London: Where to eat for cheap near the West End theatre district

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London Theatre District
Catching a show in London's West End is fun, but where can you eat for cheap? Photo: David King

Scored some bargain theater tickets? I’m here to really make your evening complete, and let you know the best place to grab some seriously tasty food before you sit down to be seriously entertained.

There are plenty of menus catering to the London theater lovers, and they can offer brilliant value for money. On the other hand, West End theaters are perfectly located for some of London’s best cheap eats. Either option is better than filling up on over priced ice cream in the interval. I recommend saving that money for a post-theater ice at Scoop instead.

Set menus and pre-theater specials

These are pricier than the usual eating-out options usually recommended on EuroCheapo, but they offer an excellent value for the money and, combined with your theater ticket, offer a great London experience. Do remember to book ahead to guarantee a table, and let your waiter or waitress know when you need to be in the theater: it would be a tragedy to have to rush your dessert.

Brasserie Zedel

Go for the cheap set menus at classy Brasserie Zedel. Photo: Ewan M

Brasserie Zedel
20 Sherwood Street

Brasserie Zedel is really one of the best impress-for-less eating places in London. It’s a large, buzzy bistro that oozes Art Deco style. In fact, it’s so stylish it’s hard to believe their prices. The prix fixe is £8.95 for two courses and £11.75 for three: pretty unbelievable when it’s pretty hard to get a decent steak for that price in London. The service is swift and slick, so it’s a good option even if the prix fixe doesn’t take your fancy.

 

 

Boyd’s Brasserie
8 Northumberland Avenue

Going to see some classic British theater? This restaurant, within a 19th century hotel building, offers fantastic reworkings of classic Brit food. Prices are £16.90 for two courses, or three for £19.90. Their starters menu—a British take on tapas—gives an idea of the type of food on offer here: think potted shrimps, Devon crab and haggis.

Kettners

Kettner’s has been going strong since 1867. Photo: Ewan M

Kettner’s
29 Romilly Street

From the outside you might think that Kettner’s is not suitable for a budget-conscious eats. Or perhaps when you’re on the inside too—we don’t normally recommend places known for their champagne bars! But, with their pre- and post-theater menus, there’s the opportunity to experience this famous restaurant, which opened in 1867, for less. Two courses are £18.50 and three courses are £21.50. I’d be tempted to go for the post-theater menu—it’ll be busier, but you’ll really get a taste of the old-school glamor for which Kettner’s is renowned for.

Related: Affordable hotels near London’s biggest attractions

Cheap eats always available

There are loads of cheap eats options in the nearby area: check out the recommendations in our guide to Soho for starters.  But, be warned, some of the most popular don’t take bookings sometimes leading to lengthy queues. Get there early so you have time to enjoy your food before you enjoy the theatre.

Leon

Leon serves up fresh food at a quick pace and for a great price. Photo: Curtis Cronn

Leon
Multiple locations

Leon specializes in fresh fast food and can be found in a number of locations around London: the branches on The Strand or Carnaby Street are probably your best pre-theater bets. They’re open in the day, but offer casual dining from 6 PM each evening. Leon does a mean burger (we’re in love with their halloumi burger) for around £8, and an awesome range of sides. And leave room for their deserts. Their gluten free brownies are some of the best in London.

Flat Iron
17 Beak Street

This is a no bookings place. But, to be honest, you’d probably want to come here early to have any chance of getting a table anyway. It’s also not a place for veggies. Flat Iron does one thing and does it amazingly well: steak. A steak and house salad will set you back £10, although their tantalizing range of sides and impressive cocktail menu is likely to push the price up slightly. And, another bonus, popcorn while you wait. Very hip, very tasty.

Yalla Yalla

Chow down on a Middle Eastern feast for just a few pounds at Yalla Yall. Photo: juliepics

Yalla Yalla
1 Green’s Court

We’ve already told you about Hummus Bros—there’s a branch handily located on Shaftsbury Avenue, but for more chickpea joy check out Yalla Yalla, a small chain specializing in Middle Eastern street food. There are three in London, but the Green’s Court branch is closest to the theatrical action. All the classics are here, from tabbouleh to baba ghanoush, from roughly about £5 a plate.

About the author

Frances Ambler

Frances Ambler has been doing her best to live in London on the cheap since 2003. She works as an editor in one of London’s best – and free – museums, as well as writing for various websites including domesticsluttery.com. An avid second-hand shopper, ten years of "research" culminated in her most recent project: writing for the soon-to-be-published "Rough Guide to Vintage London."

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