May 24, 2018

Dine on a Budget: the best restaurants in London for students

Dine on a budget by GSM London

Here’s some of the best budget London restaurants that you voted for through our Tastecard competition.

A guide to some of the best budget London restaurants
Our recent Tastecard competition was a huge success; not only has one lucky student won a Tastecard that will give them half-price London dining for a whole year, but your responses have been fantastic – we have a super useful list of all your favourite restaurants that you like to dine in, a list we’d like to share with you!

We’ve had so many suggestions that we have decided to create a few lists, and first up is our guide to the best restaurants in London for students on a budget. If you are keen to take a break from studying for your MSc in oil and gas management, here’s some of the best London restaurants that you voted for.

Brasserie Zédel

Located in Soho and with the delights of Piccadilly Circus to the north, Brasserie Zédel is a fantastic choice for students on the lookout for classy French cuisine for a price which won’t break the bank – ideal for a night of romance! With 240 cover, you’re almost guaranteed to get the perfect table whatever day of the week. We got in touch with them to see why they are so highly regarded, and here is their response:

“I would suggest that with it being a highly affordable restaurant set in a spectacular Art Deco setting, guests are able to relax in luxurious surroundings with good food but without the hefty price tag. At 240 covers, it is also a large and bustling restaurant, with a fantastic atmosphere.

Zedel is also home to Bar Americain and Crazy Coqs, our cabaret venue. Many customers choose to make the most of one or more of these venues in one evening. Tickets for Crazy Coqs start at £10 so still very affordable.”

What’s for dinner?

As already mentioned, Brasserie Zedel specialises exclusively in French cuisine. From salmon with Dijon creamed leeks to grilled mackerel fillets with ratatouille to chicken in Riesling wine sauce, there’s sure to be something for even the fussiest of palates to enjoy. Click here to see their full range of menus.

How much will it cost?

While Basserie Zedel prides itself on great service, another attribute which keeps diners returning time and time again is the fantastic value it represents. Although some dishes do command a higher price, a beautiful main can be yours from between £12-£14.

The Big Chill


Red Iron Burgers

To sample the burger at its best, Red Iron Burgers pride themselves on cooking with only the finest ingredients to offer the finest taste to diners. Self-confessed experts of the burger, they will only cook their burgers to medium to ensure the best flavour and texture; it’s perhaps this reason why you ranked them among the best London restaurants!

What’s for dinner?

Their menu offers almost every type of burger you can think of, and whether you choose the signature Red Iron burger, the Sweet Chilli Chicken or Mexican Lamb, all diners are sure not to be left disappointed. Click here to view the full menu.

How much will it cost?

It’s on our list because of the fantastic value, and this is represented by the fact that the steaks are the only dishes which are over £10!

Flat Iron

If you’re that person who can’t resist having a steak every time they head out, the Flat Iron is a venue that won’t disappoint. Consistently ranking among the top steak restaurants in the capital, the venue on Denmark St is the ultimate restaurant for true carnivores and diners are sure not to leave disappointed. Flat Iron received multiple votes in the competition, proving its popularity first hand.

How much will it cost?

The menu is as simple as possible, with the Flat Iron Steak the only main on offer. Incredibly, it costs just £10 a serving! There are also specials which will feature depending on availability, such as the incredible Wagyu Steak Burger. Queues go out the door for that one, so keep an eye on Flat Iron’s Twitter page!

The Big Chill

If you’re looking for an informal dining experience, The Big Chill Bar in Brick Lane offers fantastic food with an atmosphere to match. If you need a hearty breakfast before a day of hard study, be sure to try the Big Fry for a modern interpretation of the classic Full English Breakfast.

We also got in contact with Big Chill, and here are some of their reasons as to why London students ought to pay them a visit:

“We’re more than just a restaurant, behind our giant windows you can enjoy breakfast in our ground floor arts café, pub grub in the first floor study, a cocktail on the roof terrace and a good old knees up anytime, day or night.

Big Chill House is pretty much everything you could want from a venue – delicious food and drinks, events, offers a-plenty, great DJs, dance floor, free Wi-Fi, an all-year round terrace and guaranteed good vibes!”

What’s for dinner?

The day-time menu is similarly inviting, with the Aberdeen Angus beef burger, fish finger sandwich and falafel pitta some of the foods crafted to the impeccable detail you would expect.

How much will it cost?

Again noted for its value, the most expensive items on the daytime menu are the sandwiches and burgers and they cost just £9.95. 

Brasserie Zédel

  Goode and Wright

Goode and Wright is a pleasant bistro in Notting Hill that is famed for its fantastic blends of English and French cuisine. It offers all the classic signs of a bistro, particularly with the chequerboard floor and wood-panelled walls.

How much will it cost?

It was voted for its competitive pricing, and with Buttermilk marinated chicken Schnitzel just £15.50 and steak bavette costing £16.50, it’s a cost that many will not quibble over paying. Click here for the menus.

Ten Cases

If you’re looking for a more refined dining experience, the unpretentious charm and cosy setting of The 10 Cases in Covent Garden has to be a winner. One of the most unique London restaurants, it takes its name because the owner only orders 10 cases of wine at a time so diners can enjoy a taste of new delights, rather than a menu of usual favourites.

There are also only ten tables, providing a dining experience that promises to offer peace and quiet for a great way to relax after studying for your weekend MBA programme.

What’s for dinner?

Those who do book a table can enjoy a beautifully considered menu crafted by the head chef Charles Lee, with swordfish carpaccio, roast pigeon breast and duck egg, bacon and pork cheek salad just some of the favourites that never fail to disappoint. Click here to take a look at their full menu.

How much will it cost?

The prices here are at the top end of the scale at around £17, but then it is nice to pay a bit more for the secluded dining experience once in a while.

Meze Mangal

Our next restaurant takes us to the south-eastern borough of Lewisham, with the authentic and delicious examples of Turkish foods helping Meze Mangal rank among the finest London restaurants that specialises in international cuisine. With high praise from Trip Advisor, and even a stellar review from Time Out, it’s easy to see why competition entrants consistently ranked it among the best!

What’s for dinner?

Students rave about this place for its incredible menu, with a host of Turkish dishes cooked with care and precision. To find out more, click here to view the full restaurant menu.

How much will it cost?

Because Meze Mangal offers such an expansive menu, there’s something to suit all types of budget; starters are available from just £2.50 and mains will cost around £12.

Victoria Inn

Taking pride of place on a corner of a Peckham street, the Victoria Inn offers a welcome retreat for those wishing to escape the bustling city life. While the décor would suggest it’s a traditional London pub, the menu looks to push the boundaries of the traditional public house – with one example being the chorizo scotch egg.

How much will it cost?

While choices like the Rib Eye Steak at £16.50 push the Victoria Inn to the top end of our scale, the majority of dishes are available from between £8 and £12, so a dining experience certainly won’t break the bank.

Blues Kitchen

Great food and live music are always a winning combination, so there’s little surprise that The Blues Kitchen venues in Camden and Shoreditch received a hatful of votes from our students. From New Orleans Gumbo to St Louis Pork Chops, the restaurant aims to offer a dining experience of the deep-south at its very best. For those who don’t wish to eat, there’s also more than 100 varieties of rare and bourbon and rye whiskey available at the bar.

How much will it cost?

With Mac n’ Cheese just £8.50 and the Buffalo Chicken Burger a meagre £10, it’s about time you came along and experienced the Blues Kitchen for yourself. Click here for the Shoreditch menu, and here for the Camden menu.

La Rugoletta

For a true taste of Italy, a visit to La Rugoletta won’t disappoint. With venues in North and East Finchley, it has been winning praise and plaudits for many years for its perfect examples of Italian cuisine, all of which are available at a great price.

How much will it cost?

With starters as low as £1.90, pizzas for less than £8 and the likes of Spaghetti alla Bolognese for just £.740, there’s a reason why La Rugoletta was voted on numerous occasions by competition entrants! Check out their cheap and cheerful menu here.

Image Credit: Kevin Dooley (Flickr.com) Brasserie Zédel, The Big Chill

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