Saturday 4 March 2017

Top 5 Cheap UK Restaurant and Pub Chains (Not Fast Food)

Knife and Fork on NapkinIt seems to me there has always been snobbery around chain restaurants, probably because their food is cheap and nothing special. However, having visited many independent pubs for a lunch or dinner I have found that I would prefer to visit a chain restaurant because I know it’s likely to be edible food and it will definitely cost less.
The key to eating out is deciding whether you want a food and drink experience (and you willing to pay for it) or you just want something simple, quick and wallet friendly. With the latter in mind, here are my top 5 budget restaurants and pubs.

5. Toby Carvery

I’ll be honest; I’m not a fan of Carvery’s. This is probably because I don’t like roast dinners that aren’t home cooked. However, Toby Carvery offer large portions of food for very low prices that are hard to ignore and, having been a few times, the food is always of a consistent quality. You would struggle to go home hungry.

4. Harvester

Harvesters are relatively good around farmhouse style restaurants. There is lots of choice and the food is usually quite good and very cheap for what you get. They do have more expensive options that I wouldn’t necessary recommend, but as far as a simple meal out is concerned it’s pretty good.

3. Nando’s

While I have not been to Portugal, I imagine that Nando’s is about a representative of Portuguese cuisine as Dominos is of Italian. I also understand this chain originated in South Africa, which I find confusing.
Nando’s food is always nice and in my teenage years this was mine and my friends chosen eatery but having eaten every variation of their chicken a few times over, i did get quite bored of their food. I’m told that their vegetarian options are quite good (an odd fact for a chicken orientated restaurant) and I always enjoyed bottomless drinks which made me feel like I could make my money back in Fanta.
Also, I’m sure that any employee of Nando’s is sick of hearing “I think I’ll have the chicken!” ha…ha…

2. Hungry Horse

This is a chain where I have eaten plenty of times, primarily due to the price and selection. When it comes down to it I’m a burger, chips and beer kind of guy with the occasional venture to something more BBQ orientated, so for me this chain ticks all the boxes.

Their deals are especially enticing, such as the big plate specials, which give you a big ole pile of food usually less than a tenner. Again, don’t expect anything ground breaking, but you will get a good meal for a low price with enough choice to satisfy everyone.

1. Weatherspoon’s

For me this was the obvious choice as the best cheap pub/restaurant. I have eaten in plenty of Weatherspoon’s across the UK and that’s because I know exactly what to expect. They all have the same menu, with the same deals and their drinks are always the cheapest around.

Our local Weatherspoon’s isn’t just a place where we eat, but it’s also the first place on our nights on the town. In my books, if you can get a burger with chips and a beer for under £5, that’s a win and a good way to start a late afternoon drinking session.  They also usually stock a good selection of international beers, ciders and local ales.
Weatherspoon’s do have food that isn’t so great, but it’s surprisingly few and far between, especially considering you can get a meal for the same price as a McDonalds. My recommendation for a meal at a Weatherspoon’s is a Gourmet Burger or Hot dog, I do enjoy cheese and BBQ.

To summarise, for the money, Weatherspoon’s can’t be beaten and for me it’s hard to justify going anywhere else if I just want to eat for cheap.

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