12 Sep 2014

The Best Cheap Eats In London

Shockingly it's been almost a year since we moved out of our lovely garden flat in London’s Crouch End to embark on our round the world adventure. Even more surprising is that it took us almost three months, since returning to the UK, to visit our beloved capital. However, we recently enjoyed four fantastic days reacquainting ourselves with much missed friends and London’s best bits, without the stress of working there. As former adopted Londoners with seven years experience eating our way around the city we've compiled a list of our favourite cheap yet cool restaurants in London. 

cheap restaurant London Dotori

These are the places we visit time and time again for consistently tasty food at decent prices, well worth a look if you’re ever in their neighbourhood.

Dotori, Finsbury Park 

We miss this intimate, traditional Japanese and Korean restaurant sooo much! In our humble opinion they serve the best sushi and king prawn tempura, ever! It’s tiny so expect to be seated very close to other diners and thats if you can get a table. We advise you to book a day or two ahead as they are always full. They have an extensive menu of authentic Japanese and Korean dishes, from Bibimbap to countless sushi varieties. Each dish is made fresh to order and you can watch the very efficient and always smiling chef, in the mega tall hat at the back, make fine work of his sushi. We’ve been here so many times and never leave disappointed. 

cheap restaurants london dotori
"Delicious Dotori!"
Favourite Dish: Set Menu C with Prawn Tempura, Gyozas, Special Sushi, Sashimi and Chicken Teppanyaki Bento Box. Cost for two with drinks around £45.

La Divina, Angel

This small, independent family run Italian restaurant is always busy thanks to its friendly staff and affordable food. We love the Italian memorobelia overload, inside the walls are covered with retro movie posters and adverts, and there’s even a Vespa and half a red car on the wall. What makes La Divina really special for us is their pizza, made fresh with quality, Italian ingredients and never a soggy middle. They taste divine with their amazing chilli oil too! With pizza for under a tenner and a quirky decor, La Divina is a cool, cheap restaurant to begin your evening on Upper Street.

Favourite Dish: Pizza! A two course dinner for two with drinks costs around £45.

Busaba Eathai, Soho, Old Street and more!

Probably one of the first restaurants we ever visited in London and it still remains a favourite. The selective menu boasts fresh, flavoursome Thai noodle, curry and stir-fry dishes. We really like the casual dining concept here as diners are seated together on huge wooden benches but still with enough space for a private conversation. Busaba Eathai is a great option for lunch and dinner, service is always quick but expect to queue at peak times and busier branches.

Favourite dishes: Thai Beef, Pad Thai and Thai Calamari. Cost for two approx £50.

The eclectic mix of small independent restaurants make this covered market a unique, always buzzing venue for food, drinks and music. We don’t know all of the names in here but expect everything from burgers to jerk chicken, to French and Thai food. We definitely recommend The Joint who are serving up some mouthwatering shredded chicken sandwiches with probably the best beer battered onions rings in London! The village has gained in popularity over the past few years so expect to wait for your table. Many places are BYO too making it a cheap night out, and it’s open all year round just make sure you wrap up in Winter.

Favourite Dishes: Asian Shredded Chicken and beer Battered Onion Rings at the Joint. Most meals cost under a tenner.

Wahaca, Angel, Soho and more!

A colourful and quirky restaurant, co-founded by a former Masterchef, serving Mexican street food, tapas style! Everything is made fresh from seasonal, local produce and the menu is much more interesting than your standard Mexican restaurant. The food is delicious and great for sharing with friends, the cocktails are pretty special too. Wahaca is an ideal place to start a night out, especially as this London chain now has a branch in multiple postcodes.

Favourite Dishes: Chicken Tinga Tacos, Ceviche Tostados, Frijoles and Tamarind Margaritas. Expect to pay about £25 per head including drinks, leave feeling full and a little tipsy!

Meat Liquor, Covent Garden, Hoxton and W1

We first encountered Meat Liquor in their original form as the Meat Wagon at Glastonbury in 2010, suffering a typical hangover. Their delicious meat patties instantly resurrected us for another day of dancing and festival antics. On our return to reality we discovered that the Meat Wagon was a takeaway down in Peckham Rye. Today Meat Liquor is partly responsible for London’s “burger boom” and offers the best burgers in town! It’s by no means a healthy dinner, but the taste definitely justifies the calories and heart attack inducing saturated fats. 

cheap restaurants london meat liquor

Inside is a dark American diner, with high ceilings and walls of in-your-face graffiti and neon signs, with a loud rock and roll soundtrack. Staff are not surly or “too cool’ but attentive, friendly and fun. The downside is the queue which can sometimes take over an hour, however, the wait is justified as you’ll stay for a couple of hours. Meat Liquors philosophy is to “Come Hungry, Leave Drunk” and thats usually the case!

cheap restaurants london meat liquor
"Before the food coma."

Favourite Dishes: Bingo Wings, Chilli Cheese Fries, Dead Hippie Burger, Onion Rings, Slaw and the cocktail list. Price for two including drinks around £50. Not in London? Meat Liquor now has branches in Brighton and Leeds!

Rasa, Stoke Newington

Situated on Stoke Newington’s lovely Church Street with amazing food hailing from Kerala (our favourite Indian state), Rasa is our most recent and exciting cheap restaurant discoveries in London. There are two small, cosy branches with bright pink fronts on the same street, one vegetarian (Rasa N16) and one not (Rasa Travancore). Everything at Rasa is homemade to traditional Kerala village recipes, expect fresh and fragrantly spiced dishes that you’ve probably never tried before - each is mouthwateringly described on their menu too! It's very cheap to eat here with mains at Rasa N16 starting at just £4.50.

Favourite Dishes - Mysore Bonda, Kappayum Meenum Vevichathu and Malabar Paratha Bread. A two course meal for two (excl. drinks) is  around £30.

The Water Poet, Spitalfields

Its surprisingly hard to find a pub that consistently serves a great Sunday roast, we’ve had so many instances of fantastic one week and overcooked beef or forgotten orders the next. The Water Poet is one of our favourites and like most good pubs on a Sunday its extremely popular. Get there early to enjoy your favourite meat, as once they're gone they’re gone! A fantastic choose all year round due to its cosy interior, airy dining room and spacious beer garden. And after a filling lunch you can head to the nearby pubs and bars of Commercial Street or Shoreditch.

Favourites Dishes: Roast Beef Sunday Roast £16.50. 

North Londoners should head to The Old Dairy a beautiful pub in Finsbury Park that serves delicious British food all week and hearty Sunday roasts with a fabulous wine selection, desserts and board games too!

So there you have it, our favourite cheap restaurants in London that cover the world’s best cuisines! Every Londoner or visitor to London has their own set of favourite restaurants, which are yours?

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1 comment:

  1. After looking at these mouth-watering dishes I also feel like have something like this but do not want to spend a lot. So I was wondering if you could recommend good restaurant chains here in NYC.