The 100 best cheap eats in London: 15 dishes for a fiver and under

Even if you're feeling the pinch before payday, you can still eat like a queen in London with our guide to the 15 best dishes and snacks in London for £5 or less
Stracci with gorgonzola and onions at Padella
Andy Parsons
By Time Out London Food & Drink |

Eating out doesn’t have to cost the earth. Hell, it doesn’t even have to cost more than £5, as our guide to London’s best penny-saving dishes proves. We’ve pulled together 15 super-cheap eats from city-best restaurants, basement-dwelling cult faves, brilliant bakeries and cracking cafés located across London, so you can stay stuffed without emptying your wallet. Get stuck in.

Video: why not taste one of these five fantastic cheap eats in the city?

RECOMMENDED: The 100 best cheap eats in London

Quiche Lorraine at Café Sou
Restaurants, French

Quiche Lorraine at Café Sou

icon-location-pin Bank


The food at Café Sou – The Ned’s tres-jolie stab at a grand railway café in the Parisian mould – may be simple, but it’s astoundingly satisfying. The star of the show? Their eggy, hyper-cheesy slabs of quiche Lorraine: God’s own picnic fodder.

Restaurants, Malaysian

Roti canai at Roti King

icon-location-pin Euston


The Roti Kingdom is a chaotic little Euston basement, wherein our Malaysian monarch slams out city-best rotis. The roti canai – two breads with a bowl of dhal for dipping, and that’s it – is a flavour bomb worth pledging fealty to.

Cheap eats in London for under a fiver, melt room
© Rob Greig
Restaurants, Sandwich shop

Mac and cheese melt at Melt Room

icon-location-pin Soho


Toasted sandwiches are a ubiquitous hot property these days, and Soho’s Melt Room dishes up gloriously gooey sarnies with the best of ‘em. Their unctuous mac and cheese version is the cholesterol connoisseur’s melt of choice.

Bun House
Restaurants, Chinese

Steamed Cantonese buns at Bun House

icon-location-pin Soho

£2.50 each

This teeny-tiny Cantonese joint in Soho specializes in pillowy, sealed steamed buns, their contents stamped in red Chinese script on top. They’re all ace, so nab two: first the cumin-heavy lamb number, then a blood-laced (punchy, eh?) red choc bun for ‘pudding’.

cheap eats in london, food under a fiver, wellbeing kitchen
© Ben Rowe

Soondooboo jjigae at Wellbeing Kitchen

icon-location-pin Covent Garden


This humble little joint near Tottenham Court Road station dispenses its wellbeing to loyal locals from bubbling cauldrons behind the counter. It’s the bowls of firecracker-red jigae stew – salty, sour and perfectly spicy – that really hit the spot. Sinking yourself into the soondooboo jjigae’s silky tofu-laden depths will save your Seoul.

100 best dishes in london, bababoom, whitebait
Restaurants, Middle Eastern

Dukkah whitebait at Bababoom

icon-location-pin Clapham Junction


This cool Battersea kebab joint gives the Brit-pub staple a Middle Eastern makeover, dipping the bitesize little fishies in dukkah, before deep-frying them. The result? A crispy, fleshy treat, funky with aromatic herbs, spices and nutty crunch.

kati roll company, Oxford street restaurants
Restaurants, Indian

Unda chicken roll at Kati Roll Company

icon-location-pin Soho


The eponymous dish at this Bollywood-themed Soho café is India’s answer to the burrito, and the unda chicken roll – flaky paratha, topped with egg and piled with chicken tikka – is a fine example. Unsurprisingly, ‘kati’ rhymes with ‘party’.

The 100 best cheap eats in London, Bao
© Rob Greig
Restaurants, Taiwanese

Confit pork bao at Bao

icon-location-pin Soho


London’s pertest bun remains Bao’s confit pork number – a steamed little cloud stuffed with impossibly tender pig, sticky sauce and deep-fried shallots (a veritable social media celeb in its own right). Their Soho branch is the original (be prepared to queue) but their new Fitzrovia outlet takes bookings.

Simit bagels at Mandira, Covent Garden
Restaurants, Cafés

Toasted Turkish cheese and cured beef simit bagel at Mandira

icon-location-pin Covent Garden


Swerve the wet stuff at this Covent Garden yoghurt bar and pick up one of their bagels instead. The simit bread (a kind of skinnier, chewier, Turkish-er version of a bagel) stuffed with mild, melted kaseri sheep’s cheese and dry cured beef is an Anatolian marvel.

Cheese roll at Ole & Steen
Restaurants, Bakeries

Cheese roll at Ole & Steen

icon-location-pin St James'


There’s not much to Ole & Steen’s perplexingly cheap breakfast roll on Haymarket, but it remains a thing of beauty: a slick of white butter and some mild Danish gouda wodged into – here’s the ‘eminent Scandi bakery’ bit – a biga, rye and durum-infused, salt-and-peppered bun.

The 100 best cheap eats in London, dosa n chutny
© Rob Greig
Restaurants, Indian

Mysore masala dosa at Dosa n Chutny

icon-location-pin Tooting


This Tooting spot is a bona fide institution, and their dosas are justifiably raved about; the fragrant mysore masala – furled over spiced onion and potato, with lentil sambar and coconut chutney – is a feast for less than a fiver.

Lardo onion rice at Xu
Restaurants, Contemporary Asian

Lardo lard onion rice at Xu

icon-location-pin Chinatown


If there’s a better way of pimping a bowl of rice than by dressing it in rendered pork fat and soy, and then piling it with glistening slivers of lardo and crispy fried onion, then we’d love to hear it. And that’s how they do it at dreamy Taiwanese teahouse Xu, wood-paneled little brother to Bao.

Stracci with gorgonzola and onions at Padella
Andy Parsons
Restaurants, Italian

Stracci with sweet onions, thyme and gorgonzola fonduta at Padella

icon-location-pin South Bank


Padella’s killer USP isn’t just that it does London’s best pasta. It’s also insanely reasonable. Take the rough-cut stracci with sweet onions, thyme and unctuous gorgonzola sauce: £5 for you. Unbelievably, a plate of pillowy gnocchi with sage and butter is a whole quid less.

chick n sours, chips and mayo, cheap eats in london
Restaurants, Chicken

Sriracha sour cream and dripping fries at Chick 'n' Sours

icon-location-pin Covent Garden

£1/ £3.50

Okay, okay – it’s technically neither chicken nor sours, but the moreish combo of fine dripping-cooked fries and the genius soothing/spicy double-hit of sriracha-laced sour cream is bargain highpoint on a clucking brilliant menu.

Silk Road
Rob Greig Time Out
Restaurants, Chinese

Lamb shish skewer at Silk Road

icon-location-pin Camberwell

£1 each (but minimum order of four)

Everything on the menu at Camberwell’s Xinxing stalwart is dirt cheap, but the maniacally economical should hit up the teeny, succulent lamb skewers, best scoffed straight off the grill (and ordered again, and again, and again).

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