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

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.
RECOMMENDED: The 100 best cheap eats in London

1
Quiche Lorraine at Café Sou
Restaurants, French
Quiche Lorraine at Café Sou
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£4
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.
icon-location-pin Bank
2
Restaurants, Malaysian
Roti canai at Roti King
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£4
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.
icon-location-pin Euston
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3
Cheap eats in London for under a fiver, melt room
© Rob Greig
Restaurants, Sandwich shop
Mac and cheese melt at Melt Room
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£5
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.
icon-location-pin Soho
4
Bun House
Restaurants, Chinese
Steamed Cantonese buns at Bun House
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£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’.
icon-location-pin Soho
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5
cheap eats in london, food under a fiver, wellbeing kitchen
© Ben Rowe
Restaurants
Soondooboo jjigae at Wellbeing Kitchen
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£4.90
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.
icon-location-pin Covent Garden
6
100 best dishes in london, bababoom, whitebait
Restaurants, Middle Eastern
Dukkah whitebait at Bababoom
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£4.95
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.
icon-location-pin Clapham Junction
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7
kati roll company, Oxford street restaurants
Restaurants, Indian
Unda chicken roll at Kati Roll Company
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£4.70
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’.
icon-location-pin Soho
8
The 100 best cheap eats in London, Bao
© Rob Greig
Restaurants, Taiwanese
Confit pork bao at Bao
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£5
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.
icon-location-pin Soho
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10
Cheese roll at Ole & Steen
Restaurants, Bakeries
Cheese roll at Ole & Steen
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£2.10
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.
icon-location-pin St James'
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11
The 100 best cheap eats in London, dosa n chutny
© Rob Greig
Restaurants, Indian
Mysore masala dosa at Dosa n Chutny
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£4.25
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.
icon-location-pin Tooting
12
Lardo onion rice at Xu
Restaurants, Contemporary Asian
Lardo lard onion rice at Xu
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£3.50
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.
icon-location-pin Chinatown
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15
Silk Road
Rob Greig Time Out
Restaurants, Chinese
Lamb shish skewer at Silk Road
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£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).
icon-location-pin Camberwell