Tucked in a tight cellar in Covent Garden, Food for Thought serves up hearty vegetarian food. This popular spot usually has a queue leading up the stairs and out the door, and there's precious little space inside, expect to share tables, if you can get one, with strangers. Steaming bowls of soup and enormous servings of quiche are served in earthenware bowls and service is cheerful and quick. The menu changes daily, so there's no chance of getting tired of this restaurant, and they even offer their own cook book so you can try all the recipes at home. You leave feeling full, healthy and great. Tube: Covent Garden
Recommended for Best Value because: Food for Thought serves take away or eat in and will fill you up all day and keep you healthy too all for under 10 pounds.
Emma's expert tip: Food for Thought is brilliant for vegetarians and non alike. It is seventies London cooking at its best, arrive early for lunch.
In the chilled out vibe of Stoke Newington, this cafe / restaurant fits in perfectly. Two more branches have now opened up in other 'yummy mummy' territory of Islington and Crouch End. You can start your day here with bountiful smoothies, flaky croissants or eggs Benedict. Then go off for a yoga lesson or a browse of the shops, before heading back for lunch of quiche, frittata or stuffed aubergines and peppers and salads. Dinner is also good, they have a huge range of hot food, some of it with that comforting seventies vibe of whole vegetables and pulses, generous portions and bright sunny food. It brings a taste of the Mediterranean and East of that into London and local residents are all the better for it.
Recommended for Best Value because: The Blue Legume is great big portions, and tasty food for not a bad price as cafes go in London
Emma's expert tip: Best for Brunch and lunch just because of the feel of the cafe, but the food doesn't stint if you want to pop in for an evening meal either. Go early to avoid disappointment as they are often full with a queue.
This is not fine dining Italian style, but down home, how mamma maria makes it. E. Pellicci has been serving up its very own brand of cockney Italian cooking, with a bit of Portugues thrown in since 1900 in this part of London. Now beloved by hipsters, who come here for a fry up, a cup of tea, and to be on first name terms with the friendly serving staff after a hard night clubbing it in Shoreditch. The place is great for people watching, admiring the decor which won the cafe a Grade II listing in 2005, fish and chips on Fridays, and some Italian flavoured main courses like Pasta Toscana. Great for what it is and a rightful institution in this part of the city.
Recommended for Best Value because: E. Pellicci keeps to its origins when it comes to prices and food, great food, great value.
Emma's expert tip: Don't go expecting fine Italian dining, this is how mamma would have made it and all the better for it.
A walk up and down London's Brick Lane, just near Liverpool Street Station will leave you spoilt for choice as to where to eat if you fancy a curry or something else from South Asia. But Aladin, has won several awards, and even been praised by HRH Prince Charles himself, according to the restaurant's website. They claim, if you request, they'll play the tape back to you of this princely praise. Using fresh flavours and lots of spice, this restaurant cooks everything from all over the sub continent. From India, to Pakistan, to Bangladesh. It's good value too, and all the curry house fare you could hope to order.
Recommended for Best Value because: Aladin or any of the restaurants along Brick Lane will provide good value and tasty curries in the heart of Shoreditch.
Emma's expert tip: The website says, if you want to hear Prince Charles praise this restaurant then ask the staff to playback the tape to you, so you can check out the highest praise from royal circles for yourself!
This is cheap cheerful cuisine at its best. The fresh rolls are fat, juicy and packed full of flavour, fish is good here, as is the duck and five spiced chicken. Plates arrive from the kitchen steaming hot, and fast and it's sometimes hard to hear your fellow diners above the din of the place, but that just all adds to the atmosphere and is well worth the trip to Hackney for an authentic taste of Vietnam in London. Huong Viet has many competitors in the neighbourhood down Kingsland Road in Hackney and many of them provide great cheap food and a fun place to dine, afterwards you can head out to Shoreditch for a night on the tiles.
Recommended for Best Value because: Huong Viet, is cheap, cheerful and delicious and definitely worth the visit to East London.
Emma's expert tip: Bring your own alcohol for a cheap fun evening. If you can't get in here, as it's often packed to the rafters, a little further west down Kingsland Road there is a whole slew of other Vietnamese restaurants, Viet Hoa there is another favourite.
Moro is the perfect example of London meets Southern Mediterranean cuisine. British chefs and owners Sam and Sam Clark sourced the flavours and recipes for their delicious restaurant by travelling through Southern Spain and North Africa in a camper van for 3 months. The result in 1997 was Moro and several cookbooks, including one about using London grown allotment vegetables and knowledge to recreate their dishes at home. Their fish is cooked equisitely, and always set off by perfect spices and sauce. Delicious pork belly and lamb melt straight off the bone and in your mouth and the wine list and knowledge of the staff is spot on. It's definitely worth the price but you need to book early to assure a table. Sidewalk seating is available during warmer months. TUBE: Farringdon or Angel
Recommended for Best Value because: Moro has a cheaper tapas bar next door, called Morito which is well worth checking out for the same taste at a slightly cheaper price.
Emma's expert tip: Moro has a sister restaurant next door for Tapas called Morito, still not super cheap, but for the quality of the food, and smaller portions, you can try out the flavours at the mothership next door for a cheaper price.
This casual eatery, with several other branches scattered conveniently throughout other London neighborhoods, serves up a mix of British and Mediterranean food. The breakfast menu features power smoothies for the health conscious on the go. They're made of milk, yogurt, honey, fruit and oats. You can also opt for any of the breakfast baps (sandwiches), which are hearty affairs designed to fuel you up for a long day. Try the "I Love England Breakfast Bap," filled with mushrooms, tomatoes, sausage and bacon. The place does wraps, salads, cakes and snacks,all for a relatively cheap price which will fuel you for a day's sightseeing whilst keeping your taste buds tickled.
Recommended for Best Value because: Leon will fill you up for a day's sightseeing whilst keeping your taste buds tickled.
Emma's expert tip: Leon is good for any time of day, but particularly for breakfast or lunch when you can pop in at any branch, refuel and then keep on sightseeing.
Faulkner's had has many owners over the years, but its loyal clientele just keeps going back. The Haddock is agreed to be one of the best things it does, with Plaice not far behind. The takeaway portions are huge, and you can easily share a large haddock and chips between two. The mushy peas are spot on here. You can also eat in the restaurant too, but this is perhaps a relic of a bygone age one step too far. The net curtains and heavy table cloths give it that 1960s feel, but far better to take away or order home delivery to enjoy the food in the comfort of your own home.
Recommended for Best Value because: Fish and Chips is one of Britain's most traditional foods, and it can fill you up all day relatively cheaply.
Emma's expert tip: They also offer Jellied eels and other East End delicacies in the restaurant. Worth a visit if you're in the neighbourhood.
There is always a queue outside Misato, in London's wardour street. You can get all the Sushi, Sashimi and Bento that you could think of here, plus great plates of rice, home made coleslaw which is delicious and fish or meat, either deep fried, grilled or steamed or covered in sticky sauces. This is not rarefied dining, tables are simple, water is plentyful, and comes in plastic beakers, and the service is fast and furious. Be prepared to queue up to get in, make sure that you take enough cash to pay for your meal, as they don't accept credit or debit cards, and as soon as you've finished, be prepared to clear out very quickly, to let the next hungry diners sit down. As long as you are prepared for that, then it is definitely worth it.
Recommended for Best Value because: Misato is always full, and does good Japanese food on a budget, definitely worth the wait.
Emma's expert tip: Make sure you take enough cash to pay for your meal, unusually for London, this place does NOT accept credit or debit cards.
The Bonnington Square Cafe is a delightful place tucked away just behind the busy interchange that is Vauxhall, and sandwiched between that and Kennington Lane. The place used to be a squat, and is now cooperatively run, if you live in London, or will spend some time passing through and fancy yourself a cook, you can even apply to spend a night cooking there for friends, or passing trade. The place is unlicensed but there is no corkage charge, and so you can bring your own wine and eat very well with alcohol. Starters are priced around 3 pounds a plate, main course are 7 pounds and puddings, or desserts about 3 or 4 pounds too. Often you get delicious cuisine from all over the world, a friendly atmosphere and a feeling that almost you are eating in someone's living room. Brilliant and vegetarian.
Recommended for Best Value because: The Bonnington Cafe means you can eat cheaply and well, and bring your own alcohol, cutting the costs of the meal without cutting down on taste.
Emma's expert tip: Make sure you bring your own bottle if you want to drink alcohol, there is no corkage charge.