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Budget Bites: Places To Grab Lunch You Can Afford Every Day

The humble sandwich can become a little, well, boring. So sometimes we pop out for something a little different. Here are eight of our favourite places to pick up a sandwich-free lunch on a budget

The greatest inventions are often the simplest. In any list of the greatest ever inventions, the sandwich must rank pretty high. Just behind the telephone, the bicycle, and chips but ahead of fireworks, onesies and the car. 

Take two pieces of bread and whack a piece of cheese, chicken, or beef between them (other options are available) and, hey presto, a tasty snack that takes a minute to prepare and not much longer to eat. Genius.   

Our appetite for sandwiches is insatiable. We’re a nation of sandwich makers and eaters. Around 12 billion sandwiches are eaten every year in the UK – most of them in the I Love Manchester office.  

But you can have too much of a good thing. The humble sandwich can become a little, well, boring. So sometimes we pop out for something a little different. Here are eight of our favourite places to pick up a sandwich-free lunch.


Walrus Express Lunch

Walrus Express Lunch

The new Express Lunch menu at Walrus will turn your boring lunch routine upside down – tasty calzones, meat and veggie wraps plus dirty loaded fries from a ridiculous £3.75. Go on, don’t be boring at lunchtime – it’s as cheap as a Boots Meal Deal. 

78-88 High St (NQ), Manchester M4 1ES


Wahaca Street Food and Market Treats

Wahaca Manchester Tacos

Street food and market treats all the way from Wahaca’s motherland of Mexico to Manchester’s Corn Exchange. Tacos from £4.10; tostadas from £3.80; taquitos from £3.95. And they don’t just serve food that starts with the letter T. Quesadillas from £3.75 and chicken wings are £4.95 

The Corn Exchange, Exchange Square, Manchester M4 3TR


Dive into Sliders and Tacos

Dive NQ Sliders

For the past two months, food from the main menu has been on a special deal of 55% off all day every day and it’s been extended until the new Dive card goes live. This could be anytime, so get down to Dive and fill your boots until the deal goes away.  

Tib Street, Manchester M4 1SH


Pita Pit fast, fresh & healthy

Pita Pit Manchester Falafel Pita

Not just falafel but a wide range of fresh fillings such as souvlaki chicken and grilled halloumi. Take your pick from a wide selection of toppings, spreads and sauces to make the perfect pita. Prices start at £3.25 for a 6” pita and £3.95 for a 9” – that includes all the fillings and toppings. Eat in or take away.

45 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2AY 


Katsouris Deli Cafe Lunch

Katsourisdeli Lunch

They don’t just do excellent sandwiches here. Lots of hot dishes to choose from for under a fiver including a choice of meats at the carvery and a salad bar from £3.50. Generous portions, good value. A firm favourite. 

113 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BQ 


Arndale and Piccadilly Food Markets

Panchos Burritos MCR Arndale Food Market

Lots of places where you can refuel for less than a fiver at the Arndale food market. There’s a wide range of Greek Cypriot-style hot dishes to choose from at Zorba’s including keftedes and gyros but if it’s the end of the month and you’re waiting for your next pay cheque or you just fancy a light snack, you can’t beat a tub of hummus and a pitta here for just £1.50. And don’t forget the outdoor street food market at Piccadilly, where fifteen stalls serve a wide range of street food including Chinese, Caribbean and Indian. Good for burgers, including exotic varieties such as wild boar, ostrich, buffalo and venison at Safari Grill. Thursday to Sunday only.


Slice Pizza & Bread

Slice Manchester Focaccia

Looks and feels like an authentic Italian cafe and serves proper pizza the way it’s meant to be served and eaten-by the slice. Pizza prices start from £2.25. Focaccia £2. Fantastic, unusual toppings change regularly and include mozzarella, potato and rosemary, and aubergine, spinach, goat’s cheese and basil.  

1A Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DN


Thaikhun Tasty Thai

Thaikhun Takeaway

This is Spinningfields so there’s lots of dishes which over a fiver but for just under a fiver try Por Pia Gai (deep fried chicken spring rolls) or, for £5.25, the Bangkok Street Platter – succulent grilled chicken and pork skewers and crisp wontons with an assortment of Thai-style dips.

Unit 17, 3 Hardman Street, Manchester M3 3HF


Nudo Sushi Box

Nudo Sushi Box

Another Oxford Street eaterie that gets busy at lunch times.  Lots of healthy options for under a fiver here including excellent chicken noodle soup, rice dishes, dumplings and sushi.  

44 Oxford Street, Manchester M1 5EJ


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