Budget Dining in Bristol

Fresh food for a great price at Sky Kong Kong Credit: Simple Lampoon

Fresh food for a great price at Sky Kong Kong
Credit: Simple Lampoon

*Updated July 2016*

Many of my friends wonder how I can afford to go out so much in Bristol, but I’m always quick to respond that Bristol, for a city, is not expensive to eat in, or at least has a wide variety of food options to suit any budget.

Considering my tastes lean towards craft beer, steak and tapas, all traditionally expensive choices, I have never struggled to find places in Bristol that I can afford to visit again and again.

So I thought I’d share a few with you here, because in these frugal times, as much as it’s sensible to tighten our belts, it’s also important to keep supporting local businesses, and get outside to try something new with friends too!

The Thali Cafe - a Bristol institution

The Thali Cafe – a Bristol institution

Dining in

If you’re talking cheap, filling and tasty, there’s no better place to start than Teoh’s in St Paul’s – the menu is simple, cheap (all mains are £7.50, extras are £2) and reliably flavoursome.

Staying with the international theme, local chain The Thali Cafe will provide you with a gorgeous selection of curries, rice and dhal for around £10, so not only do you get full up but you’ll get to try a few dishes at once too! They also have an extensive range of snacks and lighter meals for around the £5 mark.

Heading to Stokes Croft, your options are even more varied – you can get a pie at Pieminister for £5, with sides around the £2 mark – hefty lunch!

pieminister

Biblos do a selection of great, healthy wraps for around £6, and if you’re looking for something a bit more substantial, Canteen manage to create a fantastic menu each day using local and sustainable ingredients for around £7-8. A few doors up, Cafe Kino will fill you up on a selection of sturdy vegan meals for well under a tenner.

If you venture to Whiteladies Road or North Street, The Burger Joint is an excellent place to try, with its build-your-own burgers and fantastic sides meaning that you can tailor a meal to your exact tastes without spending much at all. You can also find branches of The Lounges all over Bristol, and their menu is a nice mix of comforting stodge such as fish & chips, curry or sausage with bubble & squeak for around £8, or they have a great tapas deal which allows you to pick 3 dishes for £8.75.

The gorgeous interior of The Ox

The gorgeous interior of The Ox

Extra Special, Without the Extra Cost

I think there are also some surprises to be found at some of my favourite places in town – The Ox on Corn Street has served me the best steak of my life in one of the most gorgeous settings in the city, yet you can get a rump steak with chips and a glass of wine for £12.50, which is astounding (more epic steak deals here if that’s your kind of thing)

Around the corner in the Haymarket, Sky Kong Kong does a beautiful set menu every evening for £12.50 per person which includes a selection of meat and vegetables booked in a traditional Korean style.

The bright interior at Zazu's Kitchen

The bright interior at Zazu’s Kitchen

Zazu’s Kitchen also offers up an exciting and seasonal menu with mains that rarely exceed ten pounds and now has several locations throughout the city – I’m excited to see what their new pub in Easton will bring in terms of food options too.

I’m also a big fan of the £5 lunch deal at Three Brothers Burgers on Welsh Back – for £5 you get a very very tasty burger and a big portion of fries (try their paprika salt, it’s incredible – as It’s Just Nice will attest to)

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There are also some fantastic lunch options from other places that usually cater to the more mid-range budgets, my recommendations would be Steak of the Art with its exciting interior and satisfying menu, and The Townhouse does 3 courses for £10 from 12-7, Monday to Friday, bargain!

St Nicholas Market in Bristol

The Glass Arcade in St Nicholas Market

Snack-tastic

You don’t have to look far to find a great street food vendor in Bristol, whether it’s the tasty Pickle on Redcliffe Way, or vegan friendly The Spotless Leopard. It’s worth checking out the regaular food markets at Temple Quay, Harbourside and the Bearpit to see the extensive selection that’s on offer.

Other great options for a more casual bite to eat would be the tastylicious Szechuan food at Chilli Daddy on Baldwin St, Falafel King by Cascade Steps (or their shop on Cotham Hill, which also boasts a shisha garden!), Bagel Boy on St Nicholas St, or Take Taka on the Triangle..

The epicentre of Bristol’s food scene, especially when it comes to diversity and value, has to be St Nicholas Market – walk down the central food avenue and try to choose between Grillstock, Pieminister, Eat a Pitta, vegetarian snacks from Royce Rolls, filling Jamaican fare from Caribbean Wrap, rich Moroccan dishes from Al Bab Mansour or huuuge fresh Persian wraps (just £4.50!) from Matina.

Maximillions on Broad St in the old town has made a name for itself as a purveyor of the largest sandwiches in town, with prices you won’t believe. The quality isn’t as high as the other places here, but if you’re looking for something to fill you up, you won’t get better for your money.

Mathilda's Chilli

Cheap and very cheerful chilli from Mathilda’s

Bring Your Own:

An easy way to save on the cost of eating out is to avoid paying for alcoholic drinks, and so luckily there are some good restaurants dotted around town that allow you to bring your own drink in – good news if you’ve been wondering when you’d find a use for that £3 bottle of Shiraz from Tesco!

Indian Fast Food by the Arches has an extensive menu of curries and some great chef’s specials. Dain Korea around the corner is a great introduction to Korean food, Dev’s Kerala further up Gloucster Rd is a wonderfully cheap and cheerful Indian restaurant, and Sergio’s on Frogmore Street is an old favourite in the centre of town for hearty Italian fare in surroundings that have stayed comfortingly similar over the years.

Top Deals:

  • The Social – £6 for a pie and a pint on Mondays, and they also offer a £10 deal for a main and a house drink from Tuesday to Thursday every week.
  • The Stable – £10 for pizza or pie, side salad and drink every Tuesday – plus they do free pizzas every now and again so keep an eye to their Twitter page!
  • Mathilda’s Chilli – Free beer or cider every Wednesday with a chilli.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful, and hopefully they’ve gone a way to show that sampling the different bars, cafes and restaurants in Bristol needn’t be an expensive hobby.

There are also some great guides to Bristol deals and cheap places to eat here, if you want even more recommendations:

Bristol’s Best Budget Meals Out – Bristol Foodie
The Best Daily Deals in Bristol – Rocket and Parmesan
Top 10 Budget Restaurants and Cafes in Bristol – The Guardian

Let me know what your top money-saving tips are for eating out in Bristol! Here are a few other guides I’ve done if I’ve now whetted your appetite for all things Bristolian!

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22 thoughts on “Budget Dining in Bristol

  1. The long-standing Caribbean Wrap in St Nicks gets my vote for some of the tastiest food (in generous portions) for around a fiver. I’ve never left hungry (unless I’m getting food to take out!). I’ve not tried more recent arrival Matina yet but it looks the business.
    Decent dim sum at either Dynasty or Water Sky is v. budget friendly (especially if you go as a group). The “three roasties” + veggies & rice (for under a tenner) from Mayflower is also a staple for me.
    Office Canteen in Totterdown is a must visit for excellent small-plate style food at v. reasonable prices.

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