We’ve presented you with quite a few options for cheap and good value (and good quality) restaurants in London. Sometimes, however, you may like to splurge a little bit – but still save the pennies, right? Here’s some tips for saving money eating out in London.
Dining websites promoting special offers
There’s quite a number of websites that list special offers and dining deals for London. Here’s a list of some of the best.
London Eating list special offers that are currently being run at restaurants across the capital – and, best of all, you can use the website to make your booking. It’s great to use if you don’t really mind the cuisine or area that you dine in – at the same you can perhaps discover something new! You can get up to 50% off your meal on the offers that they run. Make sure you also use the site to read through previous diners’ reviews.
A similar website is SquareMeal who also offer up to 50% off at some restaurants – plus more deals (drinks offers and similar) besides. Both SquareMeal and London Eating are also useful for their lists of various types of establishments (best kid’s restaurants, best outdoor dining, best for wine and so on).
toptable: London Restaurants is another great online booking website with a very extensive database of restaurants in London (and elsewhere in the UK, and even in Europe). Again there are all sorts of special deals – 50% off; £15 and under; their “deal of the day” – and there’s plenty of customer reviews to help you make a decision about where to eat out.
Membership dining club cards
Tastecard is a membership dining club which, on purchasing the card, gets you savings at a very wide range of London restaurants. The card can be purchased for £69.95 and is valid for 12 months, although this means it is really only suitable for those who are either spending a longer amount of time in London, or planning on making several trips here. (Or perhaps you can persuade a London friend to purchase it and then ask them to make bookings at the restaurants!) You can quite regularly get 50% off your final bill, and there are also 2-4-1 deals on courses ordered.
Other special offer/savings websites
Groupon – that I’m sure you’ve heard of – are a special deals website offering a great variety of treats, not just limited to (although often including) food and dining. There are different deals every day for London (and other UK cities) so be sure to check every day for what’s on offer!
A really fantastic money-saving website is Money Saving Expert, which basically rounds up many, many special offers, discounts and deals available at various restaurants, shops and other places – and it’s also a great budgeting and financial website in general, if you want a bit more advice on that subject. Take a look at their Restaurant Vouchers page for the up-to-date offers – there’s all sorts, including 2-4-1 deals, 50% off, 2 courses & wine for £10, free starter or dessert with a main meal, and so on. You don’t normally have to pre-book, though you do need to print off the voucher of your choice and take it with you when you dine.
VoucherCodes.co.uk have something very similar on their website under their Restaurant Vouchers section, but it’s always worth checking them out too in case they have deals that are slightly different.
iPhone and other smartphone apps
If you have a smartphone – such as an iPhone – you can download a whole host of apps that will give you discounts at restaurants all across the capital. Top apps for this purpose are the previously mentioned toptable (cost: free) and vouchercloud (cost: free; the app also gives discounts at shops and for services). Best of all, you don’t normally have to print anything off – handy if you don’t have a printer to hand (how many travellers do?) – though sometimes you may have to call the restaurant to reserve, quoting the special offer. Deals are not normally run on peak days/times i.e. Friday/Saturday and some other restrictions may apply (only certain items on the menu may be allowed as part of the deal, or there’s normally a maximum number of people you can book for).
Such apps normally automatically search for dining deals in your current location which is handy in itself, although you can obviously also use them to search for other places in London.
Check the restaurants/pubs in your local area!
As you walk around the area of London you’re staying in/visiting/sightseeing in, you may notice some restaurants or pubs offering their own specials deals on certain days of the week or times of the day. (And we’re not just referring to happy hour at pubs and bars!) They may display offers in their window or on a notice board outside their premises. Not a bad way of finding out about good value meals.
More and more restaurants and chains are now on Twitter, such as the D&D London group of restaurants, Masala Zone and the Giraffe chain, to name only a very few! They often tweet about special deals (sometimes not advertised elsewhere) or particular events that are taking place in their venues. And you could always tweet them to let them know how your meal was!