Great food doesn’t have to be expensive. While high prices often come with justification, there’s something special about finding a place that you’re shocked by how cheap it is. This list isn’t just about finding the cheapest meals, it’s about finding high quality for low price. London is full of fantastic restaurants that don’t charge you an arm and a leg for your meal. Some are rustic and homestyle, some are the greasy spoon type, and others are as sleek and modern as they come. Whether you’re feeding a family on a budget, a cheap college student, or just looking to save a couple bucks wherever you can, the restaurants on this list are guaranteed to give you the best bang for your buck!
There’s no better start to your day than a good breakfast – some even say it’s the most important meal of the day. But on those days that you can’t make it yourself before you head out the door for work or class, your wallet shouldn’t suffer for your nutrition! The restaurants in this section of the list will give you the energy you need to start the day without breaking the bank!
You’ll find Nate’s Shawarma in the Covent Garden Market building. Offering Middle Eastern dishes like shawarma and falafel alongside Canadian classics, Nate’s has one of the best breakfast deals in the downtown core. Offered daily until 11AM, the Nate’s Special is a crowd favourite. For the incredibly low price of $4.99, you’ll be getting two eggs cooked your way, bacon, toast, and home fries. After a Nate’s Special, you won’t have to rely on snacks to get you through until lunch, you’ll already be full and for only a crisp five-dollar bill. It’s hard to find a better deal than that. For just a dollar more, you can get yourself an omelette with up to three items tossed in alongside buttered toast and perfectly golden home fries. You can pick from a variety of ingredients to add to your omelette, from spinach to feta to bacon. If three doesn’t feel like enough, add another ingredient for only 75 cents. The lunch menu at Nate’s is similarly frugal with the same excellent quality. Grab a wrap or a burger for under $6 (before tax) while you roam through the market! Add fries and a drink for just $3 more. Nate’s Shawarma offers great deals all day, but their breakfast especially blew us away. If you find yourself downtown and searching for a thrifty breakfast or lunch, Nate’s Shawarma is definitely a place to check out!
Johnny’s is the go-to spot for many Londoners in the north end, especially for breakfast and brunch. Their menu doesn’t break the bank and is full of classics that will get your stomach full and your taste buds dancing. The breakfast platters are huge and wholesome. Eggs, home fries, pancakes, bacon, the whole works are coming out of the Johnny’s kitchen hot and fresh, just waiting for you to dive in and enjoy. Their lunch options are also stellar, offering a range of soups, salads, sandwiches, and other diner classics. Thankfully during brunching hours, they offer both breakfast and lunch options simultaneously. Johnny’s is popular among all age ranges. Big portions, fair prices, and friendly staff have created a legion of regulars that come through their doors at least once a week because a great deal is a great deal, no matter how old you are.
Lunch is the exciting time in the middle of the day when you finally get to chow down once again. It can feel like forever between breakfast and lunch (hence the invention of brunch), so you’ve got to make it count. However, a good lunch doesn’t have to take a big dent out of your daily budget. A cheap, quick, and easy lunch can motivate you through the rest of the work/school day or give you the energy to keep adventuring on your day off. No matter what your afternoon is looking like, these places have the best deals for your midday meal.
When you’re downtown and hunger pangs strike, there’s no better place to stop for lunch than the Squire. Their food, as we’ve mentioned so many times, is top tier quality and absolutely delicious. The fact that it’s also affordable is just icing on the cake that makes the Squire a perpetual favourite. Their lunch menu is extensive. You won’t find all of your favourites, but you will find most of them – including the nachos and the wings that we’ve featured previously. The true excitement lies with their wraps and their bowls. For just a tenner, you’ll get one of their fantastic lunch wraps accompanied by either fries, fresh kettle chips, or potato salad. One of their most popular wraps is their BLT, which includes both grilled pork belly and bacon, for a double hit of porky goodness. Their bowls are only $11, which borders on absurd for the size and quality of your meal. Ancient grains and kale are topped with your choice of ingredients, like the crispy popcorn chicken bowl, which has the crispy golden balls of chicken, coleslaw, sriracha mayo, sesame seeds, and a sweet soy glaze. The Squire also has vegan options, which is always appreciated. Their fried cauliflower and squash wrap and their Tex Mex bowl can both be made vegan upon request. You’ll be hard-pressed to go even a couple of days in the Santa Knows Best office without someone spending their lunch break with a trip to the Squire to take advantage of their amazing deals. With so much firsthand experience, you can be sure that our opinion is definitely informed and we can’t recommend the Squire’s lunch specials any more highly.
London Burgers is a classic style burger shack just west of the downtown core. Their varied menu, great food and low prices have made them a spot to go for both students of the nearby H.B. Beal and Catholic Central high schools and older Londoners alike. Their sign boasts a wide variety of quick and delicious lunches. Of course, their namesake burger is top notch, but they also have fantastic chicken burgers, hot dogs, gyros, and souvlaki. Their actual menu includes options like poutine, wraps, and salads. Despite having so much going on, their quality never suffers. It’s all absolutely stellar. The titular London Burger is one of their most expensive items, and yet it costs only $6.99, with the option to make it a combo for an additional $3.49. Top off the meal with a 20-ounce milkshake for only $5.25. London Burgers makes it easy to feed a group with a variety of tastes in a single place without costing an arm and a leg. Their low cost, delicious food will satisfy just about anyone.
You may remember Piero’s from our Best Pizza in London list. Well, their pizza isn’t just great, they’ve also got some of the best deals in the city. For the modest price of $4 plus taxes, you’ll end up with two slices of pizza and a can of soda. These aren’t just your average slice though, they’re massive. This deal is only available for walk-ins, so if you find yourself in Old South, craving a couple slices and only have a couple of toonies, Piero’s is only a short walk away. If you’re feeding a group and two slices just won’t be enough, the Piero’s Favourite deal is hard to beat. Two medium pizzas with four toppings each, a six pack of pop, and a dipping sauce for only $22.99, or upgrade to two large pizzas for an additional $3. At other pizza places, you’ll barely get one medium for that price, let alone two pies with four toppings each! Plus, you add on the drinks and the dip, and you’ve got a party on your hands for under $30! An even crazier deal is available for students. Four medium pizzas with two toppings each for only $20. That’s right – four pizzas, twenty bucks. All you need is a valid student ID. Piero’s is the epitome of bang for your buck in the pizza sector. One of the best pizzerias in the city and you don’t have to shell out the big bucks to get it? Sounds like a great deal to me.
Rounding out the day of meals is dinner. Maybe you’re going out with some friends or a hot date, or perhaps you’re exhausted after a long day of work and don’t feel like cooking. In any case, your evening meal is all sorted out without going over your budget by visiting the places in this section of the list!
Hong Ping offers authentic Chinese food in a casual, family-style setting. Their delicious food comes in portions to share around the table. Their friendly staff are helpful when it comes to navigating their menu packed with authentic Chinese dishes that some may not be acquainted with yet! Most of their dishes fall into one of four price categories based on their size: S, M, L, and XL. Dishes in the “S” category cost only $2.68 and “XL” dishes are $5.98. Specialty dishes come with their own price but they are still fairly priced, maxing out at $10.95. Their menu consists of dim sum, both steamed and fried, hot pots, and other Chinese classics. The portions are massive to say the least. Their soup bowls are huge and their platters of rice are piled so high, it’s nearly cartoonish. The large sizes make it perfect for sharing family-style, allowing everyone at the table to sample a variety of dishes. More often than not, you’ll get to take some home too! Whether you’re dining in or taking out, a visit to Hong Ping will never leave you hungry. Their huge portions, fair prices, and fantastic food will have you coming back time and again when you need a fix of authentic Chinese food.
Spageddy Eddy’s is a London classic. Hidden ever so slightly from the world with their alleyway entrance on Richmond Row, Spageddy Eddy’s is one of the best places you can go for huge portions of amazing pasta without dropping a pretty penny. Dive into one of their massive bowls of pasta with your choice of noodle and sauce – there’s really no going wrong. Enjoy red, with or without meat, or alfredo sauce atop a hearty pile of pasta. If you can’t pick, get the Maza Maza Eddy, a wonderful mix of their veggie red sauce and their alfredo. With numerous toppings to pick from, you can create your own pasta dish or select from one of theirs, like the fettucine carbonara or the Eddy style chicken cacciatore. The portions honestly border on daunting. Often, it will feel as though you’ve eaten enough for three people and then you’ll realize you barely made a dent in the huge bowl. In all likelihood, you’ll have plenty to take home with you. Despite the huge sizes, the most expensive item on the menu, the lasagna, is just under $16. Most other mains fall between $11 and $14, with sides topping out at $10 for their saganaki, a Greek fried cheese dish, and most other sides sitting in the $5-7 range. Spageddy Eddy’s is a popular spot to stop at before a Knights game, so if you’re going, it’s a good idea to reserve a spot or you could be waiting for a while. However, if you do find yourself waiting, you can always grab a drink at the bar and let your eyes meander through their eclectic décor. If you’re in the mood for pasta, there’s no better place to go than Spageddy Eddy’s. For a low price, you’ll get a heaping portion of delicious pasta, and that’s an offer you can’t refuse.