London is an absolute foodie heaven.
With top-class restaurants and bustling street food markets on every street, the meal options are endless!
Given the rising cost of living and how expensive London is as a city to visit and live in, I, like many others, can't be going out for a nice dinner every week.
However, the great part about a city like London is that you just don't need to!
If you are visiting London on a budget, then the good news is there are so many places where you can pick up a cheap bite to eat.
And best of all, you won’t feel like you have missed out on good quality food!
So with that in mind, here are what I believe to be the absolute best cheap eats in London.
Ranging from street food to affordable restaurants.
All coming in under £20 … BARGAIN!
Location: Camden Market
Must try: Pabellon
If you are looking for affordable street food in London, Camden is a great place to start! With nearly 1000 stalls and eateries, you won't struggle to find something that takes your fancy.
However, one of my all-time favourite stalls at Camden Market, and one that I don't see talked about often is Arepazo Bros!
If you haven't heard of Arepa before, it's basically a Venezuelan pitta-style wrap made from cornflour which comes with a variety of tasty fillings. They only have five different items on their menu, but I have tried and tested everything and can assure you that they are all incredible!
Their standout dish has to be their Pabellon Arepa which consists of the arepa wrap filled with shredded beef, cheese, black beans, avocado, plantain and salsa, and it is absolutely incredible!
All of their dishes come in at under £10, whilst every single option is gluten-free and there are options for veggies and vegans too.
Location: Brick Lane
Must try: Salt Beef Bagel
The infamous 24/7 bagel shop located in Brick Lane is an absolute must-try for anyone visiting London!
Founded in 1947, Beigel Bake is an insanely popular eatery specialising in, you guessed it, bagels! Being a 24-hour establishment, this place has its fair share of funny stories and if you are really looking for some late-night entertainment, you'll find it here at 2am!
Beigel Bake themselves turn out around 3000 bagels a day so if you are after a quick snack and hate queueing, it might not be the cheap eat for you but I promise you, they're worth the wait.
Their stand-out item has to be their salt beef bagel but for me, the cream cheese and salmon bagel for £3.90 is a real winner! I would also recommend picking up a few freshly baked bagels to take home with you while you are there because they really are that good!
Price: Under £10
Must try: Chips!
I am a big chip lover and it is a bold claim to say that Funky Chips are the best chips in London, but it is the truth!
They only sell potatoes, hotdogs and toppings and for that reason, they have quite literally perfected their craft! The owner is so lovely and encourages you to go off-menu and get whatever kind of flavour concoction you can muster up!
Just a few of the toppings you can choose to add include nacho cheese, halloumi, jalapenos, sausage and just about every kind of sauce you can imagine. They let you try a chip with some sauces before you can order so you can be sure you love it before it gets smothered on.
Prices vary depending on what you order but the portion sizes are HUGE and I struggle to finish just a small loaded chips myself so I couldn't even imagine attempting a large one!
Being located in Camden, it is easily accessible by bus and tube; for a more detailed rundown, check out my guide on how to get around London.
Location: Brick Lane
Must try: Big one with cheese!
If you are a fan of giant sausages, head straight to Brick Lane on a weekend and find Mr Sausage!
It's only a small stand but it has a huge grill and there is always a huge line of people waiting. This is definitely one of my top tips for visiting London, if you see a big queue, you need to join it as people know it’s something good!
Mr Sausage sells quite literally the biggest hotdogs you can find in London and they taste equally as amazing! These aren’t your classic street food hotdogs though, they are great quality sausages served in a freshly baked baguette, served with grilled onions, whatever sauce takes your fancy and crispy onions sprinkled on top.
The most expensive item on their menu is The Big One with Cheese which only comes in at £7 and their half sausage only costs £4, which is plenty big enough for a quick lunch.
You can find Mr Sausage at Brick Lane on weekends as well as Portobello Market on Saturdays, Greenwich on Fridays and every day at Ely’s Yard.
Price: Under £10
Chinatown is a foodie’s dream, full to the brim of both high-end Asian restaurants and affordable cheap eats! I couldn't narrow it down to just one pick in this awesome area, so you can have three of my favourites.
Location: Westfield, Covent Gardens, Kings Cross, Borough, London Bridge, Marylebone, Shoreditch, Soho, Spitalfields, Tottenham Court Road and Waterloo.
Must try: The Flat Iron Steak
If you are looking for a romantic London date night spot without the hefty price tag, Flat Iron is a great choice!
Flat Iron strives to provide good quality steak, that is accessible to all! Their signature steak costs only £13 and then you can pick and choose from their affordable additional sides to go with it. The bargains don't end there though as their cocktails and wine list have plenty of cheap options and everyone walks away with a free salted caramel ice cream!
What started as a small independent restaurant has now expanded rapidly thanks to its popularity and you can find Flat Iron restaurants scattered all over the city.
If you are a vegan this might not be the top pick for you as they have a tiny menu that is heavily based around their local meat produce, even though their aubergine dish is to die for!
While it's not the cheapest eat in London, if you want a sit-down meal, in a nice restaurant with amazing food and service, Flat Iron is the place to go.
Location: Camden, Hackney Brewery and Mikkeller Brewpub.
Must try: Halloumi Fries
Oli Babas claim to have invented halloumi fries and having tasted their amazing creation multiple times, I believe them!
The simplicity of their stall in Camden Market purely sells their halloumi fries which are fried halloumi sticks, covered in natural yoghurt and pomegranate molasses, and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, fresh mint and chilli flakes.
As you can tell by the photo, they look beautiful and the flavours complement each other perfectly! The founders of Oli Babas travelled the Middle East for six months for inspiration for their eateries and that definitely shines through.
This stall gets crazy busy in Camden Market so you might have to wait a little while to get your fries but they are well worth the wait. A portion of their Halloumi fries costs £8 which, while it seems a lot, it is located in London and the portion sizes are really good!
Location: Borough Market and Spitalfields Market
Must try: Apple crumble with torched meringue
Got a sweet tooth? Humble Crumble needs to be top of your list to try in London! The world’s first crumble bar has taken London by storm and you can not walk through either Borough or Spitalfields market without seeing heaps of people enjoying a pot (or taking a photo) of warm crumble!
Not only are their crumbles absolutely beautiful, but they taste amazing and are a great cheap treat on a day out!
Choose your base of their seasonal fruits, apple, rhubarb and strawberry or peaches in summer, pick your crumble, either their classic crumble, their vegan crumble or their gluten free granola crumble and finish off with either warm custard, frozen custard, blow-torched pink marshmallow or greek yoghurt.
Pick from either a small portion for £4 or a large for £6 however, we found the small portions are plenty big enough to get your sweet fix!
Location: Aldgate, Dalston, Holborn, Hoxton, Kings Cross, Spitalfields
Must try: Calabria
You will find heaps of pizza restaurants around London but none quite live up to Pizza Union. The first time I visited a Pizza Union, I was waiting for the catch as I literally could not believe how cheap the pizzas were!
The quality is equally as good as the price and while yes, you can find better quality pizza in London, I challenge you to find a great tasting full sized margherita for only £4.95 anywhere else!
The whole vibe itself in Pizza Union is really cool, it resembles a bustling food court where you queue up, place your order and get given a buzzer that once you are seated, goes off when your food is ready to collect.
The open kitchens mean you can watch the chefs busy at work and making your pizzas from scratch right in front of you. They also do one of the best gluten free pizzas I have ever tasted and also have the option of vegan mozzarella at no extra cost.
Don't forget to try one of their incredible £1.50 cannolis for dessert!
Location: Euston and Battersea
Price: Under £10
Must try: Roti Canai with Kari
Roti King brings authentic Malaysian cuisine to London at a super affordable price.
The original Roti King was located in a basement in Euston, with no real menu or signs, and was purely enjoyed as a hidden gem by locals that knew about it. Through word of mouth and some great online reviews, the restaurant became hugely popular and they have just opened up a brand new restaurant in Battersea Power Station.
Despite their crazy spike in popularity, Roti King has managed to keep their quality and low prices making it creep its way into my all-time favourite restaurants list!
They serve a mixture of Malaysian and Singaporean street food with their standout dishes obviously being their incredible rotis, nasi goreng and their seafood kari laska.
Both the restaurants are small and pretty busy so is best suited for a solo or couple dinner date!
Location: Borough Market and Shoreditch
Price: £8 - £16
Must try: Tagliarini
For freshly cooked authentic Italian pasta at an affordable price, Padella is the best option.
Their short but sweet menu of only antipasti and ten pasta dishes all come in at just over the £10 mark with their signature tagliarini with chilli, garlic and pangrattato only costing £8.50!
They have restaurants in both Shoreditch and one of London’s best food markets, Borough Market. Both of these eateries run on a no-booking system but have a handy QR queuing system where if they don't have any walk-in space, you can scan their QR code and join a virtual line. This allows you to explore some more of the area rather than standing around in a long line getting hungry and watching the chefs at work through the window.
Their cocktail menu lives up to the popularity of the food too, serving incredible Italian aperitivos like their Padella Martini, negronis and vermouth spritz.
Location: Borough Market
Price: £8.50 - £10.50
Must try: The Best One
The Black Pig is a Borough Market favourite and if you are hoping to try one of their famous pork sandwiches during the lunchtime rush, I hope you have some time to spare!
They strive to make the best sandwich in London and on their crusty baked ciabatta with a hefty portion of their slow roasted, free range pork shoulder, I think they might have achieved that.
By sourcing a lot of their fresh produce from other stalls within Borough Market such as their bread, cheeses and parma ham, you can be sure you are getting the best quality ingredients around.
While the product that shines through is their pork sandwiches, they also offer salad boxes and their veggie smoked scamorza sandwich with their apple slaw and famous honey truffle mayo!
Prices on their menu sit between £8.50 and £10.15 and are plenty filling enough to make for a great cheap lunch on the go at Borough Market.
Location: Waterloo, Oxford Circus, Bond Street, Kensington Arcade, Middlesex Street, Canary Wharf, Brent Cross, The O2, Bromley, with more opening soon!
Must try: Chicken Katsu Udon
Marugame has taken the affordable noodle game in London to a whole new level and you see new restaurants popping up all over the city every day.
Udon noodles are huge in Japan and while it isn't a new phenomenon in the UK, Marugame manages to bring all the flavour and authenticity for a fraction of the price.
Their udon dishes start at only £3.45 at the simplest form and you will struggle to find something on their menu above the £10 mark. With different rice and noodle dishes and plenty of sides, it's a great place to go with friends and share a few small plates.
The different Marugames vary in size around the city but they are very popular so if there's a long wait for a table, you can always opt for a take-out
Price: £8 lunch deal
Must try: PB+JJ
Fat Hippo is a legendary burger restaurant that now has a location in London! They specialise in top quality burgers, built to be dirty and messy! Think sauce and cheese dripping down as you eat them messy!
The menu has a huge selection of burgers, dirty fries and sides to choose from including tater tots, waffle fries and vegan trash browns.
Fat Hippo is a pretty affordable restaurant in itself but the deal that made it creep onto my best cheap eats list has to be their lunch time deal, available before 4pm on weekdays. For as little as £8 you can try one of their epic burgers and a portion of their hippo dusted fries
If you do miss their lunch time deal though, their evening ‘Hippo Hour’ between 5pm and 6pm, you can enjoy 2 courses for only £16. This deal includes their incredible PB+JJ burger (which is my favourite) double beef burger smothered in crunchy peanut burger, bacon jam and their chilli jello!
Must try: Their crispy rolls!
Despite the name, Crispy Rolls don't only sell their famous crispy sushi rolls, but that is what they are known for!
They describe themselves as “as if KFC and Itsu had a baby” and it's pretty fitting! Their crispy chicken is to die for and put inside a sushi roll, is even better!
Their crispy rolls cost about £3.50 per roll but they aren't your standard sushi rolls, they are actually about the size of a burrito! They also have a tasty katsu curry with rice on their menu which I am yet to try, but have heard nothing but good things.
It's a tiny establishment serving nothing but affordable take out dishes that you will struggle to find any kind of information or menu for online, it really is if you know, you know! But luckily here I am to tell you! You can find the Crispy Rolls shop just a short walk from Charing Cross station, right next to Gordon's Wine Bar.
Of course there are!
Living in London full time means I’m always discovering new and affordable places to eat in London.
And I plan to update this post accordingly as and when.
But in the meantime, over to you …
Have you tried anywhere on this list and loved it? (or hated it?)
Do you have any more top recommendations for cheap eats?
Just drop a comment below and let me know, I’d love to hear from you!
And for more help planning your visit around London, check out these guides I wrote: