You don't need to spend a fortune to dine out well in central London. You just need to know where to go. All of the places below offer meals for reasonable prices. They are tried and tested by Londoners and visitors alike.
This grand Parisian-style brasserie by Piccadilly Circus is the place to head for a buzzy atmosphere and budget dishes. The fixed-priced two-course menu is a steal at £9.75 and there are daily specials and affordable French bistro dishes aplenty.
Known locally as ICCO, the Italian Coffee Company on Goodge Street serves large, cheap pizzas. This family-run joint is open early until late seven days a week and sells inexpensive whole pizzas. The coffee's pretty good too.
Kulu Kulu, Soho
Kulu Kulu is a kiaten sushi Japanese restaurant in Soho, near Piccadilly Circus. It was one of the first restaurants to serve sushi on a conveyor belt in London. The decor is nothing to write home about but you go for the food, which is cheap and delicious. It's easy to keep track of what you're spending as the dishes are served on color-coded plates. There’s a 45-minute maximum stay length but that's enough time to enjoy your food. Kulu Kulu is great for sushi novices and for eat-in or take-out options.
The Wagamama restaurants are modeled on Japan's popular ramen bars and there are 15 branches in London alone. They all have long bench seats and the food is served quickly, so it's a popular option for a pre- or post-theater meal or for families.
Leon is a 'fast-food' café that serves organic and fair-trade produce. It has a reputation for healthy, fresh, seasonal dishes and is popular for lunch take-outs. It's a great option if you have specific dietary requirements. Popular dishes include the Super salads, meatballs, and wraps.
You'll struggle to find a cheaper curry house than this community-led restaurant at the Indian YMCA hostel on Fitzroy Square. Enjoy the restaurant either as a guest staying there or as a member of the public.