London has one of the most prohibitive costs of living. However, due to an increase in the number of people warming up to the idea of dining out more often, London restaurants are gradually coming to the realization that people like being served high quality cuisine in fun, casual environments in order to get good value or their money.
Kerbisher &Malt – £13, Hammersmith
Since opening in 2011, this up market but admittedly egalitarian gem has slowly come to be regards as the toast of Hammersmith and it is not hard to see why. The restaurant has a daily changing menu that offers rarities like twice-cooked chips with chunky onion rings, all kinds of fish and homemade mushy peas, all cooked to order.
Mount street deli – £16, Mayfair
This airy deli is known for pastries, upper crust sarnies and a host of other home baked goods backed by bountiful breakfast (yoghurt granola, organic cream chewed bagels or thin smoked salmon) and lunch options that include homemade soups and pies.
Pitt cue co – £15, Soho
Like many of the Soho restaurants, Pitt Cue co offers quality food without costing an arm and a leg. One of the oldest street food restaurants now on a permanent site in Soho still manages to keep the quality high and prices low and still generates a lot of buzz. Its cocktails are fun and offer good value. Try the pickle back (a mixture f bourbon and apple pickle).
Tayyabs -£19, Whitechapel
Tayyabs sets itself apart from your run of the mill curry house and prides itself in serving fiery, authentic Pakistani foods to its customers. It BYO policy ensures that the bill will always be pleasingly low and the atmosphere is always buzzing. Try out the baby chicken curry of the mixed grill.
Baozi Inn – £19, Covent Garden
This establishment is a Szechuan street food specialist that serves dishes ranging in heat from woozy and warm to the really hot meals. Service here is efficient and you can expect reasonable prices. More importantly, the quality places it well above other Chinese restaurant in the area.
Franco Manca – £19, Brixton
This establishment has long been in Brixton long before the boom in independent eateries .It has managed to maintain high standards making it one of the most consistent options. Sourdough pizzas are served with a host of tempting options at breakneck speed. The restaurant has expanded with branches now located in Westfield Stratford and Cheswick.
Meatliquor -£26, Marylebone
Being a permanent establishment, Meatliquor has developed a loyal following thanks to its meaty, juicy burghers, which have been rated as “the best in town” by those who have been there. There is no need to make a booking and the combination of drinks and décor makes this restaurant perfect for an evening visit. It is a cheap eatery that has developed its own stylish way of doing things.
Mooli’s – £23, Soho
This is a hip Indian café that offer delicious moolis (roti wraps) with savory fillings like goan pork with mint chutney or spiced chicken with pomegranate salsa. With its rock bottom prices, you can afford to top it up with house drinks like mango lassi and ginger or even cocktails.
Vapiano – £26, Fitzrovia
This is a canteen-like establishment that specializes in Italian favorites, from salads and antipasti to color coded pizza (made in-house) like penne, linguine agili olio with king prawns, spinach or pesto. The laid-back vibe is further enhanced by the shared tables and self-service.
Yalla Yalla -£29, Soho
This Beirut street food joint has been hailed as the best thing to happen to area since opening in 2009. Typical dishes include tabbouleh, moussaka and baba gannoush and are very popular. However, it also serves more interesting dishes like makale samak (seafood deep-fried and aubergine with yoghurt).
Koya – £28, Soho
This is a traditional specialist in making Udon noodles and is definitely worth being paid a visit. Its dining room is always full during peak hours. Specialties to try out including crisp tempura or atsu atsu noodle with sea weed salad- all pocket friendly dishes.
Burgher and lobster -£42.00, Mayfair
This one goes beyond the £30 maximum but for champagne and lobster in Mayfair, any bill below £45 is not to be dismissed. The management has somehow managed to maintain the prices at a reasonable level at this exquisite restaurant. Be prepared to queue but you will definitely enjoy the experience once you land a table.