For a high-end kitchen that takes British cuisine seriously, go with an icon. In fact, Rules is London’s oldest restaurant, having been cooking since 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 its view of a dining experience is steeped in its own hype; beer comes in a “silver tankard,” for example, and the landmarked dining rooms are an overdressed mélange of yellowing etchings, antlers, and rich red fabrics. But what’s on the table is indisputably high-class London: English-reared meat like roast loin of roe deer, 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, but that has become overly touristy. This is the heartier choice.
35 Maiden Lane, WC1
Our Rating Neighborhood Covent Garden & the Strand Hours Mon–Sat noon–11:45pm, Sun noon–10:45pm Transportation Tube: Covent Garden Phone 020/7836-5314 Prices Mains £18–£29 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.