eating in London

May 22nd, 2007, 07:48 PM
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eating in London

My friend and I are continuing to plan our trip to London. We are budgeting about $50 a day for food. I have done my best to look through various travel guides about restaurants and local joints. Is the best way to find about London's restaurants to just walk the streets and wait until we get there--or have an idea before we leave the USA?

I know that some of the musuems do have reasonably priced cafes near them. Please share your experiences so we can do this easily.
tnnonline is offline  
May 22nd, 2007, 08:01 PM
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you are talking about approx £25 per day. You can certainly eat well for that amount - but not by eating in many full service restaurants. Even the casual cafes in the museums will cost you £7-8.

Is breakfast included w/ your hotel? If so that will help. And for about £5 you can get a fresh sandwich and bottle of water in Pret a Manger, Marks & Spencer, etc.

I'd eat most dinners in ethnic restaurants and maybe have one splurge dinner during the thrip.
janisj is online now  
May 22nd, 2007, 08:07 PM
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Both of us are students. The hotel we are looking at should include a breakfast.

We are not expecting to eat at many full service restaurants. It is our plan to mainly eat fast food (healthy as we can find it), sandwhich-type food, and also pub food.

Will our budget fit for that?
tnnonline is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 02:33 AM
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You CAN find great food at reasonable cost in London, but NOT by simply wandering the streets. This is a sure fire way to be deeply disappointed. Research research research. There are a number of good food guides aimed at budget travellers - for instance Harden's, the British equivalent of Zagat's, publish a book called Good Cheap Eats in London. I strongly suggest you make an investment - it'll pay dividends in the end.
Kate is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 03:20 AM
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There is a wonderful Greek restaurant near the British Museum called "Konaki" on Coptic Street.

- 3 course dinner menu for well under 15 gbp (I think it might have been 12 gbp), really delicious food, good service, and cozy atmosphere. This is an independant, family owned place, and the food is fresh, simple, and delicious.

My sister first learned of this restaurant from an aquaintance who works at the British Museum. You'll pay more for less quality both at the BM and at the Pizza Express across the street from this place.

London can be an incredibly expensive place to eat, with the food being something of a hit and miss. I'd try to get an idea of some places to look for beforehand when you're on a tight budget.

Apres_Londee is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 04:31 AM
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You might also try looking at London have great 2 for 1 bargains or 50% off at some better restaurants . The selections change each month and you are emailed a new listing.
jody is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 04:45 AM
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Time Out also publishes a "Cheap Eats in London" which might be easier to find in the States. But either the Hardens or Time Out guide will help a LOT.

Don't assume you'll get cheap meals in pubs. If the food is decent it usually costs as much as in other restaurants.
janisj is online now  
May 23rd, 2007, 05:02 AM
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I usually eat in pubs in UK. Not haute cuisine but at least affordable if you seek out the right places. At$2.40 to the pound that's important.
twoflower is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 05:09 AM
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Would second janisj's suggestion of getting a sandwich and drink at places like Pret a Manger (which we particularly liked - made fresh every morning and great variety). They have shops all over town. If the weather was nice, we'd then go to a park and have a nice lunch while relaxing, people-watching, etc.

Some of the museums also have reasonable cafes IN them.

Also agree with Kate's idea that you should review Good Cheap Eats or equivalent. Otherwise, you'll waste a lot of time wandering and still may not find something very good or inexpensive.
dfr4848 is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 05:15 AM
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The most I spent in London for food in one day was $12.00 or so USD this trip (I was only there 3 days). A full breakfast was included (at the Bed and Breakfast I stayed at), they also sent me out with cereal bars and fruit, and a bottle of water. One day I had a slice of pizza for only $3.00 (not 3 pounds) at Leicester Square - a good one too. And there was a Chinese restaurant up the street, I spent $7.00 US the day I went for a meal (no drink, I had water).

I understand there were good deals not too far from where I was staying also.

Oh - I did have a very good Chicken Korma with rice, VERY good, at Waitrose. They do Indian Takeaway. I think I paid $7.00 US, maybe $8.00 US, for the meal.

Museums are expensive, more expensive than a lot of other places.
nbodyhome is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 05:51 AM
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My friend and I are about to leave for the UK and are facing similar budget issues (just to clarify - all the figures I've seen lately show the pound at about $2, not $2.40, so it's not quite that bad!). My plan is to take advantage of our hostel's included breakfast, grab some meals from places like Pret (yum) and Marks & Spencer, and eat in the occasional slightly more expensive casual places. In case you're not familiar, M&S is a department store chain, and many of their London stores also have a food hall with prepared foods and a small cafe area. As far as restaurants, the wagamama chain is loved by some, hated by others, but is reasonably priced and has locations just about everywhere. I also second the suggestion of Chinese/other ethnic places. You can definitely do this without eating at McDonald's or Burger King - actually, last time I ate fast food in the UK (it's been several years), those places were just as expensive as getting takeaway fish & chips or something similar.

There's been a recent thread on budget eating in the Covent Garden/Bloomsbury area, which is pretty central to most of the touristy spots:

Have a great trip!
jent103 is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 05:57 AM
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"just to clarify - all the figures I've seen lately show the pound at about $2, not $2.40, so it's not quite that bad!"

Just to clarify more - I'm pretty sure twoflower was talking about the Aus$ which is about $2.40 to £1
janisj is online now  
May 23rd, 2007, 06:05 AM
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Janis, you're so right - I was about to come back and clarify that that was US. Since the OP specified they were coming from the US I didn't think to mention it!
jent103 is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 06:05 AM
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If you're in an M&S, don't limit yourself to sandwiches, they do lots of lunchables. They have a very nice range of salads available (some tasty, unusual offerings, we're particularly fond of the tabouleh type salad with shaved carrots, cranberries and coriander vinaigrette...very refreshing for a warm day), including pasta salads and fresh fruit salads. Often on specials as 2 for 1, so more savings that way.
Cafe Rouge chain has good specials. They have over 20 branches in London alone. Not gourmet, but perfectly acceptable. £7.95 for two courses and £9.95 for three courses if you eat before 5 pm.
BTilke is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 06:25 AM
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All of these suggestions I have found very helpful. I will look for a Hardens guide, and have a Time Out guide already on the way.

At $50 budgeted per day, I am not that worried about food. But, I am the kind of person who likes to have everything figured out long before I leave.
tnnonline is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 03:40 PM
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Try for pub reviews, including drinks, food, and atmosphere. We had dinner our first night at a nice little pub right around the corner from our hostel.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 05:15 PM
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try ethnic foods
we had great falafel/shwarma etc a few times for a delicious and very inexpensive meal
4bams is offline  

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