6. Dine like a duke for commoner prices.
Dinner for two runs $200 and skyward at London’s famed restaurants, including celebrity staples such as the Ivy and newer Hakkasan Mayfair. The Ivy does offer a prix fixe menu for less than $35 a person during weekday off-hours between 2:30 and 6 p.m. My favorite place to eat is the Wolseley, the lively grand café next to the theater district and beloved by tourists and well-heeled Londoners alike. You can splurge on caviar, oysters and lemon sole, but prix fixe dinners start at about $35. Chopped chicken and avocado salad with tarragon dressing (about $20) isn’t cheap, but the people-watching is priceless.
There are loads of other affordable and delicious eats in London. In my backpacking days, I learned to seek out Indian restaurants, whose inexpensive curries and puffy potato-stuffed breads fueled days of sightseeing. Today, look for top-notch Indian cuisine on Drummond Street near Euston Station and Brick Lane in East London.
Beer-battered fish and fried potato “chips” is traditional low-cost British comfort food and can be taken out or enjoyed at venues including Poppies local restaurant chain. Pub grub has evolved from “Scotch eggs” (hard-boiled eggs wrapped in sausage meat and coated with bread crumbs). Expect to see avocado toast and fresh farm-to-table dishes on the menus at “gastropubs.” Look them up on the Eater London website, which gives the latest scoop on dining options.
Other budget tips: Gather the makings of a gourmet picnic in the food halls of department stores such as Harrods, a destination in itself. Or make a meal out of an afternoon British cream tea with scones, cakes and dainty sandwiches. Some of the best ones are served in historic hotels, such as the Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge.