by Harley Nott
Famous London Restaurants
With some 8,000 restaurants and over 70 different world cuisines, London has the most diverse choice of dining in the world. Use the Hardens Guide to explore what’s on offer.
But this post is just about the most famous.
In the year Napoleon opened his campaign in Egypt (1798), Thomas Rule promised his despairing family that he would say goodbye to his wayward past and settle down. No sooner said than he opened an oyster bar in Covent Garden. To the surprise and disbelief of his family, his enterprise proved to be not only successful but lasting. Rules still flourishes and is one of the oldest and most celebrated restaurants in London, serving the traditional food of this country at its best – and at affordable prices. It specialises in classic game cookery, oysters, pies and puddings.
Since 1742 Wiltons has been synonymous for the finest oysters, wild fish and game and traditional, courteous, hospitality. The British menu aims to offer the freshest fish, game and meats from the very best fleets and farms the United Kingdom has to offer. Wiltons still very much recognises and respects its origins, serving the finest oysters from the British Isles since gaining their first Royal Warrant for supplying oysters to the Royal Household in 1836.
For a true taste of all that is best in British cuisine there is no finer dining establishment than Simpson’s-in-the-Strand. Only the finest seasonal ingredients are used by Master Cook Gerry Rae in a Bill of Fare that offers a wide range of classical dishes, including the best Roast Beef and Lamb in the country, and game in season. Roasts are carved at guests’ tables, from antique silver-domed trolleys, by Simpson’s Master Carvers in a perfect example of restaurant theatre. Simpson’s-in-the-Strand is one of London’s most historic landmark restaurants and has been offering classic British dishes to its delighted patrons for over 185 years.
During World War II, meat rationing interrupted the generous servings of beef at Simpson’s, and regulars overcame the dwindling portions by tipping the Carver to ensure they received their usual sized portions! The tradition of tipping the Carver is still observed to this day, although the portions have returned to their generous pre-war proportions
Bentley’s has been serving its fish and chips and feeding the hungry shopping masses for over 100 years, a haven for fresh oysters, grilled fish and steaks from around the British & Irish Isles and has been under the watchful eye of Michelin starred Chef Richard Corrigan for the past 10 years.
For over 100 years the foremost and the fashionable have been dropping in for a light lunch of langoustines or a dozen oysters and a flute of fizz with friends before the theatre.
Home to hundreds of years of history, the Savoy Grill restaurant has seen some of the world’s most famous faces pass through its gilded doors at the world famous Savoy Hotel.
For lunch, try the daily special from the traditional trolley: featuring the Salt-baked Leg of Lamb on Mondays through to the Rib of Beef with Yorkshire pudding on Sundays. Dishes on weekly rotation include roast Suckling Pig, the restaurant’s iconic Beef Wellington and Salmon Coulibac. On Sundays, be sure to try something from the traditional trolley gliding between tables: the braised Berkshire Pork Belly, confit Herdwick Lamb Shoulder or stuffed Rabbit Loin.
London’s last remaining family-owned luxury hotel. Crafted over a century by one family, this is the genuine article – a grand hotel with impeccable manners and a subtle streak of wit and wonder. With its Michelin star, the food at The Dining Room at The Goring is a really pleasing mix of British classics and lighter, more modern dishes, all prepared with great skill and understanding.
“London’s most beautiful dining room” (decorated in the style of Louis XVI) never fails to work its magic (you can also eat out on the terrace overlooking Green Park for a lovely treat). Historically the exemplary service has tended to outshine the traditional British cuisine, but current reports say that it is “exceptionally good in every way”. Top Tip – the dinner-dance on Friday and Saturday is a great experience.
If you stay in one of our rentals you don’t have to eat out every meal, and it will make the pleasure of dining in one of these great restaurants even better. And you’ll be better able to afford it as you won’t have wasted your money on an expensive hotel!
And if you’re looking for a truly English experience and a chance to meet and get to know some locals – try The Coach House.