Oldest Restaurants In London, England

oldest restaurants in london
Contributing Writer
| 6 min read

It is indeed ironic that jolly ol’ London has experienced a dining revolution in the past few decades, what with dining having been seen as a rather louche affair in the city until the 1890s. There’s a certain auspice to venerable restaurants that have stood the test of time. To do so, an establishment needs to fulfil these promises - good food, an efficient service, and a great ambience. If an establishment is thriving for centuries after it has opened its doors, it’s safe to assume that it delivers on these promises. There are many exciting new ventures run by young chefs in London today, but they’re only following in the footsteps of some legends. Here are 10 of the oldest restaurants in London, England:

1. Veeraswamy

Veeraswamy 2008 07 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Alex.muller used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Veeraswamy holds the title of ‘London’s oldest Indian restaurant’ with its origins going back to 1926. Opened by an Indian princess and Edward Palmer, a retired Indian Army officer, Veeraswamy became an instant hit with the upper echelons of London’s society, including former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill. In 1997, it was sold to Namitha Panjabi and Ranjit Mathrani, who restored much of the former maharaja-inspired palatial opulence and glory. It’s regional, traditional Indian cuisine menu includes a bevy of recipes from Kashmir, Lucknow, Goa, Punjab, and more, earning Veeraswamy a Michelin star in 2016.


Address: Victory House, 99-101 Regent St, Mayfair, London W1B 4RS

Website: Veeraswamy

Opening hours: Lunch Monday-Friday 12:00pm - 2.15pm, Saturday-Sunday 12:30pm - 2:30pm, Dinner Monday- Saturday 5:30pm - 10:30pm, Sunday: 6:00pm - 10.00pm

Average price (2 PAX): Above 59 USD

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2. Sweetings

Sweetings, Queen Victoria Street
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gareth E. Kegg used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This 1889-born London old-timer is the city’s oldest seafood restaurant and lies in the heart of the city’s financial district. Sweetings has refreshingly vintage interiors untouched by modernity, save for the chalkboards outlining the daily specials and the framed cricket bats. British seafood is the hero here, best eaten in the form of chef’s fish pie, smoked eel, potted shrimps, and fine shellfish, including oysters. Save some space in your stomach for its quaintly British puddings like Welsh rarebit and the steamed syrup pudding, and also try the signature beverage - the Sweetings Black Velvet.


Address: 39 Queen Victoria St, London EC4N 4SF

Website: Sweetings

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 11:30am - 3:00pm, Saturday-Sunday closed

Average price (2 PAX): 33-58 USD

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3. Wiltons

Posted by Wiltons on Friday, 7 December 2018

The 276-year-old culinary institution opened originally as a shellfish-monger stall in the 18th-century Haymarket. Today, having changed multiple ownerships several times, Wiltons is the oldest restaurant in London, enjoying the reputation of being the epitome of British fine dining in London. A set three-course menu for less than 50 USD and a ‘no phones’ policy makes Wiltons one of the most discreet restaurants for its elite clientele, which once even included the Royal Family. Oysters are the star on the menu, which also includes Dover Sole and Rhug Estate beef.


Address: 55 Jermyn St, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6LX

Website: Wiltons

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 12:00pm - 2:30pm, 5:30pm - 10:30pm, Saturday 5:30pm - 10:30pm, Sunday closed

Average price (2 PAX): Above 59 USD

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4. Rules

Rules Restaurant
Source: Photo by user Herry Lawford used under CC BY 2.0

The resolutely British operation of the Rules has been around since 1798, still specialising in traditional British food, including puddings and pies, oysters, and classic game. In its 200-years-plus presence, the tables at Rules have been thronged by actors, journalists, lawyers, artists, and more, with famous guests including the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Charles Dickens. Hundreds of cartoons, paintings, and drawings adorn the walls. Expect to feast on pies, game meat, and fresh oysters, and don’t miss the excellent upstairs bar.


Address: 34-35 Maiden Ln, London WC2E 7LB

Website: Rules

Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 12:00pm - 12:00am | Sunday 12:00pm - 11:00pm

Average price (2 PAX): 33-58 USD

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5. Simpson's in the Strand

The Regency Room, Simpson's-in-the-Strand, London
Source: Photo by user Anders Hanson used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Simpson’s, originally one of London’s decadent cigar and chess rooms, has been around since 1828 and feels more like an 18th-century private club with its huge chandeliers, high ceilings, red leather banquettes, and even a grand piano. The restaurant is known for traditional English comfort food and its amazing roasts which, to this day, are carved and served on carving trolleys. Notable stalwarts such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, GB Shaw and Charles Dickens have dined here. While the menu still focuses on UK culinary ingredients and tradition, the menu also includes newer menu options like tartare and smoked egg yolk.


Address: 100 Strand, London WC2R 0EW, UK

Website: Simpson’s

Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 12:00pm - 11:00pm, Sunday 12:00pm - 8:00pm

Average price (2 PAX): 33-58 USD

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6. The Ivy

The Ivy (14136045781)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tony Hisgett used under CC BY 2.0

The Ivy, although not London’s oldest restaurants, is a dining institution. Inaugurated as an unlicensed Italian café in 1917, The Ivy’s modest paper napkins transformed into fine linen, and the restaurant expanded to become an institution for the highbrow theatre folks. Today, The Ivy has a new menu, including Asian-influenced dishes and classic British dishes, such as mash, sausage, and shepherd’s pie, for which the restaurant is so loved. Favourite dishes include the shepherd’s pie and the restaurant’s stained glass windows-inspired chef’s signature ‘A Window to The Ivy’ dessert. It also has an impressive art deco bar.

The Ivy

Address: 1-5 West St, London WC2H 9NQ

Website: The Ivy

Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 12:00pm - 11:30pm, Sunday 12:00pm - 10:30pm

Average price (2 PAX): 33-58 USD

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7. Boulestin

Posted by Boulestin London on Friday, 30 August 2013

The 90-year-plus ‘tried and tested’ Boulestin’s origins go back to 1927 with its establishment by French anglophile food writer and chef, Xavier Marcel Boulestin. Its inauguration was famous not just because of the restaurant’s circus-themed motifs, but also because, at that time, it was the most expensive place to eat in England. After its resurrection in 2014, the traffic-free al fresco dining restaurant today is more of a French brasserie with an elegant and light decor and fragrant with classic French cooking, such as jambon persille and cassoulet.


Address: 5 St James’s St, St. James’s, London SW1A 1EF

Website: Boulestin

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 7:00am - 12:00pm, 2:30pm- 11:30pm | Sunday 12:00pm - 10:30pm

Average price (2 PAX): 33-58 USD

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8. Quaglino's

Posted by Quaglino's on Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Established in 1929, Quaglino’s found huge favour and popularity with the British establishment until the 1950s. After a complete refurb in 2014, the restaurant’s eclectic menu features adventurous as well as retro food, a seafood cocktail, plus also focuses on typically British classics and offerings, such as pan-fried cod and thyme-roasted chicken. Combine that with the quintessential 80’s decor and the live entertainment, and dining at Quaglino’s is a transcending and transporting experience.


Address: 16 Bury St, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6AJ

Website: Quaglino’s

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 12:00pm - 3:00pm, 5:30pm - 11:00pm, Saturday 11:30am - 2:30pm, 5:30pm - 11:00pm, Sunday 11:30am - 2:30pm

Average price (2 PAX): 33-58 USD

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9. Simpsons Tavern

Ball Court, Simpson's Tavern, London-33057427102
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Dun.can used under CC BY 2.0

Simpsons Tavern remains London’s oldest Victorian chophouse and probably is the least recognized and celebrated restaurant on this list - but perhaps, the restaurant’s charm lies in its obscurity. Established in 1757, Simpsons Tavern today has a wide-ranging quintessentially English classics, including the likes of Gammon and tomato, Edwardian pork chop, bacon and calves liver, along with Bass beer served on church pews and shared tables. This inexpensive, friendly restaurant is one of the few places in London to experience an era gone by.

Simpson's Tavern

Address: 38 ½ Cornhill, London EC3V 9DR

Website: Simpson’s Tavern

Opening hours: Monday 11:30am - 3:30pm, Tuesday-Friday 8:00am - 3:30pm, Saturday-Sunday closed

Average price (2 PAX): 14-32 USD

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10. Quo Vadis

Quo Vadis, Soho, W1
Source: Photo by user Ewan Munro used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Quo Vadis is a historic West End institution that was established in 1926 and is named after the famous Latin phrase ‘Quo Vadis’ which means 'Where are you going?’. Following a refurbishment in 2016 on the restaurant’s 90th anniversary, Quo Vadis serves traditional, contemporary and modern British food, including the likes of crab soup, veal shoulder, smoked eel sandwich, squid and fennel salad, horseradish sandwich, and others. The first floor accommodates Quo Vadis members, and the ground floor dining room still features the original Barrafina tapas bar.

Quo Vadis

Address: 26-29 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 3LL

Website: Quo Vadis

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8:00am - 10:30am, 12:00pm - 3:00pm, 5:30pm - 11:00pm, Saturday 12:00pm - 3:00pm, 5:30pm - 11:00pm, Sunday closed

Average price (2 PAX): 33-58 USD

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Scrumptious London

Dining out in London is as rare an activity as it gets; make sure it’s worth your while! Check out these exciting old culinary haunts in London, both untouched and refurbished, and enjoy a British meal to your heart’s content.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Malavika, a freelance writer and coffee enthusiast, is well-versed in Kopfkino. Her interests include engaging discussions on New Zealand, the domino theory, dystopian fiction, and Harry Potter.

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