These Are London’s Oldest Restaurants

restaurants in london

London is one of the world’s most historic cities, spanning back to the Roman era. Dating back 2,000 years, the capital has long had a fascinating culture and love for food, ever since the earliest Romans first set up a home beside the River Thames.

While you might not get a taste of ancient Roman cuisine, you can still have the chance to experience some of London’s inspiring culinary history, with a visit to some of its oldest restaurants. Perfect to visit when you’re planning a stay at Piccadilly London hotels, read on to find out more about them.

Rules Restaurant

Established in 1798, Rules is widely seen as London’s oldest operating restaurant, and has been an important part of the city for centuries. The renowned restaurant was once celebrated by the great and the good of the eighteenth century, when the restaurant first began life as an oyster bar, in the thriving neighbourhood of Covent Garden.

One of the most famous restaurants West End London, Rules has been visited over the years by numerous icons of different eras, from Charles Dickens, to Charlie Chaplin. Today, the restaurant focuses on providing classic cuisine, and as a leading heritage brand, there are few places in London that can serve up the spirit of history quite as well as Rules can.

Naturally, given its fame and honour, Rules is a very popular restaurant. It’s always a good idea to make a reservation in advance, especially if you are only staying in Piccadilly London hotels for a short, limited stay.

Quo Vadis

Quo Vadis is an historic London institution, located in the busy streets of Soho. The stylish spot is a celebrated members-only club, but it has a colourful past behind it.

The restaurant was first established at the start of the twentieth century, and was once a brothel, as well as a home to the important thinker and writer, Karl Marx. Nowadays, it tends to serve a more refined clientele, with a menu filled with delicious seasonal dishes, inspired by regional British cuisine.

While it’s only open to members, if you do have a hankering for a taste of something with a little British history, look out for some great afternoon tea London deals instead. This classic afternoon meal is the perfect way to recuperate when you’ve had a busy day of sightseeing in London.


Indian restaurants are now a popular destination when eating out in London, and you’ll find plenty of great restaurants West End London that serve up some delicious and spicy Indian-inspired cuisine.

But one of the most historic of them all is Veeraswamy, located on London’s illustrious Regent Street. This restaurant has been a London institution since 1926, and is the oldest Indian restaurant in the UK.

Along with its exquisite 1920s décor that exudes opulence and prestige, the restaurant prides itself in serving up some of the finest Indian dishes you could ever experience. In fact, the venue was even awarded a coveted Michelin star in 2017, making it a must-visit spot for anyone who appreciates fine dining.


Another great dining spot dating back to the eighteenth century, Wiltons was established in 1742 in Jermyn Street, and is highly venerated fixture in the city. You’ll find classic British dishes here, with a focus on excellent seafood and delicious roast meats. The restaurant was even awarded its first Royal Warrant for supplying the Royal Family with oysters, in 1836.

With its long history and traditional, formal ambience, it’s worth making the extra effort to dress up when dining here. Wilsons has long been a popular spot amongst the political and financial elite for business meetings and work lunches, but it can also be a wonderful spot for a refined and elegant dinner with a date.

Simpsons Tavern

Located in the City of London, Simpsons Tavern is a dining spot with centuries of heritage and history, and a visit to the unique chophouse will certainly be one of the most memorable experiences you have with eating out in London.

Simpsons was established in 1757, it has been well loved by Londoners for over 250 years, and continues to be so. You’ll find it to be a lovely place to enjoy a traditional breakfast or lunch, or simply enjoy a great drink with friends.

As it is a traditional chop house, you can expect plenty of meat on the menu, as well as all kinds of unique and rarely seen cuts. Come hungry and tuck in, and don’t be surprised when they offer you a customary extra sausage, as it’s the tavern’s tradition to do so, whatever you happen to order.


Distinct from the other Simpsons, this slightly younger institution was first opened in London a little later, in 1828. In fact, it was originally started as a chess club and coffee house, and the place where London’s top chess players could come for a challenging game, stimulating conversation and worldly debate, all while enjoying a drink or two of the recently introduced exotic bean.

Over the many years that have followed, the bar has seen many of London’s famous writers and thinkers grace its tables, including Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Benjamin Disraeli. While you may or may not find yourself rubbing shoulders with the top minds of the twenty first century in there today, you will find classic British fare, all sourced and produced from British ingredients, ensuring that you always have an enjoyable and delicious meal, crafted with care from seasonal and fresh natural ingredients.

Expect traditional dishes such as steak and kidney pie or potted shrimp. If you happen to order a large joint of meat, don’t be too surprised if it turns up rolled to your table on an old-fashioned silver-domed trolley – the restaurant was in fact the first to start the practice, as a way of avoiding disrupting the intense focus of the chess players’ games, and the tradition continues to the present day.