As you probably already know, London is one of the oldest cities, as its history reaches all the way back to the Roman times, as the Romans were the ones who turned the little village that was close to the Thames into a bustling, ancient city, which only grew bigger and bigger as the time went by, becoming the largest city in the world in the 19th century, the center of the humongous British Empire. This, of course, means that London is filled with all sorts of historical attractions – museum, churches, palaces, towers, bridges, but also bars and restaurants. For this article, we went around the city in order to take a look at the top old restaurants in London, bringing you a list of the thirteen eateries that have a long history behind them and that special, retro atmosphere, which just might be what you’re looking for. And this atmosphere that takes you back to the past is not the only good thing about these places – they also have an impeccable service, as well as the great food and drinks, and it’s no wonder why since they had a lot of time to perfect their craft. The top old restaurants in London are these:
The Criterion is not only one of the oldest restaurants of the city but also one of the best. This place can be found at the Piccadilly, and it dates all the way back to the 1874 – the Victorian Age. This restaurant was very much visited by some of the most famous English people, like the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, writer of the Sherlock Holmes stories. You will like the decorations here – they have the unique Neo-Byzantine style.
Address: W1J 9HP, Piccadilly 224
The next restaurant on our list carries the name of the Golden Hind and is located on Marylebone Lane. This eatery opened at the start of the First World War, in 1914, which means that it celebrated the first hundred years of existence two years ago. Here, once can have a taste of the most traditional portions of one of the favorite English dishes – fish & chips. The dining room of this place has a very nostalgic atmosphere, featuring beautiful vintage decorations.
Address: W1U 2PN, Marylebone Lane 73
The Newman Arms was opened in 1863, which makes it pretty old – exactly what we were searching for. This eatery is located on Rathbone Street and serves the guests on two levels – they can either enjoy a tasty meal in the usual dining room that’s on the upper floor of the building or have one of the beers from the extensive menu in the downstairs pub. One of the regulars of this place was the famous English writer George Orwell.
Address: W1T 1NG, Rathbone Street 23
This place got its name after the guy was a personal cook to French King Napoleon III – Auguste Kettner, who was also the founder of the restaurant. It was opened in 1867 and ever since serves the Londoners with the best meals of the French cuisine, like the various crèmes and some of the best French cheeses. We should also mention that the Kettner’s also has a champagne bar, and its extensive menu is filled with some pretty pricey dishes.
Address: W1D 5HP, Romilly Street 29
Now, this is something REALLY old. The Wiltons was opened in the first half of the 18th century – in 1742, and ever since then serves only the best of the traditional English meals. If you like to dine at the elegant places, you will certainly like the Wiltons – it’s a place with the impeccable tablecloths, carving trolly, and the dress code. We would advise you to try the lamb here – it is definitely one of the best in the entire London!
Address: SW1Y 6LX, Jermyn Street 55
As you can see from the name, this place is a great destination if you’re a wine lover – the wines from their menu are just delicious! This is a combination of the restaurant and the bar, and it was opened all the way back in 1890, at the end of the 19th century. The decorations include the candle lights and the walls with the exposed bricks while the food menu consists of various salads, meats, and cheeses – be sure to pay a visit!
Address: WC2N 6NE, Villiers Street 47
You have probably heard about the novel after which this old eatery got its name – it was written by Henryk Sienkiewicz and published in 1895 while this restaurant was opened in 1962. It can be found on Dean Street, which is located in one of the most famous London districts – Soho. The Quo Vadis features two dining rooms and is an airy place with some pretty big windows that overlook the Dean Street. The food is, as expected, pretty good.
Address: W1D 3LL, Dean Street 26
The Simpson’s Tavern is situated on Ball Court Alley, and it was opened very, very long ago – in 1757! It is one of the oldest bars and restaurants in the whole area of Greater London. You will certainly like the interior of this place as it will instantly transport you to the past times with its impeccable atmosphere. The food is great – our recommendation goes to the kidney pie and to the oxtail stew – it’s hard to decide which one of these two dishes was better.
Address: EC3V 9DR, Ball Court Alley
The next eatery on our list of the top London oldest restaurants is the Sweetings, which was, like many other restaurants on our list, opened in the 19th century – this time in 1889. This eatery is still one very busy place, as it provides hundreds of customer with the best dishes every single day. The decorations are pretty interesting here – there are some really old photos hanging on the walls, and we found it pretty interesting that the bills are still handwritten.
Address: EC4N 4SF, Queen Victoria Street 39
The next restaurant on our list has a very similar name like one of the previous entries, but it should not be confused with it. The Simpson’s in The Strand is located, as the name suggests, at the Strand, at number 100, and was opened all the way back in 1828, being one of the oldest working eateries in London. When it comes to food, this place has an extensive menu of fine dishes, and we would you recommend you to try their roasted beef.
Address: WC2R 0EW, Strand 100
The Rules can be found on the Maiden Lane, and is definitely among the oldest restaurants in the city as it was opened only two years before the start of the 19th century – in 1798. This place has a great combination of the friendly staff, good food, and the extensive list of drinks. The owners of this place claim it to be the oldest eatery in the city since the Wilton’s changed position a few times in its history.
Address: WC2E 7LB, Maiden Lane 34
Of all the Indian restaurants in the capital city of England, this one is the oldest. The Veeraswamy was opened between two World Wars, in 1925, and its opening ceremony is still an event to remember, as it was attended by some famous people of the time. There is a great selection of dishes to choose from here, as well as the impeccable Indian atmosphere, and you should definitely pay a visit to this place if you find some free time.
Address: W1B 4EZ, Regent Street 99
Mon Plaisir is one of the oldest restaurants in the city, having a long history and being one of the best eateries in the area of Covent Garden. It is very popular with tourists, students, and with those who go to the theater, and features four dining areas, all of which have the signature white-and-red tablecloths. Service is great and the place is very busy at some times, but it’s a great destination for all those interested in the French cuisine.
Address: WC2H 9DD, Monmouth Street 19