After spending a semester there, I can say that Bristol is a fascinating city with art/culture (Banksy), history (pirates), events (Bristol International Balloon Fiesta), nature (Ashton Court & The Downs), and – contrary to common belief about food in England – amazing places to eat. Not only that, Bristol has some delicious eats that are a real bang for your buck (or “quid”).
Of course, for a Korean American born and raised in Los Angeles, nothing could ever be as satisfying as $1 tacos or $9.99 all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ, but I still found a few places that have super tasty meals for under £6 (that’s less than $10!):
Type: French, Bakery/Cafe
Featured Item: Baguette Sandwiches, £2
I discovered this place during my very first week in Bristol – on my birthday, actually! My friend/roommate Joanne and I were having a morning wander around Park Street (a main street in Bristol that leads to the city centre) and fortuitously went inside a random cafe for some warmth. What we didn’t know at the time is that this particular cafe is a hotspot for students and normally has a line going out the door during the lunch rush hour.
For £2 each, we got piping hot toasted baguettes with whatever meat, cheese, and veggies we wanted. Simple. Cheap. Perfect.
Arch House Deli
Type: Deli, Shop/Catering/Cafe
Featured Item: Deli Sandwiches, £5-6
The house I lived in, Hillside/Woodside, was in a nice, almost bougie area of Bristol called Clifton. This area isn’t catered to students as much as the city centre is and has some more unique, high-quality shops and restaurants. One of those places is Arch House Deli.
I walked by this place and their chalkboard sign out front that said, “The Best Deli in the UK” for months before I finally tried a sandwich. If only I had tried it earlier. At almost $10, their sandwiches are on the line between cheap and pricey, but their massive size means you can stretch one out for lunch and a midday snack. You can either take your deli sandwich to go or eat in the cafe in the back of the shop.
Type: Mediterranean, Restaurant & Truck
Featured Item: Falafel Pockets, £3-7
When people ask me how bad the food in England really is, I tell them that while traditional British dishes may be on the bland side (but can still be good!), you’ll find lots of yummy food from other cuisines – especially Mediterranean. I’ve always loved Mediterranean food in California, but something about falafel and shawerma in England/Europe made me fall in love again.
Falafel King’s falafel pita comes as a half-size (£2.75), whole size (£4.75) and king size (£6.25 with salad, rice or potatoes). These pockets of goodness are filled with hummus, pickled veggies, and of course, falafel, which you can top with spicy sauce if you so wish. They have a restaurant location near the university area and a truck in the city centre (perfect for getting a late night-out snack).
The White Harte
Type: British, Pub
Featured Item: Drinks, 1-3 pounds
While they do have deals on food (like 2 meals for 8.50), The White Harte is the ideal place to drink casually with your friends without spending too much on alcohol. Their deals seems to change all the time, but I’ve gotten £1.50 bottles of Stella, 2 for £5 Jägerbombs, and 2 for £6 pound cocktails, for example.
I’m not sure if they still do BOGO desserts like I remember, but their waffles & ice cream are a comforting dish that’s worth getting full price. You saved all that money on your food, so you can splurge a little on dessert, right?