We’re no strangers to eating on the cheap in London around here. But lean wallets don’t have to mean slim pickings. When it comes to dining out, you can get your fill of great flavours and international foods for fifteen quid or less. For frugal London dinners, give these Cheapo favourites a try.

Brasserie Zedel, Soho

London Dinners: Cafe Zedel
Photo by Guy Urbaniak used under CC

Dining in a fancy Art Deco interior like this feels akin to being on the set of The Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s also great value for a French brasserie dinner in London, with a less than decadent price tag right in the heart of the city. Be sure to check out our guide to Soho and the best bars before you make your way over!

What’s the deal?

Take advantage of the Prix Fixe menus all day from midday until 11pm. A mere £13.00 will get you two courses like Steak Haché and Chocolate & Caramel Tart. Not one for veggies or vegans, but if you like steak frites and you want something a bit different to Cafe Rouge, this is for you. Drinks will push this over £15.00, but with beers at £4.50 and wine at £5.25, their booze is still cheaper than most London pubs.

Average/best price: The Prix Fixe £13.00

Hoppers, Soho

Photo by Hoppers used under CC

Eat in or grab a tasty takeaway from this Soho restaurant, serving up Sri Lankan and South Indian food.

What’s the deal?

Hoppers are bowl-shaped steamed rice noodle pancakes. They’re traditionally more breakfast food than dinner, and cost £5.50. Dosas (spiced, savoury filled pancakes made from rice and fermented butter) are £5.50£9.00 (add £1.50 if you want to add chutney). Curries start from £8.50. The cheapest drinks on the menu include Guava Lassi or House Ginger Beer for £4.50.

Average/best price: Chilli Cheese Dosa with chutney and a drink £13.00

Koshari Street, Covent Garden

A pot of takeaway Koshari
Photo by Cathy Haynes used under CC

This veggie Egyptian street food powerhouse packs a lot of variety into their signature koshari bowls. The “Classic” is a filling pot of rice, pasta and lentils, topped with chickpeas, tomato sauce and fried onions served with garlic vinagarette. And that’s before you even get to toppings.

What’s the deal?

These guys also sell at Borough Market, where the smaller pot makes for a pretty decent lunch option. Koshari Street is perfect for quick, healthy London dinners, where you can select the size and spice level to suit. The basic koshari is veggie, and there are both vegetable and meat toppings on offer to bulk up your purchase from around £1.95.

Average/best price: Labna Chicken Chermoula Wrap meal deal with any drink + any snack £9.95

BiBimBap, Soho

London Dinners: Bibimbap
Photo by Raelene Gutlerrez used under CC

This place is a tried and tested spot to take out-of-town pals for London dinners. They also have a branch in Leadenhall.

What’s the deal?

BiBimBap is a bright, colourful restaurant, serving up sizzling bowls of the Korean favourite with seafood, chicken, tofu, and beef options. The namesake bibimbaps are hot stone bowls filled with rice and topped with the meat or veggies of your choosing. The western twists on Korean chicken, chijimi (savoury pancakes), tteok-bokki (spicy rice cakes) and japchae (stir fried glass noodles) are also tasty and affordable!

Average/best price: Dol Sot BiBimBap with kimchi and a Korean green tea £14.00

Padella, London Bridge

Cacio e pepe pasta
Cacio e Pepe – Padella | Photo by Amanda David

Some of the best pasta in London, at some of the most Cheapo-friendly prices. No reservation but actually not too hard to get into if you get there early and have the WalkUp app – see our round up of the best Italians in London Bridge.

What’s the deal?

Padella is well-known for their fabulous fresh pasta, particularly their Pici Cacio e Pepe and the Pappardelle with Dexter Beef Shin Ragu. Plan lunch alongside a visit to neighbouring Borough Market and you are winning at London life.

Average/best price: Tagliarini with dried chilli, garlic & pangrattato and an Affogato £14.50

Xi’an Impression, Highbury

Smack opposite the football stadium, this small, no-reservation street food & noodle bar is famed for its authentic hand-pulled Biang Biang noodles.

What’s the deal?

Proof that high-quality food doesn’t have to mean sky-high prices, this absolute gem of a restaurant has an entire menu of spicy flavour bombs. The ‘burgers’, flatbreads stuffed with shredded meat, are bargainous and delicious but you’d be crazy not to order the legendary noodles – just £!3.90 for the Xi’an Biang Biang noodles in special chilli sauce with chunky beef.

Here’s another insider tip: don’t wear a white t-shirt.

Average/best price: Xi’an pork or beef burger plus pork & veg dumplings £14.70

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