Sitting pretty amid the bustling bars and boutiques of Upper Street, between the Angel and Highbury & Islington tube stations, Le Mercury has been serving a delicious slice of French bistro-style cooking since 1985. Surprisingly, this setting for a romantic evening doesn’t come with a hefty price tag – in fact, the budget-conscious menu includes a choice of generously sized starters, priced at just £4.45 each. Dishes are executed with confidence and are exceptionally good value – where else in London can you eat a perfectly tender steak, smothered with rich shallot sauce and accompanied by French fries for less than £11? Also among the mains, which are priced at £10.95, is roast breast of Barbary duck on garlic potato purée and Savoy cabbage with a red wine jus, lamb steak with roasted buttered onion and grilled courgettes, and delicate seared fillet of Scottish salmon with sautéed new potatoes and sprout broccoli. Be sure to leave room for dessert – sweet treats include crème brûlée, sticky toffee pudding and banoffee pie. Wash it all down with something from the equally well-priced wine list – bottles start at £13.95, while French fizz starts at £27.95. With its buzzing ambience, grand portions and accomplished kitchen and front-of-house staff, Le Mercury has budget dining down to a fine art.