We've all (reluctantly) checked our bank accounts after a night out or a fancy meal, only to be met with a sudden jaw drop. But don't worry; you're not alone. London is expensive, but if you know where to go, you can certainly cut back a little on spending and enjoy more affordable options. If you're looking for places to enjoy a slap-up meal or grab-and-go lunch in Hackney whilst not having to remortgage your house, then you're in the right place. From laid-back cheap eats to communal eateries designed for sharing, here's our guide to budget-friendly restaurants in Hackney.
Guide to budget-friendly restaurants in Hackney
In this guide
Cheap eats in Hackney
- Green Papaya Xi'Viet – Vietnamese and Chinese fusion
- Mangal Ocakbasi – A no-frills authentic Turkish
- Pizza Union – Pizza for a fiver
- Sông Quê Café – Authentic Vietnamese cuisine
- Pophams – Pastry Gods
- The Dusty Knuckle Bakery – Fluffy focaccia sandwiches
- House of Momo – Nepalese parcels of tastiness
- Andu Ethiopian Vegan Café – One of the cheapest in the area
- Rasa – Veggie Keralan dishes with a big splash of pink
- Roti Stop – Takeaway Caribbean
- Souvlakiland – A taste of the Med
- The Rose & Crown – A top-notch roast that won't cost a bomb
- Zia Lucia – A pizza staple
- Lord Napier Star – Street food and blissful sunsets
- Barge East – Alfresco street food
- My Neighbours the Dumplings – Dumplings on a trendy Hackney street
- Tram Store – Stylish and sustainable
- Yard Sale Pizza – Perfect for sharing
- Dom's Subs – Italian-American-style rolls
- Banh Mi Hoi-An – Vietnamese sandwiches
Cheap eats in Hackney
Vietnamese and Chinese fusion
Get a taste of Vietnamese food fused with a twist from the Xi'an region of China at Green Papaya Xi'Viet on Mare Street. Everything is prepared with the freshest ingredients, with a menu filled with meat and fish dishes, noodles and hearty pho, served in-house in their small, welcoming restaurant or available to order online.
A no-frills authentic Turkish
You won't be able to resist this Turkish grill house in Dalston when you smell the wafts of chargrilled meats travelling down the street. It's a super-relaxed spot where you can bring your own booze (BYOB) to enjoy alongside your choice of dish. They serve everything from grilled kebabs and moussaka to falafel and baklava.
Pizza for a fiver
You can enjoy Roman-style, thin-crust, crispy-base pizza for under a tenner at any of the Pizza Union branches around the city, including their spot in Dalston. It's a super relaxed, walk-in spot with rows of tables perfect for perching on and chowing down your choice of Italian pie. Choose from spicy 'nduja and chicken and peppers to Nutella rings and more.
Authentic Vietnamese cuisine
It’s all about hot, steaming bowls of hearty pho at Sông Quê Café, an authentic Vietnamese restaurant on Kingsland Road, otherwise nicknamed Pho Mile due to its sheer number of Vietnamese restaurants. Choose from over 11 different types of pho or any of the side dishes, like the crispy prawn toast. It’s a super laid-back spot where you definitely don’t have to dress to impress; it’s all about the food here.
It would be fair to say that you may just have the best croissant of your life at Pophams Bakery in Hackney. This aesthetically pleasing bakery is all about the pastry. Enjoy Marmite and gruyere swirls, or opt for a classic pain au chocolat with a coffee on the side, which will set you back less than a tenner. They also serve a separate menu of more substantial meals, but they'll cost you a little more.
Fluffy focaccia sandwiches
The bread and sandwiches at The Dusty Knuckle Bakery are made by young people who are at risk of long-term criminality or unemployment and have been trained by the bakery. They serve pastries, sourdough bread, pizzas and focaccia sandwiches with an assortment of fillings, like the chicken Caesar salad. They have ample outside seating and are located in a car park in the heart of Dalston, making it a great spot to enjoy a bite to eat outside throughout the summer.
Nepalese parcels of tastiness
This tiny, casual eatery serves delicious, traditional Nepalese dumplings in a spot tucked down a street right behind Dalston Kingsland Station. It's super laid-back, with shared benches for communal dining and an order-at-the-bar system. They also serve a thali of the day, consisting of a small selection of rice and curries to accompany your choice of dumplings. Opt for the chicken or cheese, steamed or fried, in sauce or on their own. Either way, you won't be disappointed.
One of the cheapest in the area
Enjoy 100% plant-based Ethiopian cuisine at Andu Ethiopian Vegan Café on Kingsland Road. Choose from six classic vegan Ethiopian dishes served with rice or injera (a classic sour fermented pancake-like flatbread), served in a platter or traditionally on top of injera, all for a very competitive price. It’s apparently the first and only Ethiopian restaurant in the UK that specialises in traditional Ethiopian vegan food. It’s also BYOB, so you’ll also save a few extra pennies there.
Veggie Keralan dishes with a big splash of pink
Rasa on Stoke Newington’s lively Church Street is the place to go for authentic, vegetarian Keralan dishes. You won’t miss its bright pink façade on Church Street, and the inside is just as jazzy, with even more pink; just imagine being enveloped by a big ball of candy floss. The menu is overflowing with southern Indian dishes, with plenty of fish and perfectly spiced veggie plates. It won’t set you back much in terms of pocket money and if you opt for the set menu you’ll get to try a bit of everything for just over £20
Roti Stop is another Stoke Newington must-visit, perched on the corner outside Stoke Newington station. The smell of fragrant Caribbean spices will fill your nostrils as soon as you step inside, and you’ll no doubt find it hard to pick what to eat. Enjoy Caribbean classics, like curry goat, chicken or lamb roti, creamy mac n cheese, and a range of vegetarian dishes like pumpkin roti. It’s a takeaway spot, but you can enjoy yours on a bench in the beautiful neighbouring Abney Park Cemetery. Also, make sure you spend a few minutes chatting with the staff; they're always super welcoming.
A taste of the Med
Step into Greece at this little Homerton eatery on Homerton High Street. Flavour-packed Greek food comes plentiful here, with a classic menu of yeeros and souvlaki wraps stuffed with traditional fillings such as halloumi and vegetables or Greek sausages. It’s very laid-back, with one or two tables for those who can’t wait until they get home to chow down.
A top-notch roast that won't cost a bomb
This casual N16 pub at the end of Church Street, opposite lush Clissold Park, is a well-known local favourite that's been owned by the same family since 1985. It's not the cheapest option in this guide, but their roasts are excellent and will cost you less than £20, which is fairly hard to come by in this area of the city. It's spacious and pleasant, with huge old windows, ample woodwork (picture a traditional pub), and always-smiling faces behind the bar.
A pizza staple
Zia Lucia is considered one of the tastiest (and most affordable) pizza spots in the city. There are several London locations, all with a pizza oven named by vote. You can choose from four different bases - traditional, charcoal, wholemeal, or gluten-free - then opt for a range of toppings, from burrata and 'nduja to olives and salami. It’s a casual spot but still has an air of premium-ness about it, yet you don’t need to dress to impress for a bite to eat here.
Street food and blissful sunsets
Lord Napier Star was a derelict building for many years before transforming into this new, graffitied Hackney Wick landmark. Enjoy a stunning sunset over Victoria Park from the rooftop and enjoy a bite to eat from the downstairs bar. They usually have kitchen residences, the most recent being Krapow, which serves authentic Northern Thai-inspired street food.
Alfresco street food
Although the food on Barge East's 118-year-old Dutch barge might set you back a little more than you want to spend, if you dine in their outside garden, you can chow down on their more affordable streetfood menu instead. Enjoy a selection of burgers and sides, including their legendary Panisse fries (chickpea fries) topped with shaved parmesan. It’s extra vibey in summer but be sure to check when the garden is open as it varies throughout the year.
Dumplings on a trendy Hackney street
My Neighbours the Dumplings is a popular communal dining spot on a trendy street in Hackney specialising in dim sum and a changing menu of Chinese-style dishes. The restaurant is stylish, with hanging lanterns, neon lights, and long sharing tables. The menu is designed to be shared, meaning you can try a bit of everything and keep the cost relatively low. Enjoy standard dumplings, like the siu mai (pork and prawn) or the sui gok (potato and truffle), with a side of smacked cucumber and steamed broccoli with toasted cashews.
Stylish and sustainable
The Tram Store is located in the old Clapton Tram Depot on Upper Clapton Road and is open all day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks. Unsurprisingly, they rent the space out for photography and film use - it’s uber stylish with hanging plants, parquet flooring, and rustic, exposed brickwork. They serve a lot of locally-sourced produce, coffee, food, wine and beers, all with a commitment to being as organic and biodynamic as possible. You can enjoy a banging lunch for under a tenner here.
Perfect for sharing
You’ll find Yard sale branches all over the city, with two in Hackney. Their pizzas are available in 12 and 18 inches, perfect for sharing and saving a little cash. They do everything from the classic Margherita to roasted mushroom, aubergine and pepperoni. It’s a casual string of restaurants and perfect for lunch on the go.
You might’ve heard about the hype surrounding Dom’s Subs, where they craft Italian-American-style sandwiches stuffed with an assortment of fillings. It’s more than just a sandwich, though, these epic rolls are a full, substantial meal and will set you back around the ten pounds mark. Opt for the Spicy D (with schiacciata piccante, salami, ham, 'nduja mayo & chilli oil) or keep it veggie with The Roman (tenderstem broccoli, roast aubergine, marinated artichokes, provolone & romesco).
You’ll find Banh Mi Hoi An, a mere thirty-second walk from Hackney Central station, where they serve a selection of Vietnamese sandwiches for takeaway. Enjoy traditional flavours like the char siu or chunky pork belly, or opt for a salad or pho if you don’t feel like overloading on carbs. It’s cheap and cheerful, and one sandwich will cost you less than ten pounds.