The MICHELIN Guide is famous for its star ratings, awarded to the finest restaurants in the world. But diners should pay equal attention to Michelin’s Bib Gourmand designation, recognizing the best inexpensive places to eat.
Named for Bibendum (the official name of the Michelin Man), the Bib Gourmand celebrates restaurants that offer good quality and good value. It uses the same criteria that judges a star but, naturally, the Bib list is not quite as exclusive and covers a wider range of prices — bringing more options to more budgets.
While Bib Gourmand recognizes quality for the price, a MICHELIN Plate salutes, simply, “very good food,” something of a starting point for moving up the guide in later years. What the three Michelin designations have in common is that you can only find them all together in one place: the Tablet Hotels iOS App. For the first time ever, the entire MICHELIN Guide has been collected in a single, convenient location. And in another first, it’s all completely free. Just download the latest version of the app and click on the star icon in the bottom navigation.
Below you’ll find an interactive map that shows every Bib Gourmand restaurant in London. Scroll down further to find ten of our favorites from the list — the best inexpensive restaurants in London.
Tablet’s Top 10 Bib Gourmand Restaurants in London:
Middle Eastern // Soho
We start our list with a hip slice of modern-day Jerusalem in the heart of London’s theatreland. Inside, the vibe is fun and infectious, as a zinc kitchen counter runs back to an intimate wood-panelled dining room. Just like the atmosphere, the contemporary Middle Eastern cooking is fresh and vibrant.
Italian // Canonbury
A neighbourhood gem split over two floors; its open kitchen serving an ingredient-led daily menu. Harmonious, tried-and-tested combinations create rustic, full-flavoured Italian dishes, including meats and fish cooked on the charcoal grill and delicious fresh pasta, hand-rolled before each service.
Indian // Spitalfields
A loud, buzzy restaurant with just ten tightly packed tables, serving vibrant small plates from across the Indian regions. The name is a reference to the chef’s daily-made spice mix and his menu takes its influence from old family recipes. Standout dishes include deep-fried crab and crispy pork ribs.
Middle Eastern // Bloomsbury
A sultry, atmospheric restaurant from the team behind Palomar: a tiny place with 24 non-bookable seats squeezed around a horseshoe-shaped, zinc-topped counter. The menu of small sharing plates lists dishes from the former Barbary Coast. Service is keen, as are the prices.
Sri Lankan // Soho
Street food inspired by the flavours of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka features at this fun little spot from the Sethi family (Trishna, Gymkhana). Hoppers are bowl-shaped pancakes made from fermented rice and coconut – ideal with a creamy kari. The ‘short eats’ are great too, as are the prices, so expect a queue.
BBQ // Bethnal Green
A buzzing barbecue restaurant with an open kitchen and an industrial feel. Highlights include the brisket and ribs: these are brined, oak-smoked, coated with a sweet and sour BBQ sauce and chargrilled – the results being unctuous and incredibly satisfying. The charming staff are happy to guide you.
St John Bread and Wine
British // Spitalfields
An appealing restaurant with a stripped back style. The highly seasonal menu offers starter-sized dishes perfect for sharing and the cooking is British, uncomplicated and very satisfying. Breakfast includes a wonderful rare breed bacon sandwich.
Thai // Soho
Sit at the far counter to watch chefs prepare fiery Thai food in clay pots, woks and grills. The well-priced menu includes influences from Laos, Myanmar and Yunnan – all prepared using largely British produce. The counter is for walk-ins only but parties of four can book a table downstairs.
Italian // Southwark
This lively little sister to Trullo offers a short, seasonal menu where hand-rolled pasta is the star of the show. Sauces and fillings are inspired by the owners’ trips to Italy and prices are extremely pleasing to the pocket. Sit at the ground floor counter overlooking the open kitchen.
Spanish // Finsbury
Finally, from the owners of next door Moro comes this authentic and appealingly down to earth little tapas bar. Seven or eight dishes between two should suffice, but the high quality of the food means that over-ordering is easy. Thankfully, though, it won’t break the bank.
Download the Tablet Hotels iOS App for more information about every Michelin-rated restaurant.