For a high-end kitchen that takes British cuisine seriously, go with an icon. Rules is London’s oldest restaurant (est. 1798), and its patrons have included Graham Greene, Charles Dickens, Evelyn Waugh, and Edward VII, who regularly dined here with his paramour Lillie Langtry. (The management is less than discreet about it; the nook they used is named for him.) Being a major stop on the tourist trail has gone slightly to its head and it’s steeped in its own hype; beer comes in a “silver tankard,” for example, and the landmarked rooms are an overdressed Georgian yard sale of yellowing etchings, antlers, and rich red fabrics. But what’s on the table is indisputably high-class: English-reared meat like haunch of venison, whole roast squab or grouse (it serves 18,000 game birds annually), and cocktails like that famous one made of tonic, juniper, and quinine. Its nearest rival, Simpsons-in-the-Strand at the Savoy hotel has been going since 1828.