The allure of London’s West End extends beyond its breathtaking performances. As the curtain falls and the applause resonates, many theatre-goers find themselves hungry and ready to discuss the evening’s spectacle over a delicious meal. However, dining in London, especially in its most illustrious district, can often leave one’s wallet feeling light. But fret not, for London’s culinary scene is as diverse as its theatrical one, ensuring there’s a delightful, budget-friendly option for everyone. Here’s a guide to some of the cheapest places to eat in London when you’re in town for a West End show.
1. Franco Manca
Famed for its sourdough pizzas, Franco Manca offers top-notch Italian flavours without the hefty price tag. Located in various parts of London, including one near Covent Garden, it’s a perfect pit stop for those craving a slice post-show.
2. The Stockpot
This old-school Soho establishment is a treasure trove for those seeking traditional British fare on a budget. From bangers and mash to heartwarming soups, The Stockpot offers generous portions that won’t leave your pockets empty.
3. Maoz Vegetarian
For those with a preference for plant-based delights, Maoz Vegetarian on Old Compton Street offers delicious falafel wraps. With a generous salad bar, diners can customize their meals, ensuring a satisfying, budget-friendly meal.
With its roots in South African street food, Bunnychow in Soho serves up delicious and filling bread bowls packed with various fillings. Not only are the dishes unique and tasty, but they’re also friendly on the pocket.
Craving sushi or a steaming bowl of ramen? Taro, with branches in Soho and Covent Garden, offers an authentic Japanese dining experience that’s surprisingly affordable. The diverse menu ensures everyone leaves satiated without feeling a pinch.
While slightly pricier than some other options on this list, Dishoom offers incredible value for money. Inspired by the Irani cafés of Bombay, its Covent Garden and Carnaby branches are perfect for West End theatre-goers. Indulge in their signature dishes like Chicken Ruby or the legendary Bacon Naan Roll.
7. Herman ze German
For a quick and delicious bite, Herman ze German serves up mouthwatering German sausages. Located in various parts of London, including Soho, these juicy wursts paired with crispy fries won’t disappoint.
8. Flat Iron Square
Just a short walk from London Bridge, Flat Iron Square is a vibrant food market offering a plethora of cuisines. From delectable pastries to spicy curries, this bustling hub ensures that you’ll find something delicious without straining your budget.
Tips for Dining on a Budget in London:
- Eat Early or Late: Many restaurants offer early bird specials or reduced prices after peak dining hours. Consider adjusting your dining schedule to snag these deals.
- Lunchtime Specials: Often, establishments will have lunch deals that are significantly cheaper than their evening menus. If your show is a matinee, consider having a hearty lunch and a lighter, less expensive dinner.
- Street Food & Markets: London’s street food scene is burgeoning. Markets like Borough Market, Camden Market, and Brick Lane offer a plethora of choices that are both affordable and delicious.
- Water Matters: While tap water is perfectly drinkable in London, some restaurants charge exorbitantly for bottled water. Don’t hesitate to ask for tap water to keep your bill in check.
London’s culinary tapestry is as rich and diverse as its cultural offerings. Even in the upscale West End, one can find delightful eateries that won’t break the bank. From hearty British meals to exotic international fare, there’s a budget-friendly feast waiting around every corner, ensuring your theatre trip remains both scrumptious and affordable.
If you are staying in the East End, we have some Shoreditch and surrounding areas restaurant recommendations too.