Posted on 1st February 2024

16 Cheap Eats in Central London for Students

Surviving student life in London can feel like navigating a budgeting roller coaster—a thrilling experience that, at times, might throw you for a loop.

The good news? Amidst the busy cityscape and cultural smorgasbord, your taste buds are always in for a treat! And, although the city may take a nibble at your wallet, fear not! We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to the 16 best affordable eateries in central London.

So, tighten your purse strings, loosen your belt, and get ready to eat like a king.

Roti King, Kings Cross

If you use TikTok a lot, you’ve probably seen a video of Roti King on your feed and seen the queues that seem to stretch around Kings Cross. And you’ve probably wondered if the hype is real. The truth? It’s very real.

This Malaysian and Singaporean gem has been dishing out their heavenly roti canais for the past nine years, and the viral sensation is no accident. The food at Roti King can simply be understood as an ode to authentic street food. Sure, the lines might seem daunting, but trust me, each bite is a passport to the lands of amazing food.

Regency Cafe, Westminster

Longing for the ultimate greasy spoon experience? Look no further than the iconic Regency Cafe. For seasoned Londoners, the Regency Cafe is an excellent spot with a homely atmosphere that’s sure to make you feel right at home. It’s also hailed as one of the best cheap eats in central London. Here you can indulge in a classic English breakfast or go to town on a perfect baked potato.

Seoul Bakery, Bloomsbury

For all you K-pop fans out there, Seoul Bakery is calling.  Imagine the beats of BTS and Blackpink setting the mood as you step into a cosy space covered in messages from previous visitors. It may be small, just two floors, but boy does it have a big reputation. This little refuge serves up affordable portions of mouth-watering Korean eats like beef bulgogi and delicious rolls of kimbap. So, whether you’re a seasoned K-pop fan or just craving some authentic Korean flavours, Seoul Bakery is the place to be. 

Happy London, Piccadilly Circus

Lost in the food madness of Piccadilly? Fear not, Happy is here to transform your indecision into fun. With a menu that appears to stretch on forever, you’ll never be bored thanks to their tempting choices – they offer everything from sushi to finger-licking ribs. Situated in Piccadilly Circus, this is much more than just a restaurant; it’s a great place to meet up with mates. So, if you’re prepared to be joyfully overwhelmed by options and flavour explosions, Happy is your ticket to food that feels, well, happy.

Le Relais De Venise, Marylebone

 Ah, the culinary wonders of Le Relais De Venise! Be prepared to queue – because yes, everyone wants a taste of this Parisian magic. The menu here is as simple as it is delicious: you start with a crisp, fresh salad, followed by a mouth-watering portion of steak and chips. And let’s not forget the best part – a sauce so divine that they guard the recipe like a treasure. As a student, one of the best things about Le Relais De Venise is that not only are the fries bottomless, but the meal is priced at a wallet-friendly £24.

Pizza Union, Holborn

It’s fair to say that Pizza rules the uni world, so a guide to the best cheap eats in central London wouldn’t be complete without it having a mention. Our choice has to be Pizza Union, a stand out from the crowd that offers a convenient and affordable pizza experience. From as little as £5.95 you can enjoy a quick cheesy pizza fix. The menu offers a variety of traditional pizzas, including classics such as Margherita and pepperoni, to suit all tastes. And if you’re feeling up for it, you can indulge with their gelato or Sicilian cannolis.

BAO, Soho 

Next on our list of cheap eats in central London has to be BAO. If you go during lunchtime, you can have your pick of a starter, bao buns and a rice dish for just £15. This incredible lunchtime deal is a game changer, especially if you’ve got some downtime between lectures.

Beigel Bake, Brick Lane

Welcome to the much loved Beigel Bake, Brick Lane’s very first bagel bakery. Thanks to the fact that the shop is open 24 hours a day, Bagel Bake has become a certified late-night haven for those sudden bagel cravings. The shop serves freshly baked bagels every day, with staples such as salted beef, salmon and cream cheese. So, whether you’re looking for a late-night snack or an early-morning bite to eat before lectures, Beigel Bake is the place to go.

Rosa’s Thai, Soho

In the mood for a break from the usual uni grub? Then head to Rosa’s Thai, an eatery where value for money meets mouth-watering Thai cuisine. With every dish, you are transported to the heart of Thailand with the alluring aroma of chicken satays and pad thais. And here’s the student perk – a healthy 15% discount. So, if you’re looking for a bite to eat that will shake up the monotony without breaking the bank, Rosa’s Thai is a must-visit.

Bunsik, Camden

Fancy some Korean street food in Camden that won’t burn a hole in your pocket? We know just the place: Bunsik. 

“Bunsik” in Korean is said to mean affordable food, thus making it an ideal choice for hungry students. While their potato-studded corn dogs are pretty much the star of the show, Bunsik also keeps it simple and satisfying with quick bites like kimbap and tteokbokki – chewy rice sticks in a sweet and spicy sauce.

Govindas, Soho

If you’re a veggie looking for some amazing cheap eats in central London go ahead and give Govinda’s in Soho a try. This place is a one-of-a-kind vegetarian eatery that serves up traditional Indian goodness at super affordable prices. What sets it apart? Platter-style meals that are different every time you visit. For just £7.95 you can indulge in an unbeatable platter of 5 delicious dishes. And here’s the icing on the cake: you can pair your food with a refreshing Lassis or a fragrant Rose Milkshake.

Marugame Udon, Oxford Circus

Craving delicious and affordable Japanese noodles? Marugame Udon has you covered! They make the noodles right in front of you, so you know it’s super fresh. Enjoy a warm bowl of tasty broth that’s sure to make you feel cosy inside. And the best part? It won’t cost you much! Marugame Udon is perfect for cheap eats in central London. Want to make it even more exciting? Add your favourite tempura for just 85p. Get ready for a yummy Japanese meal that’s kind to your wallet!

Ma Petite Jamaica, Camden

Tucked away in Camden, Ma Petite Jamaica is cosy but full of character. Here you’ll find Jamaican classics like ackee and saltfish, jerk chicken, curried mutton and more. It’s the place to go if you want to bring the best of Jamaican flavour to the streets of London. And guess what? Affordable prices make it the perfect spot for students looking for a tasty escape. If you’re looking for a simple but tasty Jamaican feast without breaking the bank, Ma Petite Jamaica in Camden is the place to be!

Good Friend, Chinatown

Yes, you read that right, it’s Good Friend not fried. Like the other eats we’ve mentioned in this blog, Good Friend Chicken is another Tiktok hit. This Taiwanese eatery always has long queues, and it’s all down to the chicken bites, which have the perfect crunchy coating. Witnesses say you can hear the delicious crunch from miles away.

Al Dente, Fitzrovia 

Pasta may be another everyday staple for a student, but that doesn’t mean it has to be ordinary! At Al Dente, they’re redefining your pasta experience without breaking the bank. You and a group of mates can enjoy big heaping bowls of fresh pasta goodness with prices ranging between £9-10. One of the best things about Al Dente is that all their pasta and sauces are made in-house which makes this spot unbeatable in value and taste. Say goodbye to boring pasta forever.

Eat Tokyo, Soho

Who can say no to a delicious Bento box? I know we certainly can’t, that’s why we’re putting this spot as one of the best cheap eats in London. Eat Tokyo’s got you covered with a range of affordable bento options starting at just £9.50. Their boxes are not only easy on the pocket but also super filling, which is perfect for student appetites.

Unbeatable rooms, amazing amenities and the city at your door? You can find it all at AXO Student Living in central London – Secure your spot today!