Custom Search

Cost of Eating Out in London

Just about everything in London is expensive including accommodation, transportation and even food. London maybe the world’s greatest food capital but eating out in London is expensive. It generally cost more to eat out here compared to other cities in the UK and even more compared to most cities in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland and Turkey. If you compare with cities in Southeast Asia, eating out in London cost a bomb!

Generally, it cost more to eat out in London’s West End area where many of the major tourist attractions, shopping streets, businesses, government offices and entertainment venues are located. It is easy to spend £30 per head for a standard three-course meal excluding drinks at the restaurants here! However, don’t let the cost put you off from experiencing London’s fantastic food scene. Luckily, eating out tends to cost less as you travel beyond the West End and there are ways to stretch your food budget.

Restaurant in Piccadilly (London's West End) by Andy Roberts

Price Range

The cost of eating out will of course depend on the individual taste and budget. The following is a rough guide on what it cost per head to eat out in London.

  • Budget meals - £5-10
  • Mid range - £10-20
  • Upper range - £20-40
  • Splurge - above £40

You can get a McDonald’s value meal (e.g. burger, fries and soft drink) or a meal from a takeaway (e.g. fish & chips or a couple of sandwiches with soft drink) for £5-7 per head. Expect a decent meal at a budget-priced Indian, Chinese or Middle Eastern restaurant for £7-15 per head. You can get a hearty meal and drink at the pub for £10-15 and at a family restaurant for £10-20. For more ambience and dining comfort, expect to pay £20-40 per head and more if you plan to splurge.

McDonald's restaurant in London by Kleon3

Value Added Tax and Tip

There is a Value Added Tax (VAT) of 20% for meals and drinks served at the restaurants. Tipping is 10-15% of the cost shown on the bill but unnecessary if the restaurant adds a service charge generally 10-12%. You can still leave a tip (optional) if you feel you’ve received exceptional service. It’s not the practice to tip for counter services such as takeaways and fast food outlets but these establishments may provide a tipping box if the customer decides to tip.

Middle Eastern restaurant in London by Safsaftunis

Eating Cheap

Backpackers and travellers watching their wallets can find relatively cheap eats in London. On the frugal end, buy groceries at the supermarket and prepare your own meals at where you are staying. You could eat this way on less than £10 a day but if not allowed to cook, would have to satisfy with basics like cereals, muffins, rolls and sandwiches. It might be okay to eat like this occasionally but hard for even the most hardened traveller to stomach for every meal!

A packed sandwich (2 slices) and non-alcoholic drink from the convenience stores (such as Best-One, Londis and Co-op Food) and supermarkets (such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Lidi) cost £2-4 depending on the sandwich filling. Moving up the value chain are meals for £5-7 from the fast food chains (e.g. McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC), takeaways and food stalls. Most foods from the takeaways and stalls are not dull and greasy but rather tasty and innovative offering value for your money.

Sainsbury's store in London by Acabashi

Moving further up and some dining ambience, you can find many restaurants, cafes and pubs in London offering meals for less than £10. They are most often found in the working class neighbourhoods like Brixton and Camden Town. Being a cosmopolitan city with a diversity of ethnicities living in London, the variety of cuisines here is bewildering! Beyond the traditional British meals, you can find numerous establishments serving ethnic foods from around the world to tempt you for less than £10.

Search Hotels

Compare all the top travel sites in a single search for the best deals.

About      Terms of Use      Privacy Policy     Cookies     Ads on this Site     Sitemap

All trademarks and images belong to their respective owners.