With thousands of students returning to university this month, we’re being reminded of our student days, when we barely had two pennies to rub together. Luckily, we have a little more money these days, but we still love a bargain. Read below to find out where to make the most of London’s cheapest eats.

Boxcar steak on wooden board

Boxcar Butcher & Grill, Marylebone 

What’s the big deal: This butchery-to-cooking concept features a ground-floor dining room, which serves up a simple three-course menu in the evening. Every day, from 3-6.30pm, diners can enjoy 50% off either the Boxcar burger, or this sirloin steak, with the meat for both provided by the in-house butcher.

Where: 23 New Quebec Street, W1H 7SD

Crazy Bear ribs with chili

Crazy Bear, Fitzrovia 

What’s the big deal: Looking for somewhere to enjoy lunch without breaking the bank? Head to Crazy Bear, where you’ll find a three-course express menu for just £19.95. Far cheaper than the restaurant’s evening offering, dishes include chicken satay with peanut sauce, and a lamb massaman curry, served with potatoes and shallots.

Where: 26-28 Whitfield Street, W1T 2RG

Gillrays steak rare on fork

Gillray’s, South Bank

What’s the big deal: If lunch by the river is more your thing, Gillray’s Steakhouse offers up a fantastic daily deal. Here, diners can tuck into steak and chips for just £15 per person, from 12-4pm. That also means there’s more money left over to spend on Gillray’s tempting desserts, including the likes of sticky toffee pudding with clotted ice cream.

Where: London Marriott County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, Southbank, SE1 7PB

Inamo

Inamo Camden, Covent Garden and Soho

What’s the big deal: At futuristic Inamo, where you can place your order and even book a taxi home using the interactive tables, you’ll find an eight-dish sharing menu for just £26 per person. Dishes to try include chicken wings glazed in a tangy Korean barbecue sauce, and vegetable spring rolls served with house-made chilli sauce.

Where: 265 Hampstead Road, NW1 7QX; 11-14 Hanover Place, WC2E 9JP; 134-136 Wardour Street, W1F 8ZP

Oxo Tower burger and sweet potato fries

Oxo Tower Bar, South Bank 

What’s the big deal: The lunch offering at Oxo Tower’s Bar is quite the deal, with diners able to enjoy a main and an alcoholic beverage for just £18. Tuck into the likes of this coleslaw burger, made with Wagyu beef and served with spicy sweet potato chips and sesame mayonnaise. The views of the Thames are an added bonus too.  

Where: Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, SE1 9PH

percy and founders roast beef and vegetables with gravy

Percy & Founders, Fitzrovia 

What’s the big deal: Serving wholesome comfort food, Percy & Founders is always a good shout for an end of week dinner. From 5pm on Sundays, (and all-day Monday), guests can enjoy 50% off food. On the menu, you can expect tempting dishes such as crispy squid with a chilli and lime dip, or fish goujons with house-made tartare sauce.

Where: 1 Pearson Square, W1W 7EY

Octopus at Rambla

Rambla, Soho 

What’s the big deal: From 12-5pm daily, guests at Victor Garvey’s tapas joint Rambla can dine from the Menu del Dia (£18 for three courses). Dishes to try include patatas bravas with whipped aioli, and braised Oxtail Canelones with a Nevat cheese sauce and caramelised onions.

Where: 64 Dean Street, W1D 4QQ

Sardine onglet seared steak and vegetables

Sardine, Islington 

What’s the big deal: At this Stevie Parle outfit, Mondays are the evening to visit. That’s because you can enjoy an Onglet steak (cooked to your preference of course), served with a side of potatoes, greens, sauce and a glass of house red wine for just £15.

Where: Parasol Art Gallery, 15 Micawber Street, N1 7TB

Steak and chips at Smith's Bar & Grill. Credit Emily Bowden

 

Smith’s Bar & Grill, Paddington 

What’s the big deal: At Smith’s, there’s a daily set menu, where you can enjoy three courses for £16. On the menu, you’ll find dishes such as chicken liver parfait served on toasted brioche, and traditional fish & chips, complete with tartare sauce. Finish up with an indulgent dessert such as black tea sticky toffee pudding. 

Where: 25 Sheldon Square, Paddington, W2 6EY

Plates of food, and wine, at Tramshed

Tramshed, City 

What’s the big deal: Tramshed, famous for its Damien Hirst ‘Cock and Bull’ installation, is the place to go for a great-value lunch. Every weekday, guests can enjoy two courses for just £9.75 from the weekly changing menu. On your visit, you might enjoy the likes of corn chowder with chicken and bacon, or perhaps charred broccoli with pickled walnuts.

Where: 32 Rivington Street, EC2A 3LX

For more frugal food options that don’t scrimp on quality, check out our pick of the best cheap eats in London