters can choose from jerk chicken or pork, chicken shish and lamb kofta. If you feel like sharing, their mezze and platters come highly recommended, and because you can bring your own booze it certainly makes for an affordable night out.

Beerd
  • Bars and pubs

An Italian fellow once said to me that if you have more than five or six ingredients on a pizza, then it isn’t a pizza. It’s likely that Beerd’s bearded Matthew Gardiner met this fiery little guy and took it to heart, as it’s a bastion of superb, traditional pizza packed with Tuscan ingredients. The tomato, mozzarella di bufala and basil (£7.50) is as traditional as it gets, and lets the flavours talk. Tangy, sweet tomato sauce, creamy mozzarella and metallic, aromatic basil dance on the palate, while the slightly nutty finish of the Nepalese flour base rounds off a classic done just right.

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Al Bab Mansour
  • Restaurants
  • Moroccan

In the glass arcade section of St. Nicks market you’ll find this haven of moreish, slow-cooked North African goodness. Try the Moroccan chicken (£6) – think beautifully spiced, fall-off-the-bone meat, with lemon, olives and mixed root veg. Moroccan lamb (£6.50) is, again, tender and luscious. Prunes add richness and sweetness, while the spices mix beautifully to finish. Both are served with your choice of either rice or couscous.

Caribbean Wrap
  • Restaurants

St. Nicks market spoils us. Gastronomic bounties abound. Caribbean Wrap is just one – small but steadfast, always busy and unapologetically uninfluenced by anything other than its Caribbean roots. On top of that, they serve, without a doubt, the best jerk pork you’ll probably taste. Lunch specials at a fiver make this a cracking cheap-eat option. Make sure you get there early, though; inevitably, by 2pm there’s very little left.

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Pieminister
  • Restaurants

Anyone who’s been to Glastonbury will tell you it’s possible to survive for days on Pieminister pies and cider alone. This is especially true if you choose Pieminister’s ‘Mothership’, a behemoth of a meal, with a pie on top of mash, mushy peas, gravy, grated cheese and shallots. Thankfully, though, us Bristolians don’t have to go all the way to a muddy field to find one. The big beast costs £9.50, while pies on their own come in at £4.50.

  • Restaurants

A brilliant-value lunch menu – £7 to take away or £10 to at in – makes this Caribbean spot well worth a visit between 12pm and 5pm. Tasty classics include the curry goat, brown stew chicken and oxtail with butter bean. If you’re after dinner, go for the set menu (£15 per head for a minimum of three) of curry goat, ackee and saltfish, then crisp, spicy fried chicken. There’s also an all-you-can-eat Friday offer (£12 for a two-hour slot).

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Falafel King
  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian

The glorious falafel here come served in home-baked pittas, smeared liberally with fresh hummus, stuffed with chopped salad and topped with pickles and a sauce of choice. If you don’t fancy falafel, the sabich (egg and aubergine) wrap is equally tempting, while the mezze platters are big enough to share. Order your lunch with a cup of fresh mint tea and you’ll like spend just over a fiver.

After more solid recommendations?

The 19 best restaurants in Bristol
  • Restaurants

Frankly, there’s nowhere better than Bristol for an unpretentious and delicious dining experience – even the higher-brow restaurants we list here share a sense of fun when it comes to their food. So whether it’s burgers, brunch or a big-bucks blowout you’re after, tuck in!

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