Dining On A Budget In Central London

Dining On A Budget Central London

London may not be the most expensive capital in the world but let’s be honest, it’s not the cheapest one either and I think it’s safe to assume that not everyone wants to spend a small fortune on eating out. At the same time I bet there are some of you who just can’t be bothered cooking everyday (join the club!) or perhaps you’re planning to visit London and are in the market for delicious meals in the city centre which don’t break the bank? Whatever your reason for dining on a budget is, I’ve got you covered! Let me introduce 3 of my favourite dining places which constantly serve delicious meals for just over £5. Here we go!


Dining On A Budget In Central London

Hidden in the basement just off Fleet Street, Zucla is the treasure among capital’s lunch spots. For as little as £5.50 you’ll get a huge portion of a delicious meal of your choice- I always either share it with someone or take a half home for dinner as I don’t think it’s humanly possible to deal with the entire thing at one go! Zucla is a buffet-style bistro so don’t expect fancy interiors, just friendly stuff and delicious, freshly prepared, hearty meals. Speaking of which… you can chose dishes from one of four zones (breakfast, curry, salad and noodle), among which the curry zone is my favourite. As a vegetarian, I always go for paneer curry (it’s lush), which comes with rice and fresh coriander or chillies. If you can’t make your mind up, don’t worry, you can always mix and match! Although the place at lunchtime is open until 3.30 I’d suggest getting there as early as possible (anything before 1 p.m. should be fine)- Zucla is super duper popular among the City workers and realising they’ve ran out of your favourite dish is not fun (been there, done that!).

Franco Manca

Dining On A Budget In London

Who doesn’t love pizza?! Especially if it’s sourdough, wood-burning oven baked and topped with fresh, high quality ingredients? By now you should be sold! Being one of the most affordable pizza places in town (classic basil & tomato costs you £6.40), Franco Manca is my obvious choice when I’m after the original, Italian thing. Their short, consistent, pizza-only menu is there to reassure you those guys know what they’re doing. And the pizza you get- thin, crispy and with just the right amount of toppings- is everything you could wish for. Although I’ve never had any pudding there, No Logo cider they have on the menu serves as a pretty decent substitute 🙂 For those who don’t know- Franco Manca have quite a few location all over the show so, wherever you are, there’s a great chance you’ll find one nearby.


For those who prefer eating more healthily, Pilpel is the place to go. With a couple of central/East locations, friendly staff and fresh ingredients they provide great lunch experience to all the diners, serving probably most delicious falafels in town. Honestly, they’re amazing- fresh, warm, made to order, ready to be consumed on their own or as a part of the meal. For £5 you can get them in a delicious pita with sauces and salads or if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, pay a quid more and get the entire container full of healthy goodies or go for optional extras of your choice. You can’t really go wrong with Pilpel, and if you’re not convinced, they are always happy to give you samples to try first! What’s there not to like?!

Alright you lovely bunch, that would be it when it comes to my recommendations. Do you know about any places that should be added to this list?

  • Zucla looks delicious! I haven’t tried it yet, so am adding it to my list of places to visit. I do love Pilpel, but haven’t been for ages – thanks for the reminder!

    xo Jaime

    • Thank you for your kind comment! If you’re keen on Thai or Indian food I think you’ll like it there 🙂 x

  • Tiffany Bailey

    Wow I would never have thought you could get such delicious looking food for those sort of prices in London that’s amazing! That pizza looks amazing, I could sooo eat one of those right now!!

  • Honey I am coming to London (promise soon) and you have to take me to one of these places!! And of course coffee! xxx


    • Yay!!! Literally made my day! And remember that if you and your boyfriend ever need a place to stay my home is always open for you 🙂 May not be the most luxurious but at least it’s free 😉 And hell yesss to coffee and all of those places! Xx

  • Dish looks very yummy! It’s so good to know where you can eat for a cheaper price. As a traveler, you always have some budget! Lovely recommendations!

  • Ashley Strain

    That pizza sounds right up my alley. Thanks for sharing!

  • Haha, glad to hear that! Have a fabulous trip! x

  • Caddy Munnelly

    That pizza looks incredible! I’ve never tried sourdough pizza either, must make a stop next time I’m in London! 😀

  • Kristen Raney

    All of these options look AMAZING! I’d probably want those falafels everyday.

  • Spiceitupp

    I love to eat our in London. One city which fits evey budget, every taste and every personality. Great article! Sharing on twitter

    • Yes to everything you said! And thanks so much, that’s really sweet of you x

  • Natashya Newman

    Now I’m hungry! All these places sound amazing, and I love that you wrote about more budget friendly options. Will add these into my planning when I visit London!

    • Thank you Natashya for all the kindness! Hope you had something nice 😉

  • Tabitha Serrano

    I’m planning to go to London in 2018 and this is a perfect guide for places to eat! Thank You!!

    • Great to hear that, hope you’ll have a wonderful trip! 🙂

  • Hi Markus, thanks a lot and greetings from London! 🙂

  • Keri @flipflopweekend

    The photography in this post is great! I loved London and really hope to get back one day.

  • Nikki Vergakes

    Zucla sounds so good, I’ll check it out when I’m in London!

  • Kalena McElroy

    Oooohhh. All of these places look amazing! I’ll definitely have to give one of them a try the next time I’m in the city 🙂

  • Erika Ravnsborg

    That pizza looks spectacular. I would love to have that right now.

  • Ornella

    Oooh looks sooooo yummy! I haven’t been to London in a while but these are some great recommendations.

  • Jason Endress

    That pizza….making me homesick. Ecuador has some decent pie, but there’s nothing like wood-fired goodness.

  • I love Pilpel. Great choice! Dining in pubs is also a good alternative.

  • I would love to eat at Zucla, it looks yummy! I’m glad to have read this, I personally feel overwhelmed when thinking about traveling to London. There is so much there, and yes it is expensive. This is such great information!

  • This is great! All my friends from London keep telling me how expensive London is these days so it’s great to see there are still good affordable restaurants out there! Zucla would definitely be my first choice.

  • As someone who lives in Zurich, I`m well used to high prices, but that does not mean i do not like looking for a bargain eatery when out on vacation, thanks so much for sharing.

  • This sounds good! I’ll be in London in June next year, so I’ll try Franco Manca, it looks really delicious!

    Best regards from Hamburg,

    Vichy by http://richyskr.de

  • Measha Vieth

    Oh man I love falafel! And everything else looked delicious too. I’m new to being a vegetarian, so if I ever go to London I’ll definitely check out these places.

  • Kara Simone

    These places all seem like they have delicious food!

  • Just came across your blog on FB & seriously LOVE IT! Your photos are amazing! 😀 Cant wait to see what more you post 🙂

  • Monica

    Hey! That was such an interesting article! Very helpful! Thank you so much for sharing! And I have to tell you that I love the photos!

  • Can’t hardly believe seeing the pics. They don”t look like food on a budget. Look so delicious and classy..

  • Georgia Geary

    I found it so hard to get good, cheap food in london! I’m definitely trying out Pilpel when I’m there next – it looks like exactly what I love: cheap, healthy and yummy!

  • Abdullah Nahyan

    Wow! The dish looks delicious. Great tips on budget dining there. Will definitely be useful for my next trip to London.

  • Kristina Unta Rogić

    I could always eat good pizza, although other meals look tasty too. 🙂

  • Joanne Mortlock

    Zucla looks and sounds delicious

  • Katie

    All of these dishes look delicious. It is great that you have found these at such cheap prices for London. If i ever go to London I will keep this in mind. The curry looks so yummy!

  • 1journey1life2people

    Oh this is a lovely blog post! Me and My Husband usually are dinning on a budget, simply because we wanna spend more money on different attractions. And your ideas of meals look yumm! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!