Eating cheap in the West End

The West End is full of wonderful things to spend your money on: shops, theatres, cabaret shows, comedy clubs and extravagant cocktail bars (for the latter, try Sketch, Zedel or the London Cocktail Club). There is also a metric shit-tonne of magnificently mediocre, overpriced places to eat, which will cut into budget that could be spent on, I don’t know, Les Miserables. Or drink.

If you fancy something fancy, OpenTable should be your first port of call. You can filter the results to special offers only, which will suggest a smattering of good-value set menus and 50% off deals in the first instance. Alternatively, here are my favourite places to eat in the West End when I’m a) poor and b) hungry.

1. Bunnychow

It’s a curry in a bowl in a bowl made of bread; what’s not to like? (There are no actual bunnies in there; it’s just the South African word for the tasty-ass carb crockery.) Bunnychow Soho

Bunnychows cost around a fiver and there’s a selection of homemade juices on offer. If you’re hanging – or even if you’re not – try the Invictus, a zingy infusion of ginger, honey and lemon.

Bunnychow, 74 Wardour Street, W1F 0TQ

Bunnychow Soho

2. Pizza Pilgrims

Previously a street food vendor, Pizza Pilgrims now dispenses its wildly popular wares from two bricks-and-mortar restaurants in the West End, as well as its food truck. Pizzas are in the sloppy-centered Neapolitan style, and cost between £5-10 each. They lose marks for leaving Gorgonzola off the menu (because I am a monster and like blue cheese on everything), but aside from that, their pizzas are among the best in London.

Pizza Pilgrims, 11 Dean Street, W1D 3RP and Kingly Court. 11 Kingly St London, W1B 5PW

3. Vapiano 

Vapiano makes fresh pizzas, pastas and salads to order. It’s huge and has loads of seating, but weekdays 12-2pm are a bit of a bun fight as the place is super popular with local office workers. Portions are vast and cost between £7-10. Try the Grandchi Di Piume pasta (£9.95): crayfish, fresh veggies and lobster sauce. Full review here.

Vapiano, 84 Wardour Street, W1F 0TQ

Vapiano Soho

4. Berwick Street Market

If you’re more of an impulse diner and have mastered the art of sucking down a burrito standing up without getting it down your shirt, take a wander around Berwick Street Market, which is packed with street vendors selling everything from Lebanese to Indian handheld food.

Berwick Street Market, Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, Berwick Street, W1F 8TU

5. Honest Burger

Everyone raves on an on about Byron, but my favourite of London’s home-grown burger chains is Honest Burger (and also Hache, if you’re in Camden, Balham, Chelsea, Shoreditch or Clapham). They have an awesome app-based queuing system, so you can go and have a drink while you wait; delicious burgers under a tenner; and…rosemary salted fries. *Angels sing*

Honest Burger, 4a Meard Street, W1F 0EF

6. Shoryu Ramen 

There are tonnes of ramen in the West End, but the best I’ve tried is Shoryu Ramen, which serves up huge, steaming bowls of noodles for around £12. Full review here.

Shoryu Ramen, locations at 9 Regent St, SW1Y 4LR; 3 Denman Street, W1D 7HA and G3-5 Kingly Court, W1B 5PJ

Shoryu Ramen Carnaby Street Kingly Court

7. Flat Iron

Flat Iron’s miniature menu may only feature one main dish, but that main dish is steak and it’s a tenner. That’s cheap enough to get two.

Flat Iron, locations at 17 Beak St, W1F 9RW and 9 Denmark St, WC2H 8LS

Flat Iron

8. Heliot Steakhouse

Speaking of steak, you may have read my earlier review of the Heliot Steakhouse at the Hippodrome Casino. Now, a casino in Leicester Square does not sound like a top venue in anyone’s language, but fortunately the management knows the locals are avoiding it like the plague and have overcompensated massively with fantastic steak at rock-bottom prices. It’s reasonable to start with, for a steak restaurant, but do yourself a favour and go through Bookatable. They always have awesome deals on; currently it’s steak, lobster, mac ‘n cheese, a cocktail and £10 worth of gaming chips for £25. And it’s open twenty-four hours. Full review here.

Hippodrome Casino, Cranbourn Street, WC2H 7JH

London Hippodrome Heliot restaurant review

Author: Emily Gibson

Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in East London and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.