There are thousands of restaurants in London that cover every imaginable cuisine. While they also cover every budget, how do you know where to start? And the knowledge that there are so many choices can make a disappointing, expensive meal taste all the more bitter.
To help you start navigating your restaurant options in London, take note of the tips below. They should help you save a few pounds of your budget — and point you toward some great new eats.
Related: Top budget hotels in London
10 London dining tips
1. Avoid tourist traps
No one wants to feel like a ripped-off tourist, paying over the odds for an unsatisfactory meal. The first rule here is to avoid going out for meals in tourist hotspots. Look at where Londoners might go to eat — Soho or Shoreditch, for example.
While those areas aren’t necessarily going to be cheap, they’re likely to offer a far better dining experience than, say, one of the high volume eateries on the corner of Leicester Square. Think ahead, as a little planning can save you from a disappointing meal.
2. Do some research
There are loads of budget-friendly options all over London, but another benefit of planning is knowing what you are looking for! Time Out London’s Cheap Eats has loads of recommendations, and you can search by area, or ask at your hotel, and they should be happy to point you in the direction of a popular local.
Here are 10 cheapo restaurant picks, situated all around the city.
3. Don’t skimp on your hotel breakfast
Most London hotels will include breakfast in their room price. (Here are our favorite cheap hotels in Londons.) Filling up on a full English (or even just some tea and toast) is a great way to ensure you aren’t ravenous — and splashing out on snacks — by lunchtime!
We love the breakfast at likes of the Celtic Hotel, Luna & Simone Hotel, and Arosfa Hotel. A substantial breakfast means you can pick up light lunch at a supermarket, one of the reasonably priced sandwich chains such as Pret a Manger, or at a market. Speaking of which…
4. Think vendors, food carts and takeaway
Don’t just associate good eating with starched linen tablecloths. Kerb brings street food vendors to locations all around London.
And don’t forget the joy of a simple takeaway. Enjoying chips doused in salt and vinegar eaten out of their wrapper on a cold evening is a British tradition up there with visiting Buckingham Palace!
5. Don’t forget the pub!
A great visit to a pub can be as much about eating as drinking, as many serve reasonably priced food. It’s fun to stop in a local pub for some lunch and a pint. The tourist trap rule also applies to picking a pub (and —as a general rule of thumb — rule out any place boasting that they serve “London’s best fish and chips”).
6. Splurge at lunch
If you do want to experience some of London’s more fashionable restaurants, it’s worth heading out at lunchtime when prices can be much cheaper. Look for set lunch deals.
7. Eat at local markets
London boasts several bountiful markets throughout the city. Borough Market might be one of the most famous, but along with fresh produce, they also have several food vendors to fill you up for cheap.
The Global Kitchen at Camden Locks Market is open daily and offers an incredible variety of stalls serving everything from Turkish and Ethiopian to Jamaican and Brazilian.
Here are a few more outdoor markets in London that offer several affordable food options.
8. Don’t go over the top with your tips
Before you tip your server, double-check your check. Often there will be a service charge included automatically, which means that you don’t need to leave any more money on the table. Serving staff are also less reliant on their tips to make up their wage than in the States, so as a general rule, Brits are less generous with tipping than their North American counterparts.
In general, our typical tip is closer to 10% than 15% — higher tips are really a reward for exceptional service. Check out our guide to tipping in London for more information.
9. Order tap water and BYOB
It’s completely fine (and safe) to ask for tap water with your meal, rather than expensive bottled water.
Another way to save on drinks is to look out for restaurants offering “Bring Your Own Bottle/Booze” or BYOB. For a couple of pounds, you’ll be able to bring in the wine or beer of your choice and avoid the high cost of a restaurant mark-up.
10. Save with websites and apps
With lots of money-off vouchers and discount cards online, both for chains and fancier eateries, why pay full price? We’ve outlined four ideas for websites and apps to check out for some serious restaurant discounts.
How do you save when you eat out in London? Tell us in the comments below!
Source: Euro Cheapo