Where to Eat in London on a Family Budget

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Learn where to eat in London when you’re on your family vacation budget. These kid-friendly restaurants serve a variety of classic British foods that everyone will love.

The photo collage shows several restaurant store fronts in London.

While I firmly believe that it is more important to know what you want to eat in London rather than the specifics of the where, I also know that it can be so stressful trying to plan a family trip and sometimes you just want reliable recommendations!

You can keep things super flexible by just knowing the best foods to eat in London that you can find on most menus no matter where you eat.

Just for you, I took the time to pull together a list of all the restaurants where our family ate during our 6 days in London over spring break.

Are these the best restaurants in London? Well I believe that is the most suggestive question you could possibly ask.

The best truly depends on what you’re looking for. In our case, we needed places to eat that fit this description:

  1. Kid-Friendly
  2. Budget-Friendly
  3. Conveniently Located
  4. Could Easily Get a Table
  5. Decent Service
  6. Delicious Food

We enjoyed every single meal we had on our trip. So for us? These absolutely were the best places to eat at the moment we needed them and I feel absolutely comfortable recommending them to you.

St. George’s Tavern

The photo collage shows St. George's Tavern next to photos of the food they offer.

This adorable English pub was just over a block away from our AirBNB. It was the home of our first meal in London and was so good we went back a second time for our last meal in London before we left.

Our servers both times were warm and friendly and so very helpful to my crew of overtired Americans in need of sustenance.

We dined in the bar area the first time and the official dining room on our last night. Both tables felt so cozy and the menu is the same in both places.

St. George’s Pub
View their menu here.

The inside of the pub with barstools and the bar in the back.

What we ordered:

  1. Slow-Cooked Beef Rib, Shin & Pulled Brisket Pie: So good my husband had it both times we visited.
  2. Classic Cheese & Bacon Burger: So good, my daughter ordered it both times.
  3. Baked Macaroni and Cheese: So good, my other daughter ordered it both times.
  4. Garlic Chicken Schnitzel: I had the beef pie the first night and this dish on our last night. I loved them both.

Many of these items are on my list of the top 20 foods to eat in London for good reason. If you want classic English fare, this is an excellent choice.

The Mayfair Chippy

The food board at the restaurant next to photos of the entree items.

My friend Sam who grew up in London told me this was the best place to get fish and chips in London so we had to make a reservation and check it out.

Is it actually the best? We only tried this one spot, so I have no comparison but it was absolutely DELICIOUS.

If you plan to go, you will definitely want to make reservations in advance. There was a long line waiting and the restaurant is quite small inside. I loved being able to get seated immediately when we were so hungry.

The Mayfair Chippy
14 North Audley Street, London
View their menu here.

A plate of fried and battered prawns with tartar sauce.

What we ordered:

  1. Baked Sourdough Bread with Smoked Cod’s Roe and Butter: This was heavenly after the long chilly walk to the restaurant that morning.
  2. The Mayfair Classic: Fried haddock, chips, mushy peas, tartar sauce, and curry sauce
  3. Fried King Prawns plus a side of Chips
  4. Fried Cod plus a side of Chips
  5. Fried Cod plus a side of Loaded Chips

This was way too much food for our family of four. The servings of fish were quite large and the servings of chips were very generous.

We could have saved quite a bit of money by sharing just 2 orders of chips amongst the four of us.

Spaghetti House

The photo collage shows the outside of the restaurant next to some of the entrees.

I first went to London in the 90’s with my own parents. At the time, my mom wasn’t a fan of the food we encountered. We stumbled upon the Spaghetti House and she loved it so much we dined there every night for the rest of the week.

My kids thought this story about their grandma was absolutely hysterical and they asked me before the trip if Spaghetti House was still open. I searched for it, found that it was, and it immediately became a bucket list item that was essential to our family trip.

30 years later and I can say I have absolutely no regrets about dining at this restaurant with my own children. It was one of their favorite meals from the entire trip.

Spaghetti House
There are multiple locations, we dined at the 66 Haymarket, St. James’s, London location.
View their menu here.

Two chairs at a table in the restaurant.

What we ordered:

  1. Pane Rustico: a selection of traditional Italian breads that included my favorite–grissini.
  2. Spaghetti alla Bolognese: A meaty tomato sauce.
  3. Penne alla Norma: Pasta in tomato sauce with fried eggplant and basil.
  4. Penne all’Arrabbiata: Spicy tomato sauce.
  5. Maccheroni Cacio e Pepe: Creamy parmesan and pepper
  6. Pistachio Gelato for the Kids
  7. Poached Pears and Gelato: My husband and I shared.

The food was delicious and comforting after having walked nearly 25,000+ steps on our adventure out to Greenwich to see the Prime Meridian that afternoon. We were simply starving and in need of a cozy meal. Spaghetti House delivered in spades.

Ole & Steen

A Danish bakery in London, the store front next to pictures of their pastries.

My husband discovered this Danish coffee house and bakery one morning and brought back that gorgeous braided braid for Easter Sunday.

We stopped in for a quick lunch one afternoon and I was thrilled to see such a simple selection of yummy sandwiches.

Ole & Steen
Locations all around London
See what’s on their menu here.

The inside of the Danish bakery.

What we ordered:

  1. Ham and Cheese Toasties: For literally everyone. Quick and easy and so delicious.

This place felt like a modern, Danish version of the US favorite Panera.

The Ivy

The inside table next to photos of entrees.

Even families need an occasional splurge when it comes to dining out on vacation. We saved money on our food budget in London in other ways, but I wanted to find a nicer spot to go for our special Easter Sunday dinner.

I asked my friend Maggy that lives in London for her suggestions and she immediately offered up The Ivy.

I took one peek when we stepped inside and knew she had suggested exactly the right place.

The Ivy
Locations all around London but we dined specifically at The Ivy Victoria
See what’s on their menu here.

The bar at the Ivy restaurant.

My pictures do not do the decor justice, there are so many lovely details around every corner. The ladies’ bathroom alone was one of the prettiest we’ve ever seen and both my daughters had to go take some pics. ha!

The Ivy bathroom is pink and covered in flowers.
The Ladies’ Toilet in The Ivy Victoria Brasserie, London.

But for as beautiful as the restaurant was, the food was even more perfect.

There was nothing classic “London” about it, just elegant food prepared well and served by an amazing waitstaff. It was a perfect place to celebrate Easter.

What we ordered:

  1. Moroccan Lamb Rump: Harissa spiced couscous, golden raisins, broad beans, pine nuts, with a ras el hanout tomato sauce. A fun spin on the classic Easter lamb for my husband.
  2. Chicken Milanese: Brioche-crumbed chicken breast with baby plum tomatoes, capers, rocket, Parmesan, and pesto. This was my choice and I loved it. My server told me it is one of their most popular menu items.
  3. Mexican-Style Flat-Iron Chicken: Tomato and pepper salsa, guacamole, queso fresco cheese, blue taco strips, coriander cress. My daughter chose this and had rave reviews.

All three of those dishes can be seen in the photo collage above.

My younger daughter was still full from the fish and chips we had for lunch so she simply ordered the sourdough bread basket from the starters and an order of green beans and roasted almonds from the side dish menu. Both were amazing.

Borough Market

The photo collage show several food stalls at the open air food market.

There are open air food markets around London that add a very fun dining experience to your trip. Perhaps the most famous of these is Borough Market, not too far from Tower Bridge and London Bridge.

We headed over here to find the famous chocolate covered strawberries in cups and were totally overwhelmed by the crowds.

I very much suggest you avoid going RIGHT at lunch time or dinner time. Try to find an off time to go and poke around.

On the way out, my husband ordered a sausage roll from a local stand and it was absolutely amazing. I can only imagine what other goodies we missed in the crush of the crowd.

Peggy Porschen

The photo collage shows a series of tea shop pictures at Peggy Porchen.

If you’re traveling on a family budget, be sure to note that afternoon tea at Peggy Porschen’s is quite a splurge.

You could easily save a ton of money by ordering a la carte upon your arrival or by doing morning tea vs. afternoon tea.

Otherwise, be definitely sure to skip either lunch or dinner and make this one of your main meals of the day.

Peggy Porschen
Two locations, we dined at the Belgravia location which was around the corner from our AirBNB
See what’s on their menu here.
Check out their full blown afternoon tea menu here.

The pink treats on a three-tier tray.

You can read all about our afternoon tea in London here if you want the full scoop.

However, know that we reserved a private table in their tea room for afternoon tea for four people.


The photo collage shows a series of pizza shots from Zizzi.

In my opinion, the biggest enemy on family vacation is hunger. Over the course of our week in London, every single one of us had a minor meltdown, but thankfully never at the same time.

One particularly busy morning, we were running low on fumes and so hungry. One of us, who shall not be named, had her meltdown right at lunchtime and Zizzi’s pizza came to the rescue at a crucial moment.

This was an unplanned restaurant stop that we found out of sheer necessity but it fell right into our laps at the perfect moment.

Would I make a point to stop here again? Maybe? I wouldn’t call this a top restaurant in London, but it was exactly what we needed when we needed it. And to me? That is pure family vacation magic.

Many locations, we dined at the 15 Cardinal Walk, Victoria, London location.
See what’s on their menu here.

A fresh baked pizza.

What we ordered:

  1. Pasta Crisps: Our server brought these for free when he spotted we were in meltdown mode. I could have hugged him.
  2. Garlic Bread
  3. Pizza: I can’t find the specifics on their menu but mine had goat cheese and balsamic onions and was fantastic. I split it with my younger daughter. My husband ordered a pepperoni pizza that came with fresh basil.
  4. Casareccia Pesto Rosso: A creamy red pesto and mascarpone sauce, with spicy harissa chicken breast topped with spring onions. (Featured in the photo collage above.) This was a generous portion and we all took a few nibbles of it.

Marks & Spencer Food

I seriously regret not getting a picture of the inside of Marks & Spencer but I was there under very stressful circumstances. When the airline lost my daughter’s suitcase, we had to buy literally everything she needed all in one spot within hours of arriving in London.

Once we squared away her clothing situation, we strolled through the Marks & Spencer Food department of the store. I was in absolute heaven. SO MANY amazingly delicious looking prepared foods to takeaway and enjoy at your AirBNB or rental.

We stocked up on some candies and small cakes but I could have easily spent an hour poring over everything in the aisles.

You could easily save money on your vacation dining budget by stocking up on some breakfast pastries or snacks for keeping back wherever you’re staying.

Marks & Spencer
We were specifically at the Cardinal Place location in Victoria but there are locations dotted all around London.

The photo collage shows the inside and outside of a London pub.

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