Going out for dinner is a time to unwind, indulge and catch up with loved ones over a few plates of food. But often, with so much on offer, even choosing what you want to eat can be challenging - and an unwelcome stress on what is otherwise a lovely time. Thankfully, restaurants in London and beyond have a solution for such a dilemma, and that’s a tasting menu. For these, guests are treated to a selection of the chef's best dishes, and it can range anywhere from four to 20 courses (note: it’s worth bringing your appetite). Often the downside is that these can rack up a hefty bill, with a majority of the options in London coming in north of £100. So we’ve decided to track down the best affordable tasting menus, where you can feast for less than the three digit counterparts, and with many costing you less than half of that.
There’s always a good reason to head out for food, whether it’s to catch up with friends or celebrate an anniversary, so it’s important to have plenty of choice when it comes to finding your restaurant. We’ve got a selection of fine dining options, including a spot that boasts a Michelin star, as well as a more low key eatery that's set on a boat. With this variety also comes a range of budgets, so it’s easier to narrow down, whether you’re after somewhere alarmingly close to payday, or feeling reasonably flush.
One thing we can guarantee you is that these are all tasting menus under £100, with many of the cheap tasting menus coming in at under £50 - all whilst still maintaining a consistent level of quality. So what are you waiting for? Take a look through our list to find your next big meal out, get it booked, and then that truely is all of the ‘hard work’ done.
What: With James Cochran at the helm, it’s no surprise that 12:51 offers one of the best tasting menus in the city. Cochran has Caribbean and Scottish heritage, but grew up by the sea in Kent, and through his food you can experience a combination of these cuisines. There is also a veggie menu available, along with an optional drinks pairing.
How much: £49 per person
Where: 107 Upper Street, N1 1QN
Book now: 12:51
Perilla, Newington Green
What: Perilla is tucked away in Newington Green and offers small European plates in a pared-back setting. Chef Ben Marks is one of London's most exciting chefs, and his cooking combines smart technique honed at The Square with seasonal ingredients - expect plates like squid and Iberico pork scotch egg, and roast hen of the woods mushroom with Jerusalem artichoke sauce. If you’re someone who likes to order a little bit of everything, your bank balance will thank you for opting for the tasting menu here, where you can still enjoy five courses for a fraction of the price.
How much: £66 per person
Where: 1-3 Green Lanes, N16 9BS
Book now: Perilla
Casa Fofo, Dalston
What: Ex-Pidgin head chef Adolfo de Cecco has something very good going at Casa Fofo, which is just up the road from his old restaurant in Hackney Downs. The daily tasting menu is ever changing, with dishes taking a wide range of influence from all over the world. With just 16 covers inside, bookings aren’t always easy to come by, but the relaxed minimalist interiors are a lovely place to spend an evening.
How much: £68 per person
Where: 158 Sandringham Road, E8 2HS
Book now: Casa Fofo
What: London’s preeminent zero waste restaurant is at the very top of its game these days, serving up a menu of absolutely exceptional creations that are just as delicious as they are inventive and worthy. Given the amount of work that goes into finding zero waste workaround for all sorts of laborious processes, it’s a marvel that Silo’s ‘All In’ menu comes in at just £75 a head.
How much: £75 per person
Where: CRATE Brewery, Queens Yard, E9 5EN
Book now: Silo
Rogues, Bethnal Green
What: One of our favourite Hackney haunts, wine bar and restaurant Rogues is just a fantastic time, whether you’re here for a snack and a drink or a proper dinner. At just over fifty quid the set menu is very affordable, delivering delicious small plates, as well as one of the best bread courses in London - a potato and thyme sourdough with Bovril butter.
How much: £53.50 per person
Where: 460 Hackney Road, E2 9EG
Book now: Rogues
What: Tendril chef Rishim Sachdeva worked at Chiltern Firehouse and The Fat Duck before starting Tendril. With a lovely earthen-hued permanent restaurant now in Mayfair, Sachdeva is blazing a trail for plant-based cooking with an innovative tasting menu of mostly vegan and vegetarian food. At £45 a head it’s also wildly good value.
How much: £45 per person
Where: 5 Princes Street, W1B 2LQ
Book now: Tendril
What: Angelina combines an unlikely fusion of Japanese and Italian cuisine to create unique omakase and kaiseki tasting menus served in a laid back setting. Expect dishes like focaccia with peach and burrata, tuna with lardo and moromi, and langoustine ravioli with sansho and chicken. The kaiseki menu is 10 courses, and the omakase menu has four courses, with an option for wine pairing.
How much: Kaiseki menu £64 per person, omakase menu £46 per person
Where: 56 Dalston Lane, E8 3AH
Book now: Angelina
Six by Nico, Fitzrovia and Canary Wharf
What: Six by Nico is the tasting menu ONLY restaurant, that bases all six dishes around a theme that changes every six weeks. You could find anything from Sicilian inspired plates to ones that are inspired by fairytales, but something we can guarantee you is that it won't set you back an arm and a leg. Of course if you are looking to push the boat out, then you can also add on an optional wine pairing.
How much: £48 per person
Where: 33-41 Charlotte Street, W1T 1RR; 6 Chancellor Passage, E14 5EA
Book now: Six by Nico Fitzrovia, Six by Nico Canary Wharf
What: Set in Hackney, Nest is one of the many East London restaurants that has always driven for sustainability, offering a menu that changes every few weeks. Expect themes such as ‘vegetable season’ and ‘game season’, with eight courses of carefully curated dishes such as hen of the woods with black garlic and tomato and Baron Bigod tart.
How much: £75 per person
Where: 177 Morning Lane, E9 6LH
Book now: Nest
What: Pidgin is a Hackney based restaurant with one simple rule - change the menu every week and never repeat anything. Expect four courses of creative, seasonal dishes that can include anything from celeriac, chestnut and Kashmiri chilli, to beef rib with jaggery, mangetout and confit egg. Vegetarian, pescatarian and vegan menus are all available on request.
How much: £49 per person
Where: 52 Wilton Way, E8 1BG
Book now: Pidgin
What: If fusion food is your thing, then you’ll want to check out the tasting menu at Ayllu, which brings together the very best of Peru and Japan. There are four different tasting menus available that start at a mere £45 per person, with the top price only peaking at £80. Expect dishes like lomo saltado, black cod and ceviche.
How much: £39-65 per person
Where: 25 Sheldon Square, W2 6EY
Book now: Ayllu
What: This Peruvian inspired tasting menu is one for the seafood lovers in the capital, with half of the eight course menu containing fish. Along with this you can expect lots of veggie dishes and the kind of flavours that will transport you away from the hustle and bustle of London. Don’t worry if you are actually vegetarian, there is also a veggie menu that comes in marginally cheaper.
How much: £60 per person, or vegetarian option for £50 per person
Where: 383 King's Road, SW10 0LP
Book now: Chicama
Barge East, Stratford
What: ‘Taste of Barge’ is the six course tasting menu from Barge East that uses seasonal ingredients in its regularly changing menu, including those picked from the on-site garden. Set on a boat in East London, it’s one of the quirkier venues on this list, but since opening in 2018 it’s grown quite the following. There is also a wine pairing available at an additional cost for those that wish.
How much: £55 per person
Where: White Post Lane, E9 5EN
Book now: Barge East
Converted to the idea of a tasting menu but think you’re ready to push the boat out? Well we’ve also put together a list of the best tasting menus in London, regardless of budget (so expect some eye-wateringly pricey options). With a number of Michelin star restaurants included, it’s safe to say that you’re in good hands with these, with the likes of Core by Clare Smyth and Helene Darroze at The Connaught gracing the list. Of course you’ll also find some overlapping from our list of favourite affordable tasting menus, because they’re just that good. So get your glad rags on, and head out to one of the best tasting menus in London for an evening you won’t forget.