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.
35 Maiden Lane, WC1
Our Rating Neighborhood Covent Garden Hours Mon–Sat noon–11:45pm; Sun noon–10:45pm. Dress code: smart casual Transportation Tube: Covent Garden Phone 020/7836-5314 Prices Main courses £22–£35 Cuisine Type Traditional British Web site Rules
Map35 Maiden Lane, WC1 London
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.