Here are five budget-friendly spots in London for all your food cravings

No, Tesco meal deals didn’t make this list

If you clicked here, chances are you’re either hungry right now or thinking about what you’ll eat for lunch tomorrow.

The thought of having to cook in your hall’s kitchen is making you feel ill, and the age-old honey nut cheerios in your cabinet aren’t exactly the meal you’re looking for.

But do not fear: the London Tab has put together a list of student-friendly lunch spots that won’t hurt your bank account and save you from those daily trips to the nearest McDonald’s or Tesco.

1. Island Poké, various locations

If you haven’t had poké, you’re really missing out. This Hawaiian cuisine is not only super healthy, but you can build your own bowl with endless combinations for under £10. (But we can’t promise to not judge if you skip the nori and sesame seeds for your bowl.)

And with over 10 locations, one of these stores is within reach wherever you are in London.

What we recommend: the salmon house bowl. You can thank us later. But if none of their pre-combined house bowls take your fancy, build your own! There’s something for everyone.

2. Choppaluna, Bloomsbury

At a walking distance from UCL, this nutritious lunch spot does salads, wraps, smoothies, and breakfast bowls made right in front of your eyes. You’ll know why they’re called Choppaluna when you see the big show they put on slicing up those veggies.

Not only does the food taste great, but the store’s interior is lovely too. The neon lights and flower walls are perfect for snapping a few pics to up your Insta game while you get your five-a-day in.

What we recommend: if you like spice, the nacho avocado big-roll is one to try. It guarantees a true taste bud explosion with sun-dried tomatoes, sweetcorn, jalapeños, tortilla chips and avocado served with a spicy peanut and ginger dressing.

3. Franco Manca, various locations

You’re lying if you say you don’t like pizza – especially sourdough pizza straight out of an oven, which is £9.95 at Franco Manca with a bonus soft drink thanks to UNiDAYS.

Fancy a legit-looking pizza at half the price of Domino’s? You might want to try one of these right now.

What we recommend: number five (aka. capers, olives and anchovies and mozzarella.) It’s a bit “out there” compared to a classic margarita, but it promises flavour.

4. All that Falafel, London Bridge

The falafels here are indeed “all that.” For less than five pounds, you can get a wrap or salad box that will fuel you for the whole day. King’s students based on Guys campus should know this one very well (if you don’t, this is your sign to go!)

But the best part is that while you queue in front of their little stall, you’ll be greeted with a friendly face and handed free falafels to curb your hunger.

What we recommend: there’s only two main options on the menu so we’ll leave this one up to you, though the classic wrap with halloumi cheese is a firm favourite!

5. Padella, Shoreditch/London Bridge

Plate of homemade pasta for £8.50? We’ll take it.

You might have to queue, but it’ll be worth the wait. Don’t mistake this for whatever you cook up in your uni kitchen: this is the real deal home-cooked stuff. Once you try this, you won’t ever want to eat your 10-minute “pesto pasta” that you were once so proud of.

What we recommend: Pici Cacio & Pepe or Fettuccine with Nduja, Mascarpone and Lemon for something more spicy

Now that we’ve made you hungry, you’ll hopefully try something new for lunch from one of these great places where you’ll leave with a full stomach and wallet.

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