London restaurants: 4 ways to save big the next time you eat out

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London dinner
We've compiled a few tips to help bring down the bill so you can enjoy a nice meal like this one. Photo: Stijn Nieuwendijk

So we’ve finally made it through January, and the endless detoxing is over, hurrah! You may wish to celebrate by indulging in some of London’s most delicious eateries. But before you do, check out these tips to get a bit more bang for your buck when eating out in London.

1. TopTable

When booking online in many UK restaurants, you may find you’re automatically redirected to TopTable’s reservation engine. Beyond bookings, the site is well worth a look for the deals at hundreds of restaurants across the capital it collates with different offers to fit all budgets. You can get anything from 50% of your bill or a 2-for-1 deal, to set menus for under £20 per person. You can search by area, so if you’re on the hunt for a restaurant in Covent Garden for example, it’s well worth checking out TopTable and making a reservation before walking in—you may find you get a much better deal. If you’re staying in the UK for an extended period (or planning on eating out a lot!), then you can also accumulate TopTable points for every reservation made, which can be exchanged in participating restaurants. Similarly, Bookatable and Lastminute.com also have some excellent value restaurant deals that you can book directly online.

2. tastecard

This little gem can be found in many a Londoner’s wallet. It’s a discount card that will get you either 50% off the total food bill or a 2-for-1 deal at thousands of restaurants in the UK. Membership costs £79.99 for a year, but you can also sign up for a 30-day trial—perfect if you’re visiting for a short stay or want to try before you buy. Instead of having to wait seven days to receive your trial card, download the free tastecard app and sign up for a free trial (with your UK/Ireland address), and you’re ready to go!

3. Time Out Card

Slightly cheaper and with a purely London focus, the Time Out card gets you masses of discounts on restaurants and bars, as well as cinema, shows and exhibitions. At £49 for a year, you can reap all sorts of benefits, from 2-for-1 cocktails and discounts off your restaurant bills, plus up to 50% off a whole host of London’s best attractions. It makes absolute financial sense if you’re staying in London longer term, but even for short stays if you’re planning on eating and drinking out and visiting lots of tourist landmarks, this is still a great way to save some pounds.

4. Travelzoo & Wowcher Vouchers

There are so many different vouchers to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. Having trialled a good few different options, Travelzoo and Wowcher tend to offer a good cross section of London restaurant deals for all pockets. Travelzoo’s slightly more subtle approach (they won’t completely overrun your inbox with emails), makes it a winner in my book. Check out the Local Deals for incredible offers at some of London’s swankier venues—think celebrity chef restaurants with free champagne or cocktails thrown in—a great way to have a high-end night out on a cheapo budget. For more mass market fare, Wowcher serves up lots of different dining options at rock bottom prices, with regular meals for two including a drink for under £10 a person.

About the author

Nina Derham

About the author: Nina is a freelance travel writer who will leave no stone unturned in her quest to discover the very best on offer in a destination. She recently relocated to London after spending over four years in Madrid and is currently enjoying rediscovering her home town.

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