We've all had those months when payday can't come quick enough.
If you don’t dare look at your bank balance, the good news is that the capital offers some of the best food in the country for the equivalent price of a couple of rummages down the back of the sofa.
We'll be regularly updating this list – which is in no particular order – as we find new favourites across the capital, so keep checking in to discover more pocket-pleasing treats near you.
1. Bacon naan at Dishoom - £6.50
A contender for the best breakfastin London, this is a bacon sandwich to be reckoned with. Dishoom’s Indian-style take on the hangover classic sports Ramsay of Carluke's bacon wrapped in a freshly baked naan and smothered with just the right amount of cream cheese and chilli chutney. You can also now upgrade to double bacon for a total of £9. Mornings really don’t get much better.
Various locations, dishoom.com
2. Abura soba at Kanada-Ya - £9
Kanada-Ya is one of the capital’s ramen stars – but all of their ramen dishes nudge just outside the £10 mark (though the tonkotsu ramen is £10.90, so it depends how strict you’re being). It’s not the end of the world, though, as the superlative noodles that sets Kanada-Ya’s ramen apart can also be tried in the aruba soba dish for £9. No soup, but the bowl of noodles comes topped with slices of seared chashu pork belly, bamboo shoots, an onsen egg, seaweed and more.
Available at N1, WC2, kanada-ya.com
3. Marinara at 50 Kalò di Ciro Salvo - £6.50
50 Kalo di Ciro Salvo opened in London in 2017 with surprisingly little fanfare for somewhere selling London’s best pizza. The Napoli-hailing restaurant serves up a super thin, soft base, perfectly charred underneath and boasting a gloriously authentically tomato sauce on top. The marinara adds just olive oil, garlic and oregano, while the margherita sports gooey mozzarella, flown in from Campania especially for this perfect pizza moment.
7 Northumberland Avenue, Westminster, WC2N 5BY, 50kalo.it
4. Classic Ahi Bowl at Island Poke - £8.85
Aloha from Island Poke, where healthy eating is the life of the luau. Poke, the Hawaii-hailing dish of diced raw fish, is having quite the moment in London, and Island Poke are here to party. House bowls include an ahi tuna shoyu bowl, served with sushi rice, pineapple chilli salsa, seaweed, crispy shallots and spring onion.
Various locations, islandpoke.co.uk
5. Polish burger at Mildreds - £9
Having been at the heart of London’s vegetarian scene since 1988, Mildreds has built up such a beloved following that you’ll still struggle to get a table immediately. When you do, pick up a Polish burger, featuring a beetroot and white bean patty with pickled red cabbage, gherkins and aioli in a brioche bun. You won't miss the meat for a minute.
W1, NW1, N1, E8, mildreds.co.uk
6. Classic bao at Bao - £5
The queues may have died down, but the reasons that brought them there haven’t. Bao boasts the fluffiest bun in London and they fill them with all sorts of delights, all for £5 and under. The Classic bao comes out on top with braised pork, pickled veg and crushed peanuts.
Two locations in W1, SE1, Saturday only at E8, baolondon.com
7. Ham croquetas at Barrafina - £7
This tapas bar from the Hart Brothers still floats the boat of anyone longing for the Costa Brava. The sturdy crust of Barrafina’s superlative croquetas gives way to an impossibly creamy inside, the ooze of which is punctuated with pieces of salty, robust jamon. Madrid is calling, but we're quite happy here thank you very much.
W1, two locations in WC2, N1, barrafina.co.uk
8. Steak hache, sauce au poivre et frites at Brasserie Zedel - £9.95
Brasserie Zédel is, quite simply, a bit of a marvel. An authentic Parisian style brasserie hidden under the hubbub of Piccadilly Circus, to walk into here is to be transported a few hundred miles under the channel. Even if the food isn't always up to par, it's all about atmosphere here. By all calculations, it should be expensive, but you can pick up a satisfying helping of steak haché with frites included for under £10 (yes, really).
20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED, brasseriezedel.com
9. Daily plate at Angelina - £9
Japanese-Italian fusion food – so wrong, or so right? If you’re sceptical, let the inventive cooking at Angelina convince you. The set menu at this Dalston restaurant is already a bargain, with five courses setting you back just £38. If you’re not in for the full-on feasting experience, however, you can still sample the intriguing food. The menu also features a daily changing plate, that is always priced at £9. This can range from a pasta dish, such as a kobucha pumpkin ravioli with sage and soy, to hibachi onglet with radicchio.
10. Pork al pastor tacos at Temper - £8
It’s waste not, want not at Temper, where barbecue maestro Neil Rankin is fully into the “fat means flavour” mantra with this dish. The hunks of pork that arrive to fill your tacos glisten with naughtiness, and the leftover fat from the restaurant's cooked meats has also been used to cook the tortillas too. Now that’s recycling.
W1, EC2, temperrestaurant.com
11. La Complete at La Petite Bretagne - £8.95
Pancakes aren’t just for Pancake Day – at La Petite Bretagne, they’re for life. The Hammersmith creperie buckwheat pancakes in both savoury and sweet form. Fillings range from salmon to feta, but for a taste of a traditional French crepe recipe, go for La Complete: melted emmental and slices of ham are scattered across the pancake, before an egg is cooked in the centre and cooked until the yolk is still runny.
5-7 Beadon Road, W6 0EAâ, lapetitebretagne.co.uk
12. Roti canai at Roti King - From £5
This Malaysian restaurant looks as unassuming as it can get – it’s in a basement down a side road with a sign at roughly ankle level) but down in Roti King is one of the best value dishes in London. The roti canai serves two slices of the restaurant’s famed fluffy, flaky roti with a bowl of flavourful curry dhall for £5. For an extra £1.50 you can swap dhall for curried chicken, fish or lamb. You can also find the dish at its Market Halls spin-offs Gopal's Corner, where it costs £6.95.
40 Doric Way, Euston, NW1 1LH, rotiking.info
13. Veg bun at Bun House - £2.50
This is the cheapest entry on the list, and is not one dish for £10, but four. Bun House has moved on from its Soho corner spot to bigger digs in Chinatown, but still sells these Cantonese buns for just £2.50 each. All fillings are great, but vegetarians (and vegans) can get very excited over the three mushroom, water chestnut and kow choi option.
14. Orechiette with n’duja, red onion and tomato at Bocca di Lupo - £8
Bocca di Lupo has been living la dolce vita for more than 10 years now, satisfying pre and post theatre appetites with perfect bowls of pasta and more. The menu changes almost daily, but you can almost always get a smaller portion of one of their pasta options for less than £10, including this orecchiette with spicy ‘nduja, red onion and tomato.
12 Archer Street, W1D 7BB, boccadilupo.com
15. Cheeseburger at Bleecker Burger - £6.75
Bleecker burgers are to the point – the cheeseburger consists simply of a juicy patty, a slathering of American cheese, a particularly indulgent burger sauce, lettuce and gloriously squishy bun. Other options include bacon or blue cheese, but not much more is needed. If you want to go all out, you can double up your patties for £9.50.
SW1, E1, EC4, W12, bleecker.co.uk
16. Two piece at Temple of Seitan - £6
Vegans need junk food too. Hackney favourites Temple of Seitan, who now have a second spot in Camden, provide some of the most fervently lauded fried chicken alternatives in the capital. Made of seitan (a meat substitute made of wheat) their two piece will set you back just £5 for two fillets of animal-product-free pleasure.
E9 and N1, templeofseitan.co.uk
17. Korean fried chicken wings at Flesh and Buns - £7.60
For such an alarmingly named restaurant, Flesh and Buns is a pretty pleasant place to spend an hour or two. Flash the flesh with a portion of Korean fried chicken wings, which come sticky, sweet and and sprinkled with sesame. At the Fitzrovia location, vegetarians can also pick up a treat in the form of a grilled sweet potato and pickled daikon filling for their famously fluffy steamed buns, which comes in at £9.
W1, WC2, fleshandbuns.com
18. Cauliflower Jaffa style at The Barbary - £7.50
Following on from the success of The Palomar, sibling restaurant The Barbary took the party from Jerusalem to the Barbary coast. All veggie dishes served over the counter of this open kitchen restaurant come in under £10, including this deep-fried cauliflower, topped with chopped tomato, lemon and coriander.
16 Neal's Yard, WC2H 9DP, thebarbary.co.uk
19. Dead Hippie at MeatLiquor - £9.50
Carnivores craving a protein punch should try Meat Liquor, where the Dead Hippie will perk you up in no time. You get a lot of bang for your burger with this one, which features two mustard-fried beef patties, Dead Hippie sauce, cheese, pickles and minced onions.
Various locations, meatliquor.com
20. On the bibimbap at On the Bab - From £9.20
Get on it at On the Bab, where this Korean restaurant serves up street food designed to be enjoyed with a drink or two. You can choose whether to have your meat or veg on buns, babs (rice), rolls or noodle soup, or you can go for their signature kimchi and fried egg-topped bibimbap rice dish for prices from £9.20.
EC1, W1, WC2, EC4, onthebab.com
21. Pabellon beef arepa at Arepa & Co - £8.75
If you don’t know your arepas from your cachapas, this restaurant has a thing or two to teach you. Arepa & Co specialises in the eponymous cornbread that is a staple in Venezuelan cooking. Crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, it’s served as a pocket, ripe for stuffing with a selection of fillings, including reina chicken thighs with avocado, or pabellon beef with black beans. If you love the beef, you can also try it as the pabellon crillollo, a traditional dish serving the shredded meat in a bowl of beans, rice, plantain and grated cheese.
E2, N1, arepaandco.com
22. Pumpkin tortelli with sage butter at Cafe Murano - £10
Both little siblings of Angela Hartnett’s Michelin-starred Murano specialise in Italian small plates – cicchetti – but also plentiful pasta. Dishes change often, but you can usually pick up a small bowl of said Italian staple for under £10, including this bowl of tortelli stuffed with pumpkin and cooked in sage butter.
SW1 and WC2, cafemurano.co.uk
23. Pasta and a glass of house wine at Sager + Wilde - £10
Sager + Wilde is best known for its wine, but its the food that'll keep you coming back. Good job, then, that the wine bar’s remarkably reasonable lunchtime/early dinner deal incorporates both. From 5-7pm all week and noon until 3pm from Tuesday to Friday, £10 will you get a bowl of seasonal pasta and either a glass of house wine or a negroni. The wine is worth much of your tenner alone, and the pasta is always beautifully cooked too.
250 Paradise Row, E2 9LE, sagerandwilde.comâ
24. House fry at Chick ‘n’ Sours - £9
A foodie take on the fried chicken shop, Chick n Sours’ Haggerston stop was so popular it now boasts locations in Seven Dials, Islington and Spitalfields. The house fry embraces both the deep south of America and the Asian flavours that pepper its menu, serving up a deep fried drumstick and thigh with pickled watermelon and a dusting of seaweed “crack” – known in most circles as nori.
WC2, E8, N1, E1, chicknsours.co.uk
25. Ginger ice cream at Jidori - £6
When the Standard’s Fay Maschler says that a pudding is her “Dessert of the Year”, you know you’re up for something pretty special. This Japanese restaurant largely sells yakitori meat and fish skewers, but make sure you have room for a sweet something – namely the ginger ice cream with miso caramel, that comes topped with sweet potato crisps and black sesame seeds.
15 Catherine Street, WC2B 5JZ, jidori.co.uk
26. Bone marrow on toast at St John Bread and Wine - £10
Fergus Henderson’s two long-standing St John restaurants have been named among the best in the world by international critics and you can often try one of his most iconic dishes at the Shoreditch location within budget. Scoops of bone marrow are served with freshly baked sourdough and a caper and parsley salad – simple but divine. The dish is also a permanent fixture on the Smithfields location, but the price of it there nudges up to £11.
94-96 Commercial Street, E1 6LZ, stjohnrestaurant.com
27. Brisket bun at Smokestak - From £5.50
This BBQ joint has gone from street cart to Shoreditch sensation in its time and this is arguably the dish that did it all. Propping up the butter-varnished bun of this immensely popular dish stacked slices of smoked, treacly beef brisket, garnished with pickled red chillies. This is one serious sandwich – and you can upgrade to an even bigger portion for an extra £3.50.
35 Sclater Street, E1 6LB, smokestak.co.uk
28. Any pizza at Pizza Union - Under £10
If your budget is about as thin as you like your pizzas, Pizza Union is here for you. Crispy based 12-inch Romana pizzas are served up at the Spitalfields spot for pocket-money prices. This ranges from a basil-topped margherita for staggeringly tiny £3.95 to a full on meat feast featuring chicken, beef and pepperoni for a fairly absurd £6.50.
25 Sandy's Row, E1 7HW, pizzaunion.com
29. Prawn wontons in chilli oil at Dumpling Shack - £7.90
Dumpling Shack are one of the stars of Old Spitalfields Market’s transformation into a street food haven. They serve up a variety of boiled and pan fried dumplings and noodles. For a fiery fix, pick up a bowl of prawn wontons served with lashings of peppery Sichuan chilli oil.
Old Spitalfields Market, Brushfield Street, E1 6BG, dumplingshack.co.uk
30. The Ari Gold at Patty & Bun - £8.75
London has some seriously good burger game, so where do you start? A very good, and very affordable, idea is to start with Patty & Bun, whose growing repertoire of low key, high quality burger bars serve the glistening Ari Gold, which comes dripping with cheese and P&B’s smokey house mayo.
Various locations, pattyandbun.co.uk
31. Vegan doner at What the Pitta - £7.95
Fast food doesn’t have to be all about chowing down on a hunk of animal, as vegan kebab specialist What the Pitta is proving. Spiced soya pieces are topped with homemade hummus, soya yoghurt tzatziki and of course, chilli sauce, before getting wrapped up in freshly baked bread with salad.
E1, NW1, CR0, whatthepitta.com
32.Ceviche Peruano at Andina - £9.50
Based on the picanterias of the Peruvian Andes, a course of Peru’s national dish is practically obligatory at Andina. This ceviche includes hunks of seabass cured in a citrus marinade and served with sweet potato, red onion, Andean corn and cancha corn nuts. Yes, it's a sharing dish, so you’ll need a couple of other bits, but for Andina’s fabulously fresh flavours and quality ingredients, it is a tenner well spent.
1 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ, cevichefamily.com
33. Northern Thai style duck laab at Smoking Goat - £8
When the menu in a Thai grill lists a dish as spicy, it’s a good idea to believe it. Spend your pounds on something that packs a punch at Smoking Goat, where the northern-style duck laab is laced with sprinklings of prik kee noo suan, which translates as “mouse s*** chilli”. Fortunately it doesn't taste that way. It’s a salad, believe it or not, but also all flavour.
64 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ, smokinggoatbar.com
34. Classic banh mi at Keu - £8.25
Banh mi shouldn’t work, but it does. Specialising in the French-Vietnamese fusion food, sandwich bar Keu stuffs fluffy white baguettes with a variety of largely meaty fillings spiced with Asian flavours. Carnivores should make a beeline for the classic, which is stuffed with mortadella sausage, chicken liver pate, spicy pork belly, ham terrine and pork floss.
EC2, EC1, W1, thevietnamesekitchen.co.uk
35. Tacos at Club Mexicana - one for £4, three for £10
One of the best in the vegan business is Club Mexicana, which cooks up seriously good Mexican food without a meat or dairy product in sight. Any one of Club Mexicana’s tacos could be on this list, so it’s a good job you can get three for £10. Get your chops round their surprisingly meaty jackfruit tacos and marvel at the baja tofish manages to be tofu and not fish. Find them at Dinerama in Shoreditch, in Kerb's Seven Dials Market, or at all-vegan pub The Spread Eagle in Homerton.
E9, EC2, clubmexicana.com
36. Salt beef bagel at Beigel Bake - £4.30
The 24 hour bagel shops of Brick Lane are veritable legend among foodies and night owls alike, providing sustenance without nonsense and at a very affordable price. Believe it or not, this £4.30 bagel is the most expensive on the menu but the combination of unctuous meat, pickles and American mustard in a fluffy, yielding bagel is worth every penny. Beigel Shop next door, the one with the orange sign, is absolutely just as good and often has shorter queues.
159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB
37. Margherita at Pizza Pilgrims - £7.50
If you don’t eat your crusts, you’re sorely missing out at Pizza Pilgrims. The edges of the pizza pie here are chewy, charred and slightly salty, and might just be the best bit. In the middle, show them off with a simple but satisfying margherita topping, featuring fior di latte mozzarella and proper chunks of basil.
Various locations, pizzapilgrims.co.uk
38. Crab kari at Hoppers - £9.50
If naan is a non-negotiable order with your curry, allow Hoppers to broaden your horizons. The Sri Lankan restaurant (which also boasts a spot in Soho) champions the hopper, a bowl-shaped south Asian pancake, to mop up your meal. The accompaniment, which is often served with a runny egg yolk at its centre, is a superb friend to the even better curries (or karis). The best of which is the richly flavoured crab kari, which invites you to get messy by cracking open its shell-on meat. The karis are as cheap as £8 for a vegetarian, and can be enjoyed with a £2 roti if you’re not feeling forking out for the £4 hopper (we’d recommend it).
Two locations in W1, hopperslondon.com
39. Persian pistachio eclair at Maitre Choux - £5.20
If you find yourself battling a sugar craving, you could do much worse than diving into Maitre Choux. In this edition of his famed éclairs, Michelin-starred pastry chef Joakim Prat fills his superlative choux with pistachio mousseline cream, and tops it with candied pistachios.
SW7, two locations in W1, SW3, E14, maitrechoux.com
40. Chilli chicken ramen at Tonkotsu - £10
While it’s tempting to have ramen every day, a big bowl of noodle soup is never needed more than when a tad under the weather. A crystal clear soup (quite different to the eponymous pork broth it also sells) this ramen is simultaneously hearty, fiery and refreshing – the ultimate winter warmer. It’s one of the cheapest options on the menu, but it’s also one of their best.
Various locations, tonkotsu.co.uk
41. Arroz negro at Camino - £6.75
It might not be a full meal but diving into the arroz negro at Camino tapas bar is a pretty good way to start. The sharing dish is a signature one at the mini-chain and consists of a silky bowl of cuttlefish-dotted rice, blackened with squid ink and topped with aioli.
EC2, EC3, N1, SE1, camino.uk.com
42. Ice cream at Ruby Violet - £3 per scoop
For sweet something, Ruby Violet has some very cool offerings. The ice cream parlour serves up handmade, small-batch ice creams and sorbets, rotating through myriad wonderful and occasionally weird flavours. Alongside the likes of chocolate and strawberry, there are scoops of horseradish, beetroot, and there's even a gin and tonic sorbet that's 14.6 per cent ABV.
NW5, N1C, rubyviolet.co.uk
43. Jamon and smoked San Simon croquettes at Caravan - £7.50
Caravan can do a lot of things and do them very well, from breakfast to supper-time snacking. As well being a popular coffee roasters (its King’s Cross site has an on-site roastery), they also serve an delectable selection of small dishes. Veggies are well represented, but be sure to pick up a plate of San Simon cheese and jamon croquettes, served with saffron aioli.
Various locations, caravanrestaurants.co.uk
44. Any pie at Piebury Corner - Under £10
When it comes to humble restaurant beginnings, selling pies in your front garden has to be one of the most charming. This pun-tastic restaurant started as a match day stall serving pies to Arsenal fans, before two restaurants made Piebury Corner’s dishes a permanent fixture. A pie on its own will cost you no more than £7, with flavours ranging from minced beef and onion to jerk chicken in porter gravy, and vegan and gluten free options available too.
N1, N7, pieburycorner.com
45. Lords bowl at Lords of Poke - £8.50
The selection of street food vendors at Camden Market seems to get better by the day. Newcomer Lords of Poke is offering a little light relief among all the naughty treats on offer in the form of its raw-ingredient-packed poke. Its signature dish, the Lords Bowl tops rice with sustainably caught spicy Korean tuna, kimchi, pineapple, seaweed, edamame, pickled ginger, sesame carrot and kimchi cucumbers. You can also find them at their Paddington Central flagship.
NW1, W2, lordsofpoke.com
46. Marinara at L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele - £9
If a pizza is good enough for Napoli, it’s good enough for you. The pizza at L’Antica Pizzeria Michele is not just “good enough” back home – the original restaurant is a celebrated institution in its native Italy and has even been described as "the best pizzeria in the world" (Eat, Pray, Love had something to do with that). In its London outpost, you can pick up a large marinara for £7.90. Perfect simplicity.
199 Baker Street, NW1 6UY, anticapizzeriadamichele.co.uk
47. Vegan steak and ale pie at Young Vegans - £3.50
Providing a very contemporary take on a London cheap eats classic, Young Vegans makes its pie and mash dishes with – you guessed it – not an animal product in sight. Its Camden Market location is its first in bricks-and-mortar, and here you’ll find the best-selling seitan and ale pie, swapping steak for the wheat-based vegan favourite.
Camden Market, 60 Camden Lock Place, NW1 8AF, youngvegans.co.uk
48. Small skillet at Bird - £7
American cuisine may not be acclaimed for its refinement, but it can certainly hit the spot on a budget. Enamoured with a deep south favourite, Bird opened in London to become the first dedicated fried chicken and waffles house in the capital. For £7, you can pick up a small skillet of its signature fried chicken, including a drumstick, thigh and two wings – served either glazed (Korean style or buffalo) or with a sauce of your choice.
E20, SW9, E14, N7, NW1, birdrestaurants.com
49. Xiao long bao at Dumplings Legend - £7.50
Chinatown is one of the capital’s most fruitful areas for cheap food. Dumplings Legend is one of the area’s most popular spots for a dim sum lunch, and it offers a whole basket of xiao long bao for well within budget. These much-lauded dumplings are filled with minced pork and delicious brothy soup that leaks out on bite – eight delicious pieces cost just £7.50.
15-16 Gerrard Street, W1D 6JE
50. Vegan margherita at Purezza - £8.95
We know there's a lot of pizza on this list, but this one is a little bit different. The original restaurant of Brighton-hailing Purezza became the UK’s first totally vegan pizzeria back in 2015. Now Londoners can dig into their animal-free pizza pies, including a margherita on top of which you’ll find vegan mozzarella, made in-house by fermenting Italian brown rice milk.
43 Parkway, NW1 7PN, purezza.co.uk
51. Fried chicken at Good Friend Chicken - £6.50
This is fried chicken, but not as the Colonel knows it. Chinatown favourite Good Friend Chicken takes the Taiwanese approach to the fast food favourite: it marinades its chicken breast, slices it into super thin schnitzel-style steaks, flattens and tosses it in three flours before frying. The result is super crispy chicken, which is then dusted with your choice of flavoured powder, which ranges from plum to seaweed.
14 Little Newport Street, WC2H 7JJ
52. Halloumi fries at Oli Baba’s - £6
A veritable legend of London’s street food scene, Oli Baba’s halloumi fries are a cheese-lovers’ particularly dirty dream. Sticks of halloumi are deep fried, stacked up generously, and drizzled with pomegranate molasses, za’atar yoghurt and chilli honey and sprinkled with sumac, mint and pomegranate seeds. The even better news? They serve them 364 days a year at Camden Market.
15, KERB Camden Market, West Yard, Camden Lock Place, NW1 8AF, olibabas.com
53. Killer Marshmallow Cone at Chin Chin Labs - £4.95
Still hungry? There’s always room for dessert at Chin Chin, where scooping ice cream gets scientific. This gelato parlour concocts its frozen desserts using a liquid nitro process, producing atypical flavours ranging from burnt butter caramel to tonka bean. The Killer Marshmallow Cone comes stuffed with homemade marshmallow fluff, which is then blowtorched and topped with your choice of ice cream.
Available at Camden location, chinchinicecream.com
54. Pork belly sandwich at Roast To Go - £7.50
There’s nothing like a big old sandwich for cheap and cheerful satiation. Big is the operative word at Roast To Go, the Borough Market side gig of Sunday lunch specialist Roast, where sarnies come packed with your pick of meat. A particularly eye-widening affair is the roast pork belly, which sees meat topped with Bramley apple sauce and crackling inside a sourdough roll.
Borough Market, Borough High Street, SE1 1TL, roast-restaurant.com
55. Pici cacio e pepe at Padella - £6.50
Since opening in 2016, Padella has garnered fame and acclaim for serving up pretty perfect pasta at piccolo prices. Bowls of pasta here start at just £5 (with a bowl of gnocchi available for £4), and they’re among some of the best in the capital, made fresh on site everyday. The pici cacio e pepe comes in at £6.50, is made with little more that pasta, parmesan and pepper, and is one of the restaurant’s star dishes – but as you can expect, you'll have to queue to get anywhere near it.
6 Southwark Street, SE1 1TQ, padella.co
56. Braised pork cheeks at Lobos - £8.95
It’s all about the pork at tapas restaurant Lobos, where you’ll find some of the best dishes on the extensive “meat” section of the menu. While most of the dishes on this section nudge over a tenner, you can get stuck into a dish of braised pork cheeks, mash and horseradish for just £8.95. As its offered tapas style, you might need another couple of bits to go with it – but an addition of very good pan con tomate for £3.50 is worth it.
Served at SE1 location, lobostapas.co.uk
57. Cabbie’s Breakfast at The Breakfast Club - £7.50
When it comes to simple pleasures, a good fry up has few rivals in the food world. The Breakfast Club know the power of a bountiful breakfast is strong, so they serve it until 5pm everyday. Most dishes here are under £10, all creative and generously portioned, but sometimes you can’t beat a good bacon, egg, sausage, beans, chips and toast affair. Strictly no substitutions, but what more could you want for £7.50?
Various locations, thebreakfastclubcafes.com
58. Kid goat kofta wrap at Elpiniki - £7.75
Have you ever had goat? No? Then you’re missing out. This eastern Mediterranean staple continues to be much underused in western Europe, but is succulent and flavourful in the right hands. Borough Market’s Elpiniki (formerly known as Gourmet Goat) has taken it onto itself to prove so to Londoners, while promoting sustainable produce with it. Get into goat with the free-range kid goat kofta, which comes with tzatziki and chilli salsa, all wrapped in a flatbread from E5 Bakehouse.
Borough Market, Rochester Walk, SE1 9AF, gourmetgoat.co.uk
59. Grilled cheese sandwich at Kappacasein - £7
At this Borough Market outlet, they don’t just grill the cheese, but make it themselves on site. Kappacasein is actually a dairy, where owner William Oglethorpe produces an Ogleshield cheese which boasts the ideal melt for a toastie. It’s then mixed with Montgomery cheddar, leeks, garlic and onion, all set up to ooze between two slices of Poilâne.
Borough Market, 1 Stoney Street, SE1 9AA, kappacasein.com
60. Beef barbacoa tacos at Santo Remedio - £7.50
Shoreditch-originating Santo Remedio moved house in 2017 to a new spot on Tooley Street. Fans of the Mexican restaurant will find that little has changed, including the beef barbacoa tacos’ spot on the menu. Succulent and earthy, the barbecued meat is served with pasilla chilli and topped with striking slices of watermelon radish (which gets its name from its bright pink centre), two at a time. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can get your guac and tortillas with an authentic sprinkle of grasshoppers, also priced at £7.50.
152 Tooley Street, SE1 2TU, santoremedio.co.u
61. Tacos al pastor at El Pastor - £6.75
El Pastor comes from restaurateurs Sam and Eddie Hart (Barrafina, Quo Vadis et al), and its signature dish is so good, the restaurant is named after it. The shepherd’s style dish is made with 24 hour marinated pork, cooked like shawarma on a rotating skewer, and served in twos, with caramelised pineapple and guacamole.
SE1, N1, tacoselpastor.co.uk
62. Moong dal dosa at Horn OK Please - £7.50
Vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters alike need to get themselves to a Horn OK Please stall on the double. The meat-free Indian street food sensation serves up seriously satisfying fare, including this superlative dosa dish. A crisp but yielding moong bean dosa is freshly cooked to order, and then wrapped around a spiced potato filling. It's served alongside a delicious chana chaat, a spiced chickpea salad topped with yoghurt and sprinklings of pomegranate and sev. The dish can also easily be made vegan on request.
Two locations in SE1, @Horn_Please
63. Chorizo roll at Brindisa Chorizo Grill - £4.95
A veritable legend of London street food, this is one hot hot dog. Spanish food merchant and tapas maestro Brindisa keeps things simple and lets the sausage do the talking. Its Borough location features a dedicated chorizo grill, which sizzles its own excellent version of the Spanish signature meat, and serves it in a roll with piquillo pepper and rocket. A single is just £4.95, but you can get double sausage and peppers for just £1 more.
Floral Hall, Borough Market, Stoney Street, SE1 9AF, brindisa.com
64. Seven Nation Salami at Crust Bros - £8.90
This wood-fired pizza spot has gone from street food sensation to a restaurant of its own on Waterloo Road. Go rock and roll with the Seven Nation Salami, topped with mozzarella, salami and parmesan. Crust Bros also runs a £6 pizza deal, where the topping changes daily and is revealed on the restaurant’s Instagram.
Two locations in SE1, crustbros.co.uk
65. The Dip & Flip Burger at Dip & Flip - £9.95
The multi-talented Dip & Flip now have five locations in south London, serving French dip sandwiches (roasted meat dipped in gravy and stuffed in a sub) and burgers. The ultimate dish here combines both: a cheeseburger comes topped with a choice of gravy dipped meat and all the trimmings, sandwiched in a toasted brioche bun.
SW9, SW11, SW19, SW17, dipandflip.co.uk
66. Steak frites at The Beefsteaks - £8
Can steak get any cheaper than £10? It can indeed, as street market master The Beefsteaks is on a mission to “democratise steak” with its £8 steak and frites offering. Juicy strips of grass fed beef are served over triple cooked chips at their numerous docking points – find them at KERB West India Quay or Maltby Street Market, depending on the day.
Various locations, @thebeefsteaks
67. Chicken katsu curry, Japanese Canteen - From £6.95
Fried chicken? Or curry? The Japanese have got it absolutely right when they answer “both”. The chicken katsu curry continues to charm Londoners who want all of the comfort food, and Japanese Canteen serves it for just within budget. The rice in this donburi dish comes topped with crunchy fried chicken breast, mushrooms and carrots, slathered in curry sauce and sprinkled with zingy house pickles.
Various locations, thejapanesecanteen.co.uk
68. Sen Chan Pad Thai at Pad + Sen - £8.95
Be honest, do you have to resist the urge to order pad thai every time you step into a Thai restaurant? Upgrade your usual order at Pad + Sen’s Southbank street food stall, where the signature is Sen Chan Pad Thai. Rice noodles are wok fried with egg, tofu, beansprouts, pickled radish and garlic chives which Pad + Sen get delivered fresh from Thailand each week. It’s then topped with crab meat and strips of mango.
Southbank Centre Food Market, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX, padandsen.com
69. Lamb offal flatbread at Black Axe Mangal - £8.50
Black Axe Mangal has quite the USP. This restaurant dedicates itself to two things: cooking Turkish-influenced food in a traditional mangal oven and the delights of heavy metal music, which can frequently be heard over the sound system. Regardless of your musical tastes, you should keep your eye out for the offal flatbread; a spicy, citrusy herby ode to nose-to-tail eating, this dish is so good it’s the only one to be on the menu everyday.
156 Canonbury Road, Highbury, N1 2UP, blackaxemangal.com
70. Ribs at Street Pig BBQ - £8
Street Pig are firing up the barbie at the London’s street food markets, and it’s smoking. The babyback ribs here are Applewood smoked, slow cooked and glazed over coals with a drenching of Street Pig’s BBQ sauce. They then come served up with fresh potato salad and pickled red cabbage slaw. If that’s not enough, you can upgrade to a large portion for another £2.
SE1, E8, @streetpigbbq
71. Pork souvlaki at The Athenian - £6
Succulent nuggets of pork are placed into a grilled flatbread at this Greek street food restaurant, and topped with tomato, red onion and herbs. Tzatziki is your classic souvlaki sauce of choice, but The Athenian mix it up with their must-try signature mustard and honey dressing, made with a secret herb blend. If you feel the need for cheese, you can add slices of halloumi for an extra £1.40.
W12, SE1, SW17, E1, SW1, HA9, E14, theathenian.co.uk
72. Half chicken at Chicken Shop - £10
Hiding behind the distinctly pedestrian name of this chicken joint is all the whizz and know-how of the Soho House group. The chicken here isn’t out of a deep fryer, but off the rotisserie, and comes moist on the inside and charred and crisp on the outside. Protein lovers can get a half chicken for £10, or mix it up with a quarter chicken and a side, and still come in under budget.
Various locations, chickenshop.com
73. Curly Whirly brownie at Konditor - £3.40
Saved room for pudding? If you’ve picked one of the cheaper meals on this list, then you’ve likely got spare change for it too. Cake connoisseur Konditor is the purveyor of some of the best brownies in the capital, including a Curly Whirly version that swirls cheesecake mix through chocolate. You can pick up one for £2.95, or four for £10.
Various locations, konditorandcook.com
74. Carnitas Daddy D burrito at Daddy Donkey - £7
It’s all about lunchtime on Leather Lane, where a procession of street food stalls make plentiful pickings. A graduate who has gone from stall to shop on the very same street is Daddy Donkey, a burrito doyenne whose “kick-ass” Mexican wraps often court queues out the door. Go for the black bean-filled Daddy D burrito with hand pulled carnitas, that have been slow-cooked in coca cola and guajillo chilli. Guac is extra, but still within your budget.
50b Leather Lane, EC1N 7TP, daddydonkey.co.uk
75. Käsespätzle at Fischer’s - £6
Fischer’s, a Viennese Cafe, mingles Mittel-European sophistication with casual cosiness. Prices for most dishes are outside of budget, but you can get yourself a seriously hearty starter of käsespätzle, the Austrian version of mac and cheese, for just £6, or £7.75 with bacon. Alternatively, £8.75 will get three brötchen – or rye sourdough open sandwiches – topped with the likes of beetroot and herring, or smoked salmon with lemon creme fraiche.
50 Marylebone High Street, W1U 5HN, fischers.co.uk
76. Lamb shawarma pita at Berber & Q Shawarma bar - £9.50
Let’s get one thing straight: Berber & Q knows its way around a hunk of lamb. This Middle Eastern-inspired barbecue joint opened an Exmouth Market location dedicated to shawarma (kebabs, basically) last year, wrapping well-fired filling in grilled pita. The lamb version comes with harissa and sumac onions, while vegetarians are extremely well catered for with the cauliflower shawarma, which comes with tahini and pomegranate seeds.
46 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QE, shawarmabar.co.uk
77. Confit potatoes at The Quality Chop House - £5.50
First things first, this is definitely a side dish. It is not a meal by any stretch, but it’s so good we had to keep it in. The Quality Chop House’s dedication to the meatier things in life is well-documented, but you also need to know about their confit potatoes. Super thin slices of potato end up buttery soft inside their well-fried coating, angularly shaped for maximum crunch. Do not forget these off your order – or swing by at a rare quiet moment and ask for these with a glass of red wine. You'll be in and out in no time, but it'll be heavenly.
88-94 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3EA, thequalitychophouse.com
78. Chicarrones at Morito - £8.50
It may be the little sister of Exmouth Market legend Moro, but Morito can hold its own with the big kids. Cretan chef Marianna Leivaditaki is at the helm, creating beautiful dishes packed with aromatic herbs and perfectly pitched spices for her mezze menu. Almost all dishes here come in under £10, but you might need a couple. Find a particular favourite in the succulent chicarrones, a dish of slow roasted pork belly with lemon and cumin.
Served at EC1 location, morito.co.uk
79. Pad thai at KIN - From £9
You’re sure to be well fed at this family run restaurant, where Asian street food comes big in flavour and in portion. Pick up a pad thai here for £9 with tofu, or £9.50 with prawns or chicken, and tuck into a seriously satisfying mound of rice noodles with all the trimmings. The pad thai is picante, but spice maniacs should head straight for the pad kee mao, a drunken noodles-style dish served with aubergines, mushroom and an eye-watering amount of chilli. Both of these can be made both vegetarian and vegan.
88 Leather Lane, EC1N 7TT, kinstreetfood.com
80. El Presidente burrito at Benito’s Hat - £8.90
This isn’t just the governor of burritos, this is El Presidente. Burrito and margarita enthusiasts Benito’s Hat packs this wrap with not one meat, but three – pork, chicken and beef – along with guac, salad, beans and rice. The whole bundle weighs in at a whopping half a kilo – for £8.90, this is a proper belt buster.
Various locations, benitos-hat.com
81. Fish bites and chips at Golden Union - £9.50
Really, Golden Union is all about the stonkingly good chips, but you can get your fish fix for under a tenner too. If you can’t face an entire fish, then nibble on the line with the fish bites, a sizeable portion of deep fried cod and haddock goujons (if you’re a batter fiend, you get more for your money with this dish).
38 Poland Street, Soho, W1F 7LY, goldenunion.co.uk
82. Ebi bites at Sticks’n’Sushi - £8
This upmarket Japanese restaurant isn’t the cheapest eat in town by a long shot but, for a light snack, it’s a superb way to blow your budget. Individual sushi pieces cost £2-£4 per bite, and you can also get a six-piece plate of the delectable Ebi bites – crunchy bites of tempura shrimp served with a zingy combination of lime, chilli, coriander and miso aioli – for £8. Those with meatier cravings can also pick up individual yakitori “sticks” for a similar price to the sushi.
Various locations, sticksnsushi.co.uk
83. Reuben sandwich at Monty’s Deli - £9.50
If you like your sandwiches to have fillings measurable by the inch, you’ve come to the right place. Fellow Old Spitalfields Market resident Monty’s Deli has brought its sarnie-stuffing prowess down from Hoxton – and yes, that means the Reuben has come for the ride. Choose between pastrami and salt beef, and watched slices come stacked a dozen high in between two pieces of barely coping bread, with kraut, mustard, cheese and Russian dressing.
WC2, E1, SW1, montys-deli.com
84. Crab mac and cheese at Claw - £9
Sustainable fishing fan Claw serves up cracking crab all over its menu, but a hard day’s shopping calls for that crab to come swimming in mac and cheese. Ever the ones to champion locality, Claw uses London’s hailing cheese from both Bermondsey Raclette and Ogleshield cheese. The dishes here are technically to share, but this sizeable portion can hold its own for greedy sorts.
85. Le bacon butty with fried duck egg at Le Swine - £6
On the more difficult mornings in life, you just can’t beat a bacon sandwich – and Le Swine is coming to the rescue. Served out of a old sixties ambulance parked up on Bishop’s Square, Le Swine cooks up “old fashioned” middle bacon with yolk-heavy duck eggs, and serves the two together in a toasted milk bun. Condiments are king here, with the bun arriving slathered in bacon butter and with your choice of Le Swine’s homemade ketchups.
Lamb's Street, E1 6ED, leswine.co.uk
86. Senor Ceviche at Senor Ceviche - £9.50
If you’ve made it to the end of your retail mission, you could do worse than celebrating at Señor Ceviche. Pick up a Pisco cocktail at this Peruvian restaurant, and sip it alongside a snack of Señor Ceviche’s eponymous dish. Both seabass and octopus are cured in aji amarillo tiger’s milk, and served with sweet potato purée, avocado, red onion and crispy squid.
Kingly Court, W1B 5PW, senor-ceviche.com
87. Truffle pizza at Made of Dough - From £9
We bet you weren’t expecting to see truffle on a list of budget food were you? What’s even better about this indulgent serving is that its on top of a Made of Dough pizza. The salty sourdough base is topped with portobello mushrooms, both fior di latte mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and a good glug of white alba truffle oil. This is a white-based pizza of dreams.
SE15, W1, SW6, madeofdough.co.uk
88. Keralan fried chicken at Kricket - From £8.50
One of the biggest success stories of Brixton’s street food scene, Kricket is now a doyenne of both Soho and White City. One of the must-trys at all sites is a serving of Keralan-style fried chicken (or KFC, of course) which is covered in a batter with a hint of spiced sourness, and served with pickled mooli and curry leaf mayonnaise.
SW9, W12, W1, kricket.co.uk
89. Jerk chicken wrap at Mama’s Jerk - £8
Mama knows her jerk at this street food stall. Here you'll find 24-hour marinated chicken sizzled right in front of you, and serves it up in sizeable portions in a roti wrap with salad, Mama's mango mayo and as much hot pepper pickle as you can handle.
SE8, SE13, SW9 , mamasjerk.com
90. Pork belly bun at Yum Bun - £4.50
Swap your sesame seed brioche for a steamed rice bun at bao experts Yum Bun. A graduate of Hackney’s Broadway market, this street food stall serves fabulously fluffy buns filled with an array of ingredients, from crispy tofu to fried chicken. Top of the bill, however, is the filling of slow-roasted pork belly which comes with a fresh and sweet mixture of cucumber, spring onions and hoisin sauce. Buns are £4.50 each or two for £8.50.
E1, E14, WC2, EC2, SE16, yumbun.com
91. Spaniard crepe at Senzala - £9.80
This restaurant is already a Franco-Brazilian mash-up, so what’s the harm in inviting a Spaniard to the party? The menu of crepes and galettes at this small Brixton Market cafe is extensive, filling them with almost everything you can think of. This Iberian option puts a kick into your breakfast with spicy chorizo sausage and scrambled eggs topped with fresh spinach and red onion.
42 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PS, senzalacreperie.co.uk
92. Jerk wings at Rum Kitchen - £6.50
Rum Kitchen love jerk kitchen almost as much as they love rum. This Caribbean restaurant serves up jerk in all the ways, including this starter-sized dish of chicken wings smothered in its signature jerk barbecue sauce. If you to turn the spice levels up to 11, choose the "Inferno Hot" version – go on, we dare you.
W1, W11, SW9, therumkitchen.com
93. Katsu wrap at Katsu Wrap - £4
While there are no prizes for guessing what Katsu Wrap sells, your pocket will be celebrating a big win when you get there. Tired of curry with your katsu? This street food stall does its Japanese fried chicken with a difference. Slices of super crunchy chicken are served with a veritable mountain of salad, topped with hummus and chilli oil, and wrapped in a tortilla. Admittedly there are about five different cuisines in your lunch, but when it tastes good, is roughly the size of your forearm and only costs £4, we’re not complaining.
E8, E1, katsuwrap.co.uk
94. Oysters at Wright Brothers - £9.50
No, this is not a full meal – but it is oysters. Wright Brothers is one of the best spots in the capital to find them, and they’ll serve you three for £9.50 in all is locations bar Borough Market (where you can get 6 for £18 instead). Choose from English Jersey Rocks and Irish Dungarvans and enjoy with one of its many by-the-glass wines.
Various locations, thewrightbrothers.co.uk
95. Chicken and avocado sandwich at Oree - £4.90
If you can’t ever wait to get your boulangerie-fresh bread home to make a killer sandwich, this bakery will do it for you. At Orée, you can get its freshly baked French wheat sourdough baguette filled with peppery, creamy chicken and slices of fresh avocado.
SW10, W8, WC2, oree.co.uk
96. The spicy chicken burger at Dirty Bones - £9.50
As the name suggests, Dirty Bones don’t do things neatly. Your face will be as dirty as the burger when you get your chops around this spicey bun. The restaurant’s crispy, signature fried chicken comes drizzled with sweet chilli sauce and chipotle mayo and sandwiched with brioche.
E1, W8, two locations in W1, dirty-bones.com
97. Eggs benedict at Balans Soho Society - £9
Balans Soho Society loves a brunch, so much so that it offers brunch dishes everyday, and right through lunchtime. The eggs benedict dish comes with a choice of ham, spinach and smoked salmon – which basically means eggs benedict, florentine and royale all clock in at the same £9.
Various locations, balans.co.uk
98. Gambas at Seven at Brixton - £7.75
Not quite a whole meal, but this tapas dish goes down very pleasantly with a glass of wine at at this very reasonably priced tapas bar inside Brixton Market. Juicy king prawns are cooked with garlic butter and cherry tomatoes and for mere pennies over your budget, they can be enjoyed with a glass of sherry for £3, or rosemary focaccia for £2.50.
7 Market Row, SW9 8LB, sevenatbrixton.com
99. Croquetas at Jose Pizarro - £6.50
Post-work bites doesn’t get much better than the snacks offered by Spaniard Jose Pizarro, the Bermondsey-based chef who added a Broadgate Circle restaurant to his repertoire in 2015. The Tapas del dia menu offers Pizarro’s superb croquetas which come in a different flavour everyday. Incarnations include black squid ink and prawn, spinach and manchego, as well as good old jamon.
SE1, EC2M, josepizarro.com
100. Pizza by the slice at Homeslice - £4
Sometimes it just needs to be pizza, doesn’t it? If so, you’ll feel right at home at Homeslice, where you can pick up pizza by the (generously sized) slice in their signature flavours including margherita, and a mushroom, ricotta and chilli topped pie. If you’re hungry and have a homie to hand, one of their mammoth 20 inch pizzas costs £20 and easily serves two.
EC1, W1, WC2, EC4, homeslicepizza.co.uk