When to go When you’re bored of Anglicised Thai food but can’t be arsed to queue up for Som Saa or Smoking Goat.
What to eat Homemade Isaan-style sausages, green papaya salad and – if you’ve brushed up on the lingo – a treat from the Thai script specials board.
How much? As long as you avoid seafood curries you won’t break the bank – veer towards noodles and rice plates for an even cheaper feed.
When to go Load up on freshly baked breads, houmous, baba ganoush and Damascene specialities at the all-you-can-eat Sunday breakfast buffet, from 11am to 1pm.
What to eat It’s all great: cold meze, lamb kebabs, tabbouleh – portions are vast, so order a small amount to start with to avoid overdoing it.
How much? £9.99 is a bargain for the Sunday brunch, or you can pay the same price for maklouba (or any main course) plus a fizzy drink – 11am to 6pm every day.
When to go Quick to eat and packing plenty of stodge, these balls could well be ideal pre-gig fodder. Check out what’s on at the Forum.
What to eat The namesake deep-fried risotto balls, served plain, with salad, in tortilla wraps or accompanied by a hot stew.
How much? From £4.50 for five risotto balls (eating in) to around £8 for the original salad boxes and daily stews.
When to go When a friend’s birthday falls the week before payday. Ariana’s BYO policy will help keep your bill down.
What to eat Kabuli palow (a melting, slow-cooked lamb shank, buried in a mound of yellow rice, dotted with pistachios and peppers).
How much? Only two main courses (including the enormous, shareable mixed kebab) cost more than £10.
When to go There’s always a queue outside this place (though you can book at the Fitzrovia branch), but your best bet is a late dinner – last orders 10pm.
What to eat Bao’s signature buns, stuffed with tender pork belly, peanut powder and pickled lettuce; also check out the epic versions with fried chicken and Horlicks ice cream.
How much? These babies all cost £5 or less (the classic’s just £4.50). Order lots. And some sides.
When to go When your taste buds need defibrillating.
What to eat The house baozi buns, Chengdu dan dan noodles, and a spicy cucumber salad.
How much? The flavours might sock you in the face, but the bill won’t: snacks from £1.30, rice and noodle bowls from £4.50.
Our newest dim sum menu has just launched at our sister branch in Romilly Street! Have you checked it out yet? Prices start at £4.50.
When to go Dishes are ideal for both sharing or scoffing solo, so it’s perfect for a swift lunch or a settled-in dinner with friends.
What to eat Vietnamese classics abound (think spring and summer rolls, pho, bun noodle salad), but it’s worth breaking the budget for the skillet-served bánh khot pancakes, topped with shrimp dust.
How much? Pay £5 for rice-paper rolls, up to £10 for a dish of pulled pork with crispy eggs, fried shallots, chilli and tamarind dressing.
When to go The morning after the night before, when you need to dispel the memory of that kebab-shop meat.
What to eat On this budget, it’s the filled pitas for you: lamb kofte, lamb shawarma, chicken thighs or cauliflower, piled with pickles, herbs and tahini.
How much? All £9 or less. Chuck in some harissa, garlic yoghurt or Yemenite Dynamite hot sauce and you’re still on a financial winner.
When to go Only the seriously hungry hordes of Soho need apply.
What to eat Rib-sticking renditions of the Korean staple, bibimbap: a layered dish of rice, spiced vegetables and meat topped with a fried egg.
How much? From £7 per serving – very filling.
When to go When nothing but dry-aged beef, cooked pink, will do.
What to eat The standard bacon cheeseburger will be plenty for most people. If you’re in the mood for yabba-dabba-doo, go for the double.
How much? Burgers from £6.50; throw in some fries and get change from £10 (unless you go double).
When to go Breakfast is the highlight of the day here, thanks to the homemade baked beans, veggie sausages and top-notch coffee.
What to eat It’s all so colourful and hearty, even carnivores can get stuck into the spicy stews, soups, curries and pasta dishes.
How much? Mains hover around £7.50, starters and desserts at £4.50, and there’s a £2.50 corkage charge for BYO. Cash only.
When to go All day, mes amis – there’s no time limit on the set menu.
What to eat Bistro classics: carrots rapées followed by steak haché with frites.
How much? £9.95 for two courses: arguably London’s biggest bargain. You could slip in a quick visit to the fromage trolley afterwards and still have change from £15.
Dine with us and enjoy live music! Our swinging house bands play six nights a week from 9.30pm (9pm on Sundays).
When to go Depends how much you like buggies – this is increasingly an area for the young Claphamite diaspora. Aim early on weekends to beat the rush.
What to eat Anything involving the bakery’s produce, from cornbread muffins to boiled eggs with soldiers or fried eggs, ham and greens on toast. There are weekday salads and larger plates as well.
How much? Avocado toast is a bargain at £4 (as it should be); fried eggs with the trimmings are £8; sandwiches, salads and tartines sit somewhere in-between.
When to go It’s primarily a brunch and lunch spot, though they’re also open in the evenings for more extensive boozing (plus a short menu of focaccia rolls).
What to eat Keep it in the family with the Yummy Mummy (green peas, beetroot hummus, black quinoa, cherry tomato salsa and goat’s curd on toast) or the Step Sister (sweet potato, courgette and feta fritters).
How much? Most plates are around £9. Wholesome ‘super salads’ are £8, with extra halloumi or cured salmon on top if you want to max out the budget.
When to go It’s primarily a brunch spot (expect a plethora of well-dressed babies), but on weekdays there’s also a lunchtime counter selection.
What to eat Eggs every which way, gussied-up French toast, quinoa cakes with coconut-spiced butternut squash purée. Look out for weekend specials too.
How much? Things on toast from £7.50; hot specials £8.50, add £1 for a paratha.
When to go Are you desperately seeking umami savoury or saccharine sweet? Any time will do nicely.
What to eat The pig’s blood and chocolate combo is the stuff of X-rated pudding pilgrimages. Add some ‘fries’ (deep-fried duck tongues) too.
How much? Buns are all £2.50; add-ons and small dishes max out at £4.80.
When to go When that pho craving hits you in JD Sports (the car park is attached to the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre). Note that it’s closed on Tuesdays.
What to eat Substantial bowls of steaming noodle soup, perhaps with some summer rolls on the side.
How much? Most dishes will leave change from a tenner.
When to go If you’re in a hurry and don’t mind sitting on bum-numbing high stools.
What to eat Quick and simple does it. That means sourdough baguettes, quiches, salads, omelettes and the like – plus coffee and cake if you have time.
How much? City bargains: quiche £4 a slice, half baguette £9, salads from £5.
When to go All day, any day – they serve right through until 1am.
What to eat The huge menu can be intimidating – so stick to Cantonese dishes for the best results, and note that seafood is a particular strength.
How much? Most ‘good old classic’ mains cost less than £9, but one-plate ‘hawker’ rice dishes (nasi lemak etc) and soup noodles are even cheaper.
When to go The night time is the right time, but that means queues.
What to eat Wings, bites and tenders for the not-so-famished; a ‘straight-up’ Chik’n sandwich with sriracha sour cream and fries for a blowout.
How much? Most bites are sub-£5; a basic sandwich with small fries and dip will set you back around £7.
When to go The vibe is set to ‘party’ all week long, so it’s a great one for a school-night birthday meal. It livens up dates a treat, too.
What to eat Next-level Southern-style chicken, marinated in buttermilk, fried to crisp perfection and served alongside banging cocktails.
How much? A mere £9 for the ‘house fry’ of a drumstick, thigh, pickled watermelon and ‘seaweed crack’; a bargain £6 for sours.
When to go A hangover cure and a handy Camden Market pitstop. Otherwise, book in for a regular Thursday-evening fondue bonanza.
What to eat Oozing cheese sandwiches and messy riffs on raclette, but don’t miss the real food porn – a flavour-bomb sundae involving blue cheese lusciously laced with quince, honey and shards of honeycomb.
How much? Grilled sandwiches from £6.50, bigger plates such as cauliflower cheese from £7. The sundae weighs in at £5.50.
When to go Open between 11.30am and 4.30pm, Monday-Friday; not surprisingly, the queues are worst noon-2pm.
What to eat Spring rolls and bánh mì (baguettes) if you’re taking out, delicious pho if you’re slurping in.
How much? £8 will feed you well.
When to go Great for birthday bashes – and any other excuse for a good time.
What to eat Decent-value pastas are a proper meal, or you can plump for a pizza.
How much? Pasta bowls start at £7.50 for penne all’arrabbiata, although seafood options break the £10 barrier. Pizzas from £7.
When to go Say ‘non, merci’ to Pret’s stranglehold – this is a great spot for a nourishing lunch in the City.
What to eat Interesting baguettes, soups and curries, plus salads featuring whole grains, Asian overtones and other resolutely non-French elements.
How much? Not much: most items are about £5. The Asian stews (laden with gyoza dumplings) are a couple of pounds more, as are veggie lasagne and other hot dishes from the blackboard.
When to go Take the Shoreditch Boxpark trip and fuel up with some satisfyingly different vegan fare.
What to eat South-east Asian bowls of trendy vegan goodness, from mum’s green curry to a ‘yoga fire’ riff (chillies married to coconut) – all courtesy of Laotian chef King Cook.
How much? All bowls come in way under £10.
When to go Whenever you can. Mamma Maria’s food is an affordable treat from morn till night.
What to eat The cheapest deals are the classic pizzas and pastas, with the odd antipasti thrown in.
How much? Pizzas and pasta dishes start at £7, with most old-school mains hovering around £10 mark.
When to go Best to aim for noon or 3pm – the queue builds pretty rapido at lunchtime, especially on Thursdays and Fridays.
What to eat Treacly carnitas or kick-ass bavette steak burritos with killer smoky chipotle salsa.
How much? Burritos start at £6.50, plus £1 for guac or jalapeños.
When to go On the hoof – either for a wrap from the stall outside or a quick sit-down indoors. With insistent bhangra beats and unyielding seats, this is not a place to linger.
What to eat The kitchen majors in street-food snacks and slow-cooked curries.
How much? Dhaba snacks from £3, most curries around £9.
When to go For that pre-emptive pit-stop ahead of a Brick Lane bar crawl.
What to eat The pork pibil torta, the boss of bocadillos and a side of chilli fries.
How much? A muy barato £8-£9 for tacos, a torta or a burrito with a side of fries, rice or slaw.
When to go Before payday – Dosa’s dishes are cheaper and tastier than a supermarket curry.
What to eat Stick to veggie – the Mysore masala dosa, served with spiced onion, potatoes and three house chutneys is a winner.
How much? If you stay meat-free, you’ll come out with change from a fiver – unless you veer off into curry territory.
When to go Whenever you’re in the mood for home-cooked food with a generous side order of convivial banter and mickey-taking.
What to eat First-rate fry-ups, plus daily grills, roasts and Italian specials.
How much? Most mains £7, nowt more than £8.40.
we will be closed for 4 weeks from 29 July 2018. Re open Tuesday 28 August 2018.
When to go Lunch for the budget-minded – there’s a decent £6.95 ‘express’ option.
What to eat Minced catfish with lemon juice, lime leaves, onion, coriander, chilli and fish sauce is a punchy, challenging treat for die-hard Thai fans.
How much? Eschew seafood grills, and barely a jot hits £10. The catfish is £9.95.
When to go Hungry for a slab of red meat, but low on funds? This is great for lunch or pre-theatre.
What to eat Steak or steak, served ready-sliced on a board with a gimmicky mini-cleaver – that’s it. Ring the changes with sides and sauces.
How much? The basic deal is £10 for steak and a side salad; add £2.50 for dripping-cooked chips, plus another quid for Fred’s sauce or béarnaise.
When to go Brunch, lunch and monthly supperclubs. Check @frankscanteen on Twitter before heading over as the owner sometimes closes for catering gigs.
What to eat Behold! Tarka dhal with poached eggs, naan bread, chilli chutney, cheddar cheese and crispy onions.
How much? There’s plenty on offer for less than a tenner. The dhal combo is £9.90, decent poached eggs on sourdough toast is £6, with delectable sundries a couple of quid extra.
When to go Lunch is a wallet-friendly no-brainer, but also bag the bijou conservatory for a summer-night curry with mates.
What to eat A veggie thali or fish curry at lunchtime; street snacks, bhajis and dosas in the evening.
How much? Lunch deals start at £7. A veggie-biased sharing blowout should cost less than £10 a head without booze – although meat/fish mains will take you over budget.
When to go When you’re really, really hungry.
What to eat Meze, grills and stews to share, with salad and bread on the house. Approach the mixed kebab with caution: it’s a beast.
How much? Meze hits from £4.50 (order plenty), pide from £9.50, grills from £12 – although they’re often big enough to feed two, particularly if you’ve polished off some starters.
When to go Early doors: midday for lunch, or 6pm for dinner.
What to eat Anything roasted, but mainly duck – portions are generous, so even a quarter of the crispy bird will easily feed two with pancakes.
How much? A portion of duck with a noodle or veg dish will set you back a smidgen over £10. Nearly everything else is cheaper.
When to go Any day but Monday for lunch and dinner.
What to eat Bowls of Xi’anese-style hand-rolled noodles, filled buns and grills based on marinated meats.
How much? Around £8.50 for noodles, from £8.95 for pho, £7.95 grills – knock off a couple of pounds for tofu and vegetable dishes.
When to go Quick bite before a film or show? You could do wurst than a wiener.
What to eat Juicy sausages in crusty bread.
How much? Wurst in a roll is £5.95 (£7.95 with fries, £8.50 with salad). It’s also worth investing an extra 50p for toppings such as sauerkraut, chilli mayo and jalapeños. Note that currywurst combos are tad more expensive.
When to go Prepare for a lively evening: blaring Thai pop on the stereo gives way to karaoke after 9pm. Otherwise drop by for an ‘express lunch’ (Mon-Fri).
What to eat Authentic stir-fries, sour curries and regional salads – the larb (minced meat with lime and chilli dressing) is excellent.
How much? Most main dishes are under £10 but even with the pricier bits, it’s certainly possible to eat well on a budget. Even better, the express lunch is £7.50.
When to go A grab-and-go lunch or an early-evening refresher.
What to eat Choose one of the ready-made raw fish salad bowls or build your own healthy combo from the colourful pick ’n’ mix assembly line.
How much? A signature Honi Poké bowl with salmon is £7.90, a tofu variant is just £6.30. Extras 50p.
When to go When you want to feel smug and comforted at the same time.
What to eat This place is all about the daily specials. Much of the veg is locally grown by Organiclea, but the flavours are international. Expect anything from curry to quiche.
How much? Around a fiver for main meals.
When to go Weekday lunch is chickpea(k) time, when Soho locals pitch up for their protein fix.
What to eat The silky-smooth houmous topped with chunky beef stroganoff and aubergine stew.
How much? £5.95 buys the beef-topped houmous; for an extra £2.95 those benevolent bros will throw in a salad and a non-alcoholic drink.
When to go Any time, although lunch is the hot ticket. The combination of clean-eating and knockout fusion flavours makes it way better than any supermarket meal deal.
What to eat The house ahi bowl: soy-marinated tuna, sushi rice, pineapple salsa and spring onions. Top with nori and sriracha mayo for an umami-packed mouthful.
How much? At £8.85 for an ahi bowl, this is one of spenny Soho’s best bargains. Most house toppings are free, although you’ll pay extra for premium stuff such as spiced macadamia nuts.
When to go Open for three meals a day, seven days a week, but given that breakfast is often more continental than Indian, we suggest dropping by for lunch or supper. Takeaways too.
What to eat Mild curries and dhal with spicy pickles on the side.
How much? A lunch for two, with a couple of curries, pickles, bread and rice to share, costs around a tenner. Set dinners are pegged at £8.50 a head.
When to go At these prices, whenever you want. There’s a reason why it’s a stalwart for cheap dates, early evening carb-loading and bargain lunches.
What to eat Everything – the buffet’s the only option. Think vegetable curries, colourful salads, onion bhajis and feather-light paratha.
How much? All you can eat for £7.95. It’s BYO, too. Cash only.
When to go Lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, post-pub pile-out… they’re open noon-midnight, so take your pick.
What to eat In true NYC fashion, a full pie is a gargantuan 20 inches, so stick to the slices. Flavours are mostly conventional – though chicken, chorizo, halloumi and oregano is a neat combo.
How much? £3.50-£5 per slice. Two should do you.
When to go When you’re with company – there’s a healthy discount for bulk buys.
What to eat Kati (pronounced ‘karti’) rolls: marinated meats, veggies and cheeses, bundled up in paratha flatbread.
How much? Plain unda rolls layered with beaten egg are £5.40 for two; beef tikka rolls come in at £8.40 for two. Add £1 for a side of Corkers crisps.
When to go Happy hour prices all day, every day, at the bar – and no service charge either.
What to eat Anything with a red-sticker happy hour price tag – although DIY BBQ is the big thing here.
How much? Ridiculously cheap, from £1 for crispy seaweed to £7 for sukiyaki bibimbap. Weekday set lunches from £7.50.
When to go This is really a takeaway joint, but solo diners will find a handful of seats along one wall. Open all day.
What to eat Koshari is falafel’s more substantial older brother – a solid, simple dish of lentils, pasta, vermicelli and rice topped with chickpeas, tomato sauce and caramelised onions. Your only choice is whether to go mild, hot or mad on the sauce.
How much? £5.95/£6.95/£7.95 for Klassic, Kombo or King portions.
When to go When you want East End curry without the street touts.
What to eat Nihari and dry lamb curry, all served in utilitarian karahi bowls with minimal fuss.
How much? You’ll eat well for a tenner, especially in a group – there’s an offie next door for BYO.
When to go For sustenance in the small hours: it’s open till 2am on weeknights, 5am on Fridays and Saturdays.
What to eat Skip the neon Chinese buffet in the window and stick to the noodles – we love the lamian version with stewed beef (ask for extra broth and fewer noodles).
How much? £6.50 well spent.
When to go When you’re all after different things. Veggies leave as happy as carnivores.
What to eat Grab a true Brit fry-up if that’s what you fancy, although the Moroccan food sets this place apart.
How much? Not much on the extensive menu pips £5.
When to go An early date if you’ve got romance on your mind.
What to eat Luck dip time. Duck with Grand Marnier sauce, halal beef goulash, crab-stuffed plaice fillet, smoked chicken tagliatelle.
How much? Starters £3.05, mains £6.85 before 7pm – that’s your tenner accounted for. Add a couple of quid here and there later in the evening.
When to go For a pick-me-up (there’s great coffee and juice) in the Aldwych area.
What to eat Technicolour salads bursting with superfoods, or, for the more indulgent, some rather special toasties. Think roast broccoli with chilli, almonds and cheddar.
How much? A seasonal salad box is £5.95 (plus a couple of quid extra for smoked salmon, avocado, halloumi and the like), while toasties are around a fiver.
When to go Happy hours run daily, 5pm–7pm and 10pm-11pm.
What to eat Salt fish fritters, barbecue spare ribs, jerk chicken and, of course, rice and peas.
How much? A quarter chicken from the jerk pit with rice and peas is £8.50, small plates of fritters, wings and ribs are cheaper still.
When to go Pre or post-show, or for a quickie lunch. This place doesn’t take bookings, but it’s open all day seven days a week – so take pot luck.
What to eat Chicken yakitori, tofu custard, tonkatsu, slippery soba noodles with dashi dipping sauce – plus some authentic Japanese patisserie. Otherwise it’s cocktails and izakaya snacks in the downstairs bar.
How much? Swerve the panko-crumbed Wagyu beef and you can eat well for less than £10: yakitori skewers £4.50, katsu curries and soba noodles from £6.50, raindrop cake £2.50.
Machiya is an all-day restaurant and bar serving simple home-style cooking alongside unique patisserie inspired by the food halls of Japan.
When to go Brunch, lunch, dinner – these pancakes are an all-day affair, mon frère.
What to eat Buckwheat galettes for the savoury-craving (the Complète, with ham, egg and emmental, is a classic); crêpes for the sweet-toothed.
How much? Savoury galettes top out at £9.90; a butter and sugar crêpe is a mere £3.50.
July 14 is just around the corner and what better way to celebrate than with real galettes and crepes!?
When to go Daytime hours mean it’s best for breakfast, lunch or a teatime reviver.
What to eat These flavoured Greek yog bowls are like dinner-party dips – not filling, but fun (and nutritious too). Go sweet or savoury as the mood takes you, and fill any gaps with a traditional simit bagel or soup.
How much? Mix -and-match combos are the best deals: a small yoghurt bowl plus half a bagel or soup is £6 at any time (breakfast specials are even cheaper).
When to go Anytime from noon to midnight daily (till 1am Friday and Saturday nights).
What to eat Don’t bother with starters: this place is all about perfectly cooked lamb and chicken.
How much? Share a generously proportioned grill (plus a couple of sides) for around £8 a head.
When to go Daytimes – they’re open from 8am-5pm on weekdays (a decent drop-in for the calorie-conscious commuter, then) and 10am-4pm.
What to eat The nourishing, generously portioned salad ‘lunch boxes’. Do include the warm sweet potato, quinoa, kale and mushroom mix, topped with peanut-sauce-slathered tofu. Righteous stuff.
How much? £5.55 for a mixed salad bowl with no toppings; £6.95 for a bowl with chicken, egg or halloumi; £8.95 for one with salmon or tofu.
When to go For breakfast, lunch, a quick cappuccino, a plate of mama’s spicy sausage penne or a chat with Mario.
What to eat An exceptionally full English, with bubble and squeak, hash browns and black pud bulking out the usual suspects.
How much? Most mains and cooked breakfasts cost £6.50 or less.
When to go With a big group – neither the setting nor the portions are built for a romantic dinner à deux. You could smother an armadillo with one of the pillowy naans.
What to eat Ask what’s been freshly cooked that day. You can’t go wrong with the sabzi lamb (paired with spinach) and a side of dhal.
How much? You’ll get a long way on £10 a head, especially in a group.
When to go When you’re picking up food to eat straight away. No one likes a tepid toastie.
What to eat Purists rave about the classic, but you could also toss in some tuna, various meats or even mac ’n’ cheese.
How much? All but the limited-edition melts cost £5 or less.
When to go Off-peak (it’s open all afternoon). With all of SW17 vying for 16 seats, this place makes Glastonbury look like a doddle.
What to eat As much as you can in a two-hour slot, but especially the crisp falafels, smoky baba ganoush, pomegranate-licked chicken livers and spicy batata harra potatoes.
How much? Most mains come in at under a tenner. Sautéed prawns and houmous awarna aside, the starter meze are all a fiver or less.
When to go For a cheap celebration meal with friends. There’s plenty of room, and it’s smarter than north and east London’s ocakbasi.
What to eat Freshly baked pide (Turkish pizza) or grilled meats to share over salads and sides.
How much? £7-£8.50 for pide; otherwise, pick carefully to stay within budget.
When to go With a small group of your most punctual friends – they won’t seat you until everyone is present.
What to eat The fragrant beef pho, bursting with noodles and green herbs.
How much? £8 will feed you full of pho.
When to go It’s a popular late-week lunchtime spot – no hangover too large.
What to eat Make ours the chicken, leek and bacon pie with cheesy mash and traditional gravy.
How much? £9.95 for mash with pie; £9.25 for mash with bangers.
When to go They take very limited bookings, but will write down your number so you can nip to the pub. Our advice: avoid large groups, or go for brunch.
What to eat The classic Mr Bao bun (pork, pickle and peanut powder) is both larger and cheaper than those in town (and just as good). And for god’s sake, don’t skip the Bao S’more, with marshmallow and chocolate.
How much? The bottom line is £3.90 for a Mr Bao bun; otherwise, expect to pay £4.50 for fried chicken, teriyaki mushroom or beer-marinated prawn versions. The S’more? Also £4.50.
Vegan baos are now on the menu! Our new milk-free buns are available with a variety of vegan-friendly fillings. Come get 'em!
When to go Lunchtime or mid-afternoon to swerve the queues, or togged up for an outside table in the evening.
What to eat Order the Okan ‘special’ okonomiyaki, featuring prawns, squid kimchi and sweetcorn.
How much? The ‘special’ is £10, other versions are cheaper by a pound or two. Ditto noodles.
When to go The food here is so good – and reasonably priced – that queuing is inescapable. Bang on midday or late for dinner are your best bets for a shorter wait.
What to eat The pappardelle with eight-hour beef shin ragù, and pici cacio e pepe (wormy strands of pasta with cheese and pepper) are both bona fide classics, so either of those.
How much? The beef shin is £9, the cacio e pepe £6.50. Both are astounding value for money. If you’re famished, get the latter with a starter and you can still sneak in under £10.
When to go The cramped seating and self-service policy make this place best for casual meals. Lunchtimes are busiest.
What to eat Try the spicy calabria with ’nduja sausage, rocket and mascarpone.
How much? Pizzas are a bargain, at £3.95-£6.50.
When to go Before a marathon, before the pub, before payday.
What to eat Potato purists should stick to the classics, but the spudventurous can top theirs with pulled barbecue duck, mozzarella and sesame, or bloody mary rose crayfish and iceberg lettuce.
How much? The entry-level spud with salted Cornish butter is £3.75, rising to a fiver for gourmet options.
When to go Aperitivo hour – join Soho’s spritzers with a Campari soda.
What to eat Escape the sharp elbows at the self-service counter – pitch up early and bag a table in the pizza section for a wood-fired margherita (bear left at the door).
How much? The margherita is yours for £7.50, plus £4 for your Campari aperitivo.
When to go Any time you damn well like, as you can actually book a table. The semi-industrial canalside locale is at its charming best when the sun’s out.
What to eat Fiery buffalo wings with truffle blue cheese are the old-time classic, fried Korean-style Gangnam wings are the discerning critic’s choice.
How much? From £7.50 a plate (complete the budget with some smoked chicken scratchings). If you’re feeling hungry and flush, eat all the wings you like from 6pm on a Monday for £14 (booking advisable).
When to go Solo lunches, family get-togethers, post-walk refuelling – nothing will break the bank.
What to eat It has to be the spaghetti napoli for a cheap-as-chips bargain, although all pastas and pizzas are worth the money – and there are even a few mains under £10.
How much? Spaghetti napoli £5.50, pizzas from £6. Add a small plate or side with any free cash.
When to go Breakfast, lunch or early dinner, Monday to Friday; open until midday Saturday.
What to eat Feast on classic café fodder: shepherd’s pie, burgers, spag bol, corned beef salad, pasties, fish and chips.
How much? A full English is £5.50, most lunch specials are a touch over £6 – and there’s plenty in between.
When to go Early evening to beat the queues. It really is small, so dining solo or in pairs is probably sensible. Takeaway is an option if you can’t be bothered to wait.
What to eat Hail to the rotis – they’re crisp, chewy, feather-light and dense at the same time. Wash them down with an ambrosial glass of teh tarik (chilled sweet tea).
How much? Stupidly cheap for food this good. The roti canai (two rotis with dhal) is £5, while the canai special (with a meat or fish curry) is £1.50 more.
When to go For a swift dough fix. No bookings and slightly abrupt service, so don’t expect to settle in for too long.
What to eat Blessed with corniciones this good, you can afford to keep toppings simple. Don’t fancy tomato? The San Giuseppe, with smoked cheese, sausage and wild broccoli, is divine.
How much? From £5.75 for the mozzarella-free Santa Maria (a marinara by another name) and up to a tenner for pizzas with cheesy and meaty toppings.
When to go Lunchtime suits the utilitarian, Formica-heavy surroundings, but it’s open in the evening too.
What to eat The dosas are decent – and reasonable – but Sakonis is best known for one dish: the super-celebrated, best-in-town chilli paneer.
How much? A snip over £8 for a pile of paneer. Dosas from £5.99; kachori, samosas and the like around £3.50. Come with a friend and share a few.
When to go It’s a busy lunch and breakfast spot (perfect for escaping the populous hell of Oxford Street), but they do takeaways too.
What to eat The open rye sandwiches. All the usual Scandi staples are here – meatballs, herring, beetroot and so on. There are hotdogs too, of course.
How much? Smörgåsbord £6.95 for three to eat in, £9.95 for five (slightly less to take away).