Dinner + booze for under £20. BOOM.
Eating out in London can become a very expensive habit especially if you’ve got broader taste than simply eating (hard to believe). So, here’s a bunch of restaurants you can grab dinner + a boozy beverage for under 20 quid. All are decent and some are very good indeed .I’ll keep refining and updating this, so make sure to check back for the latest juice. View Map
Taiwanese | Soho
Style and substance at play at this much hyped Taiwanese small plates joint; the fried chicken bao is a must. x2 steamed buns + small plate + a beer will come in at under 20 quid. The Lexington Street one which I visited has a minimalistic aesthetic and a laid back vibe; it’s extremely compact and takes no reservations, so be prepared to queue. However, they do take bookings at their Frith Street branch in the downstairs area.
Dirty Burgers | Marylebone
Sloppy but damn tasty chicken burgers can be found at this group of ‘Meat’ restaurants which are spread across town. I’ve only ever been to the one on Welbeck Street which has a very dark setting, probs for the best considering all the mess you’ll be making. A burger (sans fries) and a cocktail will come in at £20. They have several locations across town. Reservations for groups of 6+ only.
Burgers | Bond Street
Good chain serving up noiccceeee chicken and beef burgers. I only fully recommend the on James St though, a short walk from Bond Street tube as I don’t like the one in Liverpool St and haven’t been to the others but fyi it is small and always rammed. Get the ‘Ari Gold’ cheeseburger (£8), chips (£2.95) and a single G&T (£4.50) and still have spare change.
Pizzas | Carnaby
Was shopping in Carnaby and absolutely famished so popped into Pizza Pilgrim (the one just off Oxford Street). It’s a basic space and intentionally so (they started life as a street food truck after all) with green & white check cloth for the tables. The dudes behind this have had quite a bit of hype over the last few years and deservedly so. Super friendly service + tasty Neapolitan pizzas = simple winning formula.
Italian | Soho
This upscale Italian canteen on Dean Street is always heaving and is one of my favourite spots in town. For the level it’s aiming at, it’s very decent fare with a mixture of a fab dessert bar, salad + pizza bar + a hot section at the back dishing up hearty aubergine parmigiana and such alike. You may have to prop yourself up at one of the standing tables but a communal table usually comes available fairly quickly.
Image Credit: E+M Tecnica
Vietnamese | Chinatown
Been to Viet Food twice and it’s a nice enough spot – it’s not somewhere you’d leave and be like ‘damn, that curry was mad delicious’ but it’s very decently priced and has a nice setting – modern basic decor (woody vibes). You can book in advance but they can usually accommodate walk ins as they’ve got upstairs and downstairs seating areas. To make the most of Viet Food, order a couple of things and share with your mates.
Lebanese | Oxford Circus
Good value, tasty Beirut street food. Simple modern colorful decor. Winsley St, the one I’ve been to is pretty dinky but cosy. However, it’s mostly low stools that aren’t the most comfortable, so not somewhere to dwell, hence the name. Cost: c.£15 (for a few shared dishes) whack a beer on top and you’re sorted. They have x2 perm locations: Winsley Street + Green Court. Haven’t been for a while, so hope it’s still good! No reservations.
Image Credit: Yalla Yalla
Posh Fried Chicken | Haggerston
TBH, I wasn’t mad about the fried chicken I ate here but the sour cocktail I had was WAYYY delicious. Willing to give it another go as it’s quite a handsome little spot and I think the fried chicken bun (which they’d ran out of when I visited) would be good. Located in Haggerston on the same stretch of road as Pamela and Rotorino. They recently opened up another shop in Covent Garden.
Pizzas | Hackney Wick
Have tried most of their pizzas which are all pretty rad and you’ll be able to get one of them and a glass of prosecco / beer/ cider for under £20. A bit out of the way in Hackney Wick, if you don’t live in that neck of the woods. Pretty woeful service & horribly crowded in the summer but if you are after a super casual drinking spot that serves nice pizzas, this is the spot for you. No reservations.
Image Credit: Crate Brewery
Burgers | Various Locations
I hadn’t been to the Diner in absolute yonks. As you’d expect a diner, it’s a super laid back space in terms of vibe and decor. When I went recently to the one on Curtain Road, I was pleasantly surprised that the burger (had a chicken one) was way better than I remembered it. Oh and they do milkshakes – I always give bonus points for that. No reservations.
Pizzas | Shoreditch
Homeslice serves wood fired pizza by the slice (£4) or opt for the 20″ pizzas for £20 which you can go half n half with a pal. They do a few classics but most of the menu is seasonal with interesting toppings. The Shoreditch branch which is the one I’ve been to is fairly large and the decor is simple + stylish – feels hip without trying too hard. They have other spots in Covent Garden + Fitzrovia. Reservations possible for large groups except at CG.
Burger Chain | Various Locations
I went fairly recently to the Honest Burger in Old Street and had the beef burger with red onion, relish and stilton which was mighty fine. They’ve absolutely trumped Byron in the burger chain race in my opinion. I’m not a huge fan of their rosemary salted chips (bit too salty for my liking) but when they come as part of the burger price, in this case £9, I ain’t gonna turn ’em away. Pair with a cocktail and bob’s your uncle. No reservations.
Image Credit: londontown.com
Korean | Shoreditch
Korean street food joint. Have been to one near St. Paul’s as well as the Shoreditch branch. Clean sleek minimal interiors. I’ve had the fried chicken ste
amed bun slathered with sweet chilli sauce and shredded cabbage (£8.50) which was very sloppy but really rather tasty. Their chicken bibimbap (£9.90) is somewhat bland but filling – just chug loads of hot sauce on it and you’ll be fine. No reservations.
Vietnamese | Hoxton
This fairly grotty looking Vietnamese restaurant can be found on Kingsland road, on that stretch of road known as ‘pho mile’ because of the high density of Vietnamese restaurants in that area. The pan fried chilli sea bass dish I had was absolutely banging but I may have lucked out. You can BYOB for a quid which is great as I’m sure the house wine is probably piss poor. I definitely didn’t spend above £20 when I went here. Reservations available for large groups.
Image Credit: Tay Do
Turkish | Dalston
Went to this Turkish ‘restaurant’ in Dalston with a group of friends as we were headed to Efes for a night of snooker, dancing and warm beer and needed a quick bite to eat. When I went here, I opted for the chicken shish wrap which was absolutely mahoosive, bursting with flavour and just 6 quid, what more could you ask for? I can’t comment on the wider offering but if the wrap is anything to go by, your mouth will be seriously delighted. No reservations.
Image Credit: timeout.com
Japanese | High Street Kensington
This Japanese group of casual restaurants serves up “foods current in Japan” focusing on different things e.g at ‘Flesh & Buns’ their main output is gua bao buns whereas at Bone Daddies, ramen is king. Have had their ramen several times and it is solid (c.£11) – also had their steamed chicken bun at the High St Ken branch which was satisfying especially when pumped with some of their delicious house chilli sauce. Walk Ins and Reservations.
Jerk Burgers | Ladbroke Grove
I LOVED the fly jerk chicken burger stuffed with plantain – at it’s peak, the chicken was super tender and the plantain had a nice bit of crunch to it. I hate being one of those dicks that says “Oh, it’s not as good as it used to be” but that’s the truth. However, the jerk burger is still hella tasty & worth a look in. The staff are way chill and the is vibe always on point at this no frills, Jamaican inspired, TINY burger spot in Portobello. No reservations.
Image Credit: Boom Burger
Thai | Westfield
This chain thai restaurant won’t blow your socks off but it’s good enough. Go with a friend and order their famous Thai calamari (£7.25) to share, x 2 mains (c.£10 each) + Asahi Super Dry beer (£4) and your meal will come in at under £20 incl. tip. I checked their website and appaz they do a ‘Best of Busaba’ deal for £18.90 which will get you prawn crackers, a small plate, rice and unlimited rice or fries. You can book at a few locations.
Image Credit: Heart of London
Colombian | Wood Green
The 1st residency at Green Rooms Hotel – an arts hotel in Wood Green. All the produce tastes super fresh. Some of the dishes like the chicken wings, side slaws + fried plantain are full of flavour; the tenderness of the shredded beef is faultless and can be found in dishes like the empanadas + arepas but have less of a flavour punch. The banana bread with dulche leche is a must order. Check it out soon as they are wrapping up at Green Rooms Hotel end of Jan. FYI service is slowww.
Turkish | Harringay
Go to any Turkish restaurant on Green Lanes and I can guarantee that you won’t spend up to £20 for a satisfying meal + a beer. Think you may even be able to BYOB. My regz joint is Gökyüzü which has recently had a makeover. They give you loads of free bread, dips and a delicious colourful salad, so you only ever need to order a main. Brimming with people every day of the week – great vibes, great value. Walk Ins & Reservations
Italian | Stoke Newington
A work colleague took me here during a shoot. We ordered pizzas and pastas which were very substantial. It’s a modest setting, nothing jazzy but the food is flavoursome, so that’s fine with me. I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat here but if in the area, I would definitely pop in. Not sure how brilliant their wine is but there are a couple of bars and pubs around, so you can always satiate your alcoholic thirst in one of them. Walk Ins & Reservations.
Pizzas | Kensal Rise
This trendy Neapolitan pizzeria can be found in Kensal Rise on Chamberlayne Road (they have another one in Crouch End which I haven’t been to). My sister and her husband like the pizzas but I personally think they are just okay. However, they do hit the spot quite nicely when you need a quick doughy fix. The space is modern and trendy and pulls in the locals in full force come the weekend. No reservations on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Image Credit: slimyyetsatisfying.com
Modern European | Southwark
The restaurant at The Young Vic is a destination in itself. If you’re going to the theatre definitely eat here and if you’re in the area it’s worth checking out. Their sesame seed seared tuna with bell pepper and cherry tomato salad is healthy and tasty. Try their deep fried goats cheese with pomegranates and honey drizzle. They have a bar upstairs and a rooftop too. Choose wisely and you can just about get a meal for £20
Spanish | Bermondsey
Excellent tapas joint on Bermondsey street. Had a tasty tortilla and some excellent croquettes when I visited here. It’s a proper tapas bar, barrels and all, so don’t be put off by the lack of seats; stake your ground, order a sherry and stand whilst you dine on some delicious small plates; just make sure you don’t order too many, so you can stay within budget. Go here if you’re not feeling overly peckish. No reservations.
Image Credit: josepizarro.com
Italian | London Bridge
This pasta bar is right by Borough Market. Nice modern decor with marble counter tops in the upstairs section of the resto; they have a slightly larger space downstairs which looks more functional. Their hand rolled pappardelle with beef shin ragu (£9) is a winner. Astonishing value for money in a city full of cowboy restaurants trying to swindle you out of your hard earned cash. BYOW for a corkage fee of £10. No reservations.
‘Pan Balkan’ | Peckham
First came across this place through a friend who had a dinner for 15 or so people here. That night, I’m pretty sure I spent £25 and we drank a fair bit of booze. It’s a daily changing menu of ‘Pan Balkan’ fare with a lean to Greek and Turkish dishes. Food is prepared on their custom made charcoal grill. Order a few of their small plates, dine and be merry in this simple cool space. Reservations recommended.
Japanese | Bankside
Decent Ramen noodle bar serving up other Japanese bites. They do stuff like katsu curries and fried chicken buns in addition to their ramen dishes. You can deffo get a bowl of noodles and an alcoholic bevvy and maybe even a cheeky side for under £20. Only been to the Bankside one and always at lunch time so not sure of the queue situation come nightfall.
Got any suggestions? Please do stick them in the comments box below.
To find the closest ‘Cheap Eat’ to you on my map whilst you are out and about:
+ Simply click the extend button on the top right hand corner of the map
+ This will take you into Google Maps where your location will be pinpointed
+ Click on a pin that is close to you, the name of the restaurant will appear in the bottom band
+ Then, click on the walking man icon
+ This will then show you the route to get there and approx travel time