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 a tenner 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 before you make your way over!

What’s the deal?

Take advantage of the Prix Fixe menus all day from 11:30 am until midnight. Just shy of a tenner will get you two courses like Steak Haché and Café Gourmand, the trio of mini desserts. 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 a tenner, but with beers at £3.50 and wine at £4.75, their booze is still cheaper than most London pubs.

Average/best price: £9.75 (excluding drinks)

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 £4.00. Dosas (spiced, savoury filled pancakes made from rice and fermented butter) are £4.00£4.50 (add £1.50 if you want to add chutney). Curries start from £7.00. The cheapest drinks on the menu are Sweet Metre Tea or Sweet Frothy Kaapi for £2.50.

Average/best price: Dosa/Hopper with chutney and a drink £8.50

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 “Klassic” is a filling pot of rice, pasta and lentils, topped with chickpeas, tomato sauce, caramelised 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 £3.00 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 £2.00. Most drinks are around £1.50.

Average/best price: Kombo Kohshari (served with salad) with tea/soft drink £8.50

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Cookhouse Joe, Soho

This Soho staple popped up back in 2013, and has been providing rotisserie chicken with Lebanese inspired sides ever since.

What’s the deal

Cookhouse Joe is best known for mammoth lunchtime deals. But it’s still among our favourite spots for cheap London dinners, where you can bag half a chicken and sides for less than a tenner. To make the most of your money, come as a group, order a couple of whole birds and try out the flatbreads and dips. There are boxes to save leftovers for later (and there’s a good chance you’ll be using them).

Best/average price:Until 5 pm, half a free-range rotisserie chicken, a hearty pile of chips and a side come in at just £7.00. After that, half a chicken is £7.00, while sides start at £2.50

Arancini Brothers, Old street/Dalston

London Dinners: arancini
Photo by Great British Chefs Team used under CC

Filling, wallet friendly Italian fodder in a no-nonsense old skool cafe. From humble beginnings in Kentish town to an arancini empire, new locations seem to be sprouting up every year, so be sure to check for one near you.

What’s the deal?

The stuffed, breaded and deep-fried risotto balls come in different deal boxes, including wraps, salads and stews. The kitchens are now 100% vegan, and there are bottles of decent hot sauce floating between tables. Check our guide for more of London’s best vegetarian and vegan restaurants.

Average/best price: From £3.50 for the basic 5 risotto balls to £8 for a bigger stew/salad box or burger with extras.

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 branches in Fitzrovia and Leadenhall too.

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: Bimbibap or Ramen £8.00

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