Where To Go For A £50 Dinner For Two

Some of our favourite London restaurants for an affordable meal.
Where To Go For A £50 Dinner For Two image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Everyone would like to go out to eat regularly, but London is an expensive city. Fortunately there are places you can go that aren’t going to make you anxiously do maths in your head. All the restaurants in this guide fall into the broad affordable bracket. Whether you’re sharing a few things or having a bowl of noodle soup to yourself, they’re all much better than loitering outside Itsu. And sure, you might spend dinner complaining about your respective landlords—but at least you’re doing it somewhere with great food.


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerCatching Up With MatesLunch
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This bustling KBBQ spot doubles up as a safety blanket when you’re overwhelmed by Carnaby Street and coming here in a group is a must. Whether that’s to demolish some ramyun or work your way through Myung Ga’s meaty set menus is up to you. If you’re doing it right, none of the wooden table will be visible because it’ll be covered in plates of sizzling bibimbap, spicy japche, and refreshing banchan. 

Although Bébé Bob comes from the same family that brought London a famously excessive restaurant featuring a ‘Press For Champagne’ button, this colourful rotisserie spot on Soho Square is aimed at the masses. Vegetarians should scroll on now because chicken is the name of the game here. Four is the maximum group size available—ideal for a catch-up—and the well-priced chicken and chips doesn’t disappoint.

You’ll find Bancone on a quaint little street in Covent Garden and it’s one of those certified Nice Pasta Bars where you can very easily create the illusion that you’re spending a lot when you’re not. The signature silk handkerchief and confit egg yolk pasta is just over a tenner and those low prices mean this place is permanently popular.


There’s a humming vibe to Seto on pretty much every night of the week. The neighbourhood Japanese restaurant in Camden is a happy place for solo diners, students, and hungry friends looking for the nourishment of an excellent bowl of ramen. The menu is pretty extensive and the crispy homemade gyoza should always be on your order, but it’s the chicken and pork broths that you come for. If you’re into low-lit ambience then this isn’t your place, but if you’re in the mood for a delicious, good-value dinner, then Seto is a must.

A New Orleans-style restaurant in Camden, Trap Kitchen serves huge platters of XXL lobster tails, snow crab clusters, bang bang prawns, and some outrageous Oreo waffles. On top of all of this and slushie cocktails, the best thing about Trap Kitchen are the set-price platters so you won’t have any politics at the end of the meal by cracking out your calculator. Please note, do not bring any vegetarians here. We repeat, do not bring any vegetarians here. 


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Mainlining juicy carnitas or excellent roasted broccoli tacos with friends at Homies On Donkeys is our idea of self-care. The Leytonstone taqueria has a market stall atmosphere (a nod to its roots) and its plastic seating is more than comfy enough to settle in and work your way through the salsa platter and the slightly earthy, bitter enmoladas de huitlacoche which comes smothered in a moreish, spicy mole.

Andu is a no-nonsense, BYOB, Ethiopian vegan cafe in Dalston. We say it’s no-nonsense because there’s only one thing to order here: their sampler platter. It’s made up of six dishes, from vegetables to stews, which are served with rice or sour injera. We recommend opting for the latter for maximum mopping. It’s a great and cost-efficient spot, and there’s a nice atmosphere of friends, family, and whoever else breaking bread in a comfortable space.

Umut is one of Dalston’s best ocakbasi restaurants. The smells coming off the grill consistently make our stomach do somersaults and the lamb ribs are Dalston’s finest. Once upon a time we’d wander in here and eat soup with elderly Turkish men which, admittedly, may not be the vibe you’re looking for on a Wednesday night. Either way it’s a casual, cosy place for a meal. Don’t be put off by the laid-back service: it’s on you to get someone’s attention.

Koya’s location in London Fields feels like a no-brainer for a low-key catch-up. It’s a tiny spot open until 10pm with tempura and curry udon bowls, kara-age, and a load more. Given its in-and-out space, this Koya isn't as comfortable as other places but there are cosy corners to pitch up in and come summer, the pavement seating makes for a breezy dinner spot. 


Dr.Noodle’s little white-tiled New Cross space only has eight or so tables, but you’ll find this place is popular with friends and solo diners alike. SE4 locals come to this handmade noodle specialist prepared, with bags jingling from the off licence and rumbling stomachs asking for beef broth. The bowl of soups are excellent, as are the bouncy noodles, and there are decent rice and vegetarian options for those less-inclined to a deep-fried frankfurter.

Walk up to Eat Vietnam most nights of the week and you’ll find huddled bodies inside its doorway. The reason being, this Vietnamese spot in Deptford is making some of the best food around. Its summer rolls are plump and proud, filled to the brim with prawns and herbs, and the same goes for its broths and crispy pancakes. Bear in mind that this is a restaurant that SE8 locals (and those from further afield) know and love, so a call ahead doesn’t go amiss.

We’re big fans of Fish, Wings & Tings and not just because it falls under the logic of fun to say, fun to do. Danclair’s is from the same people and conveniently located around the corner in Brixton Village Market. They even serve Fish, Wings & Tings’ excellent cod fritters, but you’ve got pepper prawns, BBQ pork ribs, and homemade chicken empanadas on the sharing plates menu too. The rum punch is perfect for kicking off an overdue catch-up and the huge mural on the wall will add a little colour to any casual weeknight dinner. 

This Kurdish spot in Peckham is immensely popular for its BYOB policy and big juicy shawarmas, but it’s the ‘falafel beauty’ that has us coming back. Not only is Yada’s whole heartedly delicious—soft lamb in fragrant pomegranate and walnut stews, piles of rice and stuffed vegetables, pistachio hummus, crispy chunks of chicken shawarma are favourites—but it’s also a place to be. Groups pitch up for the night, dates cosy up by the wall, and everyone pops to the shop for another bottle.

An evening spent sharing Nandine’s beharat fries and kubba dumplings is a good evening indeed. The Kurdish restaurant on Camberwell Church Street isn’t just a good and affordable restaurant—it’s just a great restaurant for pretty much any occasion. The narrow space mixes tables big and small, but is the perfect setup for anyone looking to share meltingly good aubergine platters or tender seven-spice chicken shish straight from the ocakbasi grill.

Pizza is a great and affordable unifier and, for some people, so too are negronis that are under a tenner. Theo’s has both and they’re just two of the reasons we’ll always love this sourdough pizza spot with locations in Camberwell and Elephant and Castle. The former is our favourite for date night, with whitewashed walls and candlelit wooden booths, but both are eternally easy choices for a brilliant-value and no-brainer dinner.


Happily, there’s no need for a reservation at this airy Persian spot off Kensington High Street, which is ideal for an impromptu midweek dinner. Start by getting some freshly baked naan—that you’ll smell as soon as you walk in—and a mixed mezze starter. The chicken biryani is really great, as are the charred lamb chops, but the koobideh is some of the juiciest around and the star dish. The hefty portions mean you almost always end up getting some to take away which is always a plus. 

Given that you can order everything from Tsiakkos & Charcoal’s menu for £35—from unsocially garlic-packed tzatziki, to pork and chicken souvlaki, to a hefty bowl of moussaka, to sweet slow-burnt pork shoulder—it’s easy to understand why the Greek spot in Notting Hill is such a favourite among groups of friends. It'll push you a little over a £50 for two budget, but in this part of London it can't be beaten for its good times, holiday-feeling atmosphere.

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