Cheap, healthy places to catch a bite in London?
September 15, 2007 5:24 PM   Subscribe

Cheap, healthy places to catch a bite in London?

I'm going to be spending some time in London and have to live on a bit of a budget with the exchange rates being what they are. That said, I don't want to be cooking every single meal in my apartment and miss being in the city. Bonus points for vegetarian and/or fish-but-not-fish-and-chips opportunities.

Thanks!
posted by ontic to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
what part of the city will you be in?
posted by pdb at 5:27 PM on September 15, 2007


any Leon
posted by ascullion at 5:50 PM on September 15, 2007


Vita Organic in Leicester Square is your friend: Vegetarian, organic, reasonably priced and just freaking awesome. It's a small place, but they do take-away.

Bonus: Also a spot for celebrity sightings -- saw Billy Zane there last time.
posted by kanuck at 6:01 PM on September 15, 2007


I'll second Vita Organic but if you're feeling even thriftier try Tai, or any of the vegan Thai buffets. They are owned by Buddhists, so no animal products, and how can you say no to a takeaway box stuffed with mockmeat for £3? There are several in Soho and one off the Angel tube stop.
posted by quelindo at 6:14 PM on September 15, 2007


As another victim of the recent exchange rate:

Any Marks & Spencer food hall or Sainsbury's or other grocery has an aisle or several aisles full of prepared foods to-go. The food is cheaper, faster, and (provided you make good choices) healthier than the restaurant food. Some of them also have sit-down areas to stick around and eat.

Everywhere I went to one there was lots of vegetarian food, freshly prepared seafood/fish options, and all at very reasonable prices. You can easily stuff yourself for between £5-£8.
posted by whatzit at 7:15 PM on September 15, 2007


Wagamama. They're everywhere.
posted by katemonster at 7:20 PM on September 15, 2007


Pret a Manger.... they're everywhere and their fresh little sandwiches can be very good. Get yourself a brie, tomato and basil sandwich for like 2 pounds, 35p. I lived on them.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 7:29 PM on September 15, 2007


Wagamama's far from cheap. New Culture Revolution's a small chain, good value, and having been to two of them I can vouch that it's well worth it.
posted by genghis at 7:40 PM on September 15, 2007


yo sushi! cheap, fairly decent conveyor belt sushi thats everywhere. i recommend the avocado salmon hand roll.
posted by enaira at 7:52 PM on September 15, 2007


Planet Organic in Bloomsbury--organic grocery and produce as well as prepared foods. They have a few other locations as well.
posted by subatomiczoo at 7:56 PM on September 15, 2007


Hare and Tortise near Russell Square.
posted by k8t at 8:08 PM on September 15, 2007


Caveat...Wagamama's seating is only low stools.
posted by brujita at 9:43 PM on September 15, 2007


v fashionable model-infested north african cafe Momo, maybe above your budget, but you can get a big tray enough for 3-4 people for £30.
posted by londongeezer at 10:53 PM on September 15, 2007


Time Out magazine has a good list of cheap eats in London on its website here . They update it annually and there are plenty of healthy options all over London.
posted by techrep at 12:51 AM on September 16, 2007


Any Marks & Spencer food hall or Sainsbury's or other grocery has an aisle or several aisles full of prepared foods to-go. The food is cheaper, faster, and (provided you make good choices) healthier than the restaurant food. Some of them also have sit-down areas to stick around and eat.

Actually, not really true. You'd be amazed at how much you can end up spending in these places, and how little you can spend on good (takeaway) restaurant food in central London. M&S is great - but £4 for a factory produced sandwich? WTF!

A couple of good places to try:

Sagar (Percy Street) - South Indian vegetarian, £3 for a lunchtime takeaway, £5 for lunchtime special eat-in

Hummus Brothers (Wardour Street) - hummus with hot toppings and great fresh pitta, less than a fiver for more than enough. This place is awesome - my new lunchtime obsession

There are many more in a similar vein.
posted by bifter at 1:29 AM on September 16, 2007


You can get lunch for £3.30 at Boots. This includes a decent sandwich (or sandwich alternative - wrap, sushi, salad, etc), drink and a snack. The food isn't the greatest but you can make up for it by getting a nice drink (innocent smoothies!) or snack. As a bonus, Boots outlets are everywhere.
posted by lumiere at 1:36 AM on September 16, 2007


Time to mention once again Tayyab's on Fieldgate Street, truly sensational Indian food, including plenty of vegetarian options and a legendary masala fish dish. Many dishes at around 4 pounds, and if you can spend 8-10, a banquet.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 1:54 AM on September 16, 2007


Oh, and the Hare Krishnas will feed you for next to nothing at Govinda's.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 1:57 AM on September 16, 2007


For a quick bite that won't break the bank, I recommend the Maoz chain of vegetarian 'fast food' restaurants. Fresh falalfels in pita bread, hummus and a huge salad bar to pick and choose from for extra filling. Gorgeous.

I also highly recommend Jai Krishna if you fancy something spicier. Not too expensive either.

Damn. Now I'm hungry.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:05 AM on September 16, 2007


If you go to Camden Town then there's a vegetarian Thai buffet just a few doors down from the World's End that even molds tofu into the shape of shrimps (or so I was told yesterday).
posted by Martin E. at 4:35 AM on September 16, 2007


Martin E. has not been there him/herself obviously. Absolutely foul. Tofu in the shape/texture of all different types of meat that did not appeal to the meat-eaters nor the vegetarians. Really greasy, sticky and ultimately very bland. It was only a fiver or so for a buffet though, so ymmv and all that. (This was also about 2 years ago and I have since avoided that place like the plague).
posted by slimepuppy at 4:39 AM on September 16, 2007


Oh, and of course there's Drummond Street NW1, home to several brilliant Indian vegetarian places. If memory serves, Ravi Shankar's is the cheapest of the lot.

Is the Stockpot still there in Soho? Like a cross between school dinners and an Italian restaurant. An institution, it was.
posted by genghis at 4:49 AM on September 16, 2007


nthing Pret a Manger, and especially Hummus Bros (they have another location on Southampton in Holborn).
posted by irregardless at 7:10 AM on September 16, 2007


Thanks for all the great ideas, everyone. I got called away from the computer last night, but this information is much appreciated. For the record, I'll be in the Kensington area, around Imperial College.
posted by ontic at 12:17 PM on September 16, 2007


The student eateries at Imperial are cheap and plentiful - the cafe on the ground floor of the Sir Alexander Fleming building serves hot sandwiches/pizza/jacket potatoes for a reasonable price, although it's cheaper with a student card.

The best deals are to be had by walking through Hyde Park to Bayswater and Queensway. I recommend the Royal China on Queensway for excellent and cheap dim sum.
posted by penguinliz at 2:56 PM on September 16, 2007


If you find yourself near Angel tube station, go to the Indian vegetarian place on Chapel Market (I forget its name but you really can't miss its unique decor and lighting) - £3 gets you as much vegetarian buffet food as you can eat. It's licensed as well and will sell you beer or one of a seemingly infinite range of soft drinks. And you get to read interesting vegetarian propaganda which lines the walls.
posted by altolinguistic at 3:01 AM on September 17, 2007


Near Imperial? Then it's got to be Oriental Canteen (when I worked at IC with an 80% Chinese department, they ALL went there) or Daquise which do a great lunch special. I'm a vegetarian and found no problems eating lunch at either of these nearly every day.
posted by methylsalicylate at 4:20 AM on September 17, 2007


World Food Café in Neal's Yard and Food For Thought on Neal Street are two great, cheap vegetarian places in Covent Garden.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:39 PM on September 20, 2007


« Older The Laughing Song, But Not That Laughing Song.   |   Software for construction Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.