Similar to the Top 10 Oldest and Most Popular Restaurants in Asia, and Top 10 Oldest and Most Popular Restaurants in the World, the UK also has a long and distinguished tradition of restaurants and taverns. You can still visit some restaurants today as well that have existed for centuries. So, the World’s #1 Source of Research-Based Content, The Daily Top 10, let’s find out the Top 10 Oldest and Most Popular Restaurants in the UK.
Do you know the Top 10 Oldest and Most Popular Restaurants in the USA? Likewise, the UK has a significant heritage that has lasted for centuries and one way to explore the UK’s culture and heritage is through food. Most importantly, there is a range of restaurants across the country offering everything from fine dining to casual meals. It is specialized in the delicacy of the region, most of the time. Therefore, the establishment of many historic restaurants in a lot of UK cities is not a surprise. They have survived the scourge of redevelopment and have taken their place as historic traditional UK restaurants for centuries.
So what would be the Top 10 Oldest and Most Popular Restaurants in the UK? Let’s find out the answer. But before that, just updated with the Top 10 Most Popular Fast Food Restaurants in the World and Top 10 Best and Most Popular Restaurants in the World.
It’s strange to imagine a world without restaurants and throughout history, food and drink have brought people together. The practice of dining outside in a restaurant had to start somewhere. So luckily, not all those restaurants come and go some date back centuries and are still around. Nonetheless, they are crucial pieces of history that have witnessed many historical footprints. The UK also consists of such eateries that kept their doors open, pots boiling and food serving for centuries from generation to generation.
Let’s take a look at those restaurants from number ten, before going to talk about the Top one contender. For your additional knowledge, read the Top 10 Most Popular Fast Food Restaurants in the UK.
TOP 10: Veeraswamy (1926)
Veeraswamy was opened in 1926 by Edward Palmer, an Anglo-Indian retired British Indian army officer. It is an Indian restaurant in London, located at 99-101 Regent street. But as Wikipedia says, it was not the first Indian restaurant in the UK and the only one in 1926. But Veeraswamy was the first Indian restaurant in the UK to cater to a large proportion of European clients and also, and it was the first Indian restaurant to cater to European royalty.
The restaurant is popular for cuisines associated with Punjab, Lucknow, Kashmir, and Goa while earlier it served Anglo-Indian cuisine. According to Open, the British tradition of drinking beer with curry is said to have originated at Veeraswamy’s. All of its interior designs with hand-woven floral carpets, glass paintings of Rajasthan, Kalighat paintings, etc. drew inspiration from the Maharaja Palaces in India. However, Veeraswamy still stands in Regent street as a testament to one man’s dream of having London witness the magic of Indian culture, with its glorious past.
TOP 9: The Ivy (1917)
From its establishment in 1917, it marked a century of exceptional food and hospitality that turned a cafe into a London landmark. Initiated by Abel Giandolini and Mario Gallati as a small dining room that was popular among the theatre community. Under subsequent redevelopment, the Ivy resembled a grand restaurant. Later this iconic restaurant re-established its position as London’s favorite theatre restaurant with the refurbishment in 1990 by M. J. Long.
According to Sophia Farrah, the name Ivy originated from a chance remark by the actress Alice Delysia. Because the actress interjected lyrics from a popular song of the time as ” don’t worry we will come to see you, we will cling together like the Ivy. However, by the outbreak of the second world war, this restaurant has enjoyed global success. And today, it provides top-notch service and vibrant surroundings for which the Ivy is known, with a sophisticated all-day café-style menu seven days per week.
TOP 8: Sweetings (1889)
Sweetings is a restaurant founded in 1889 and located in a grade two listed building on queen Victoria street in the city of London. Probably the oldest fish and oyster restaurant in London, Sweetings has been serving up signature dishes since 1889. As stated in Applebee’s Fish, Sweetings is described as a seafood lover’s dream.
They only sell native oysters. So you can only have them when they are in season, from September to April.
Moreover, this restaurant features many other traditional British seafood dishes such as eel, pot pie, and lobster. However, in a history spanning more than 100 years, sweetings have been owned by six parties as The World’s 50 Best says. Throughout this journey, this restaurant prides itself on its sustainable sourcing from wild Scottish salmon to west Mersea oysters from the Essex coast.
TOP 7: Kettner’s Townhouse (1867)
Kettener’s Townhouse is one of the oldest restaurants in London, dating from 1867. It was London’s first French restaurant that opened in the 19th century. It was founded by a German chef Auguste Kettner who served Napoleon the 3rd, in 1867. Earlier Kettner’s Townhouse was associated with small crowds. And later, as Wikipedia says, it was the visit of King Edward Vll in 1890, that began to attract large crowds to this restaurant.
This restaurant especially has had many notable visitors including Winston Churchill, Oscar Wild, and Agatha Christie. Kettner’s townhouse is a restaurant and a champagne bar with 33 bedrooms located in a historic Georgian building in London’s Soho. Diners of Kettner’s Townhouse can try out a menu inspired by the history of the building with historic floral plasterwork and heritage mirrors.
TOP 6: Simpson’s in the Strand (1828)
Simpson’s in the Strand was opened in 1928 as a chess and cigarette club. Simpsons in the strand are located in the Cavern garden on the bank of the river Thames walking distance from the Savoy theatre somerset house and the national gallery. Known for they are sumptuous traditional roasts of beef card table side on beautiful trolleys.
The Simpsons is a bastion of British dining tradition and the restaurant looks like it could be right out of the 1800s with its dark oak paneling and red banquettes. The tradition of carving meat in front of their guests began here as a way to avoid disturbing chess players. But it has become a signature part of traditional British fine dining. According to Eat Cook Explore, the Simpsons was a favorite of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the writer of Sherlock Holmes and, after fasting for three days, this is the place where Holmes tells Watson, something nutritious at Simpson’s would not be out of place, at the end of the adventures of the dying detective.
TOP 5: Rule’s Restaurant (1798)
The Rule’s Restaurant was established by Thomas Rule in 1798. It serves traditional British food specializing in the classic game and primarily it was an oyster bar that served traditional British food also. The restaurant owns its estate in the high pennies where all of its fresh game is sourced. The game is so fresh that the menu even disclaims the possibility of leftover buckshot on meat.
Also, Rule’s has incredible venison and veal. Even for those averse to game meat, Rule’s seems to set the standards with exceptionally fresh and tasty games that’ll make even the best Kobe meat and filet. There’s a long-standing ritual for the gentlemen of the upper class. According to the Rules, it is known as the opening day of the shooting season. This ritual is tremendously important and referred to as the glorious 12th of August.
TOP 4: Simpsons Tavern (1757)
Simpsons Tavern is considered to be a historic institution in London that was popular among the generations of city workers and visitors to London. As mentioned in History Hit, the Simpsons tavern is known as the oldest chophouse in London. Still, Simpson’s tavern survived with its old structure, from Victorian era street widening policies. Hence if you are interested in catching a glimpse of Dickens’s immortalized London of cobbled streets and quaint window fronts, this is the place where you should go.
It has maintained its reputation in the restaurant industry for an amazing 265 years. It is known for its atmospheric, wood-paneled dining room and old-timey menu which is serving up proper old-school English grub like steak-and-kidney pudding, pork chops, and stewed cheese. Unfortunately, Simpson’s tavern was closed down by the landlord on 28th October 2022, following a dispute about rental payment. But today Simpson’s tavern has been successful in challenging a winding-up order and fighting for the forfeiture of its historic premises.
TOP 3: Wilton’s Restaurant (1742)
A trip to the UK is never complete without a stroll down a German street. But before setting off to discover other places, it is better to enjoy first dropping by the famed restaurant Wilton’s. Wilton’s is located on German street just across from Davidoff from London. It began its journey as an oyster stall in 1742 and has consistently enjoyed a reputation as the epitome of fine British dining in London.
Wilton’s gained the first royal warrant to supply oysters to the royal household in 1836. With that reputation, As the Favourite Tables stated, Wilton’s is still serving the finest oysters from the British Isles. It was destroyed during the second world war in 1942. However, Wilton’s today has the same timeless elegance, passion, and dedication to excellence that it had throughout the centuries.
TOP 2: Queen’s lane Coffee House (1654)
Dating back to 1654, Queen’s Lane Coffee House claims to be the oldest continually serving coffee house in Europe. Cirques Jobson and Levantine Jew were its founders. According to Wikiwand, this restaurant is a charming and relaxed place to spend your lunch hour, because the Queen’s Lane coffee house has options for everyone with a mixture of English, Mediterranean, and Turkish dishes, along with coffees, juices, and cakes. Also, it is an especially good pick for vegetarians or people who follow a halal diet.
The big bay windows are one of the most striking features of the coffee house. Its name descended from Queen’s Lane where it is already situated, on the north side of the high street in Oxford. In 2009, it was rebranded as “QL”. This Queen’s Lane coffee house is popular with Oxford University and Oxford Brookes university students also. Coffee was seen as an exotic drink at that time, but this Queen’s Lane coffee house has been popular among students and scholars since the 18th century.
TOP 1: Blackfriars, Newcastle (1239)
If you want a trip to 13th century Newcastle, better to visit Blackfriars restaurant. Blackfriars Restaurant & Banquet Hall, claims to be the oldest dining hall in the UK, if not the oldest restaurant. But Blackfriars hasn’t been continuously operated as a restaurant. It retains its place in history as a dining location, just serving traditional English food.
Today, Blackfriars offers traditional décor in the style of great traditional British restaurants. According to their Official Website, this restaurant is still open for lunch and dinner. Amidst, plenty of events are still taking place in their banquet hall, tasting room, and cookery school. Therefore, Blackfriars deserves its place on this list as the Oldest and Most Popular Restaurant in the UK.
As one of the Top 10 Best and Most Popular Places to Visit in the World, the UK without a question has no shortage of restaurants. But few of them have broken from the pack as true standouts over the ages. The reason that these restaurants have stood the test of time. These historical restaurants have not only welcomed diners but also acted as cultural hubs.
Here is the list of the Top 10 Oldest and Most Popular Restaurants in the UK:
- Queen’s lane Coffee House
- Wilton’s Restaurant
- Simpsons Tavern
- Rule’s Restaurant
- Simpson’s in the Strand
- Kettner’s Townhouse
- The Ivy
Of course, there are plenty of modern Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK where there is truly no shortage. However, one of the things that should be looked forward to about visiting the UK is the opportunity to eat at these unique unmistakably British institutions. So pin this list for your easy checkout. Hope to meet you soon with another interesting topic as we previously shared the Top 10 Best and Most Popular Pizzerias in the World, the Top 10 Best Places for First Time Travelers to Visit in the World, and the Top 10 Reasons Why We Celebrate National Pancake Day from the Travel-Food-Drinks category.