London can be very expensive sometimes and even though street food is the most affordable and cheapest option to save money and you can find food stalls close to the main attractions, I would like to share with you my favourite budget restaurants for those occasions the weather is against you, so in case you need shelter or just sit down and relax after a long walk.
Let´s start with breakfast and finish with dinner, here you go:
Regency Cafe (Wensmister/ Closest tube station: Victoria or Pimlico)
I discovered this place thanks to my friend Miriam who came to London for a short visit with her family. They rented an apartment close to Victoria Station and she told me that every single morning they used to go around the corner of their flat where there was a very shabby place but always was full and people queuing outside. So I decided to give it a try and went there. As I said, the place is called Regency Cafe and they serve the best English breakfast in town.
What to expect? Expect to start the day with a strong breakfast: from English breakfast to bacon rolls and toast with butter. You will have enough energy to start your tour around the city. They also offer lunch so you know. Click here to see the full menu.
Mon – Friday: 7:00 – 14:30, 16:00 – 19:15
Sat: 7:00 – 12:00
The breakfast club (several locations but the most centric of them is in the Soho / Closest tube station (Soho branch): Oxford Circus or Tottenham Court Road)
Isn’t it a movie from the 80’s? Yes as well as the perfect place for a brunch. If you would like to have a look at their menu, click here. Avocado & Poached egg, Pancakes & bacon or bennies: eggs Benedict, eggs Florentine… (bennies are only served on weekends though) are my favourites. There are plenty of options to choose depending on what you fancy, from sweet to savoury, healthy to “dirty”…
Opening hours (Soho branch):
Mon – Sat: 8am – 10pm
Sun: 8am – 7pm
Reservations possible: Mon – Sat from 6pm
Please note that opening hours may vary depending on the branch. Check their website for more detailed information about the different opening times (click here).
Electric Diner (Notting Hill / Closest tube station: Notting Hill Gate)
Another alternative when thinking about brunch is Electric Diner. This option is only available during weekends where brunch is served between 12pm and 5pm.
It’s adjacent to one of the oldest cinemas in London, just in case you fancy to watch a movie after or before your stomach is full.
Mon – Wed: 8am – 12am
Thurs -Sat: 8am – 1am
Sun: 8am – 11pm
Please note that it can be very busy on a Saturday due to the weekly market.
Gerrard´s Corner (ChinaTown / Closest tube station: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square)
The Dim Sum there is finger licking good. The first time I tried Dim Sum was actually in there so perhaps that’s the reason why I love this place so much. It was there were I was introduced to Dim Sum and I can’t forget that. It’s always full during peak times but the queue moves fast. Be patient and you won’t regret it.
Click here to have a look at their Dim Sum menu.
Please bear in mind that Dim Sum is served until 5pm. This place is a great option for dinner as well but as I said they don’t serve Dim Sum after 5pm.
Opening hours: approximately from 11am to 12am
Shoryu Ramen (several locations but the most centric of them is just a 1 minute walk south of Piccadilly Circus station / Closest tube station: Piccadilly Circus)
This little representation of Japan is always full of Japanese, which is always a very good indication, better than TripAdvisor I would dare to say.
Shoryu Ramen launched in November 2012 and has been recommended in the Michelin Guide during 3 years on a row: 2014, 2015 and 2016. Smart and short menu, try their Signature Ramen, it’s delicious! Portions are huge so be wise when ordering. You have always time to order something else if you are still hungry.
Check their website out here, your mouth is going to start watering.
Mon – Sat: 11.15am – 12am
Sun & Bank Holidays: 11.15am – 10.30pm
Senzala Creperie (Closest tube station: Brixton)
Calling for savoury crêpes and galettes lovers: this is your place. I haven’t got a favourite crêpe yet, I have tried different ones and all of them are so yummy. This place never disappoints. You will be able to find Senzala creperie inside of the Brixton Village Market.
Click here to have a look at their menu.
Monday 11am – 5pm
Tuesday 10am – 10pm
Wednesday 10am – 10pm
Thursday 10am -10.30pm
Friday 10am – 11 pm
Saturday 9am – 11pm
Sunday 9am – 10pm
Marie´s Cafe (Closest tube station: Waterloo)
What can I say about Marie’s Cafe? It was love at first bite. This little cafe specialised in Thai dishes is a must to try place. Their curries, the pad thai… everything is so delicious! I can’t find the words to describe such a pleasure. Ok perhaps it is not nicely decorated, it doesn’t look as the place you will bring someone on a first date, however I’m one of the ones who thinks that taste is more important than decoration. Don’t be shy and give it a try!
Mon – Sat: 7am-3pm and 5pm – 10.30pm
Click here to find out what they have to offer.
Note: they don´t serve alcoholic drinks but you can bring your own bottle!
Tayyabs (Closest tube station: Whitechapel)
My little Indian paradise. It’s not centric but it is worth the effort and it’s not that far from Liverpool Street.
Their lamb chops and the dry meat are their star dishes. If you don’t like spicy food but still would like to try request them to be mild. My favourite side is Chana, spicy chickpeas, and don’t forget to add a naan of your choice: plain, garlic…
Click here to have a look at their website.
Mon – Sun: 12am – 11.30pm
Note: as well as Marie´s Cafe, they don´t serve alcoholic drinks but you can bring your own bottle too!
Franco Manca (several locations and perhaps the most centric one is located in Covent Garden / Closest tube station: Covent Garden)
Did you say pizza? Yes! If so let’s go to Franco Manca. My Italian friend Valentina introduced me to this place, meaning that had to be good and it really is. The number of restaurants has increased in a very short space of time, being a good sign too. Short menu but great quality ingredients and the best is its price.
Would you like to have a look at their menu? If so, click here.
Mon – Friday: 12am – 11pm
Sat: 11am – 11pm
Sun: 11am – 10.30pm
Now that I have shared my secret budget favourite places you can’t say that you couldn’t find a cheap place to eat in London. Enjoy your meal and see you around!