Meat and mushed potatoes in the plate.
Meat and mushed potatoes in the plate.
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Rules

London

The Best Traditional Restaurants in London

Discover the best traditional restaurants in London, recommended by World of Mouth experts.

Updated on Jan 27, 2024 | World of Mouth team

London's vibrant culinary scene offers all kinds of modern dining experiences, but still traditional restaurants continue to thrive for good reason. If you are looking for a traditional meal in London, from a full English brekfast in East London to pork pies in Holborn, this guide is for you. The list includes some of the best restaurants for a traditional taste of London's culinary offerings, including institutions such as St. John, Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill, and Gordon's Wine Bar.

The picks are chosen based on personal recommendations from World of Mouth experts such as Matthew Burgess, David J Constable, and Santiago Lastra, who have recommended these spots in the World of Mouth app. So go on, these London culinary institutions are waiting for you!

St. JOHN Restaurant

26 St John St, Barbican

26 St John St, Barbican, London EC1M 4AY, UK

St. JOHN Restaurant, a Michelin-starred establishment, is known for its iconic nose-to-tail dining approach and simple yet perfect dishes. The menu, crafted by legendary chef Fergus Henderson, focuses on using every part of the animal and offering clear-cut, direct flavors that reflect traditional British cuisine. With a philosophy of simplicity and rigor, St. JOHN also offers an all-French wine list, sourced from its own winery in La Livinière, France.

Recommended by

Temple of gastronomy and place of pilgrimage, try the caracu.

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St. JOHN Restaurant

St. JOHN Restaurant

26 St John St, Barbican

26 St John St, Barbican, London EC1M 4AY, UK

St John Bread and Wine

94-96 Commercial St

94-96 Commercial St, London E1 6LZ, UK

St John Bread and Wine is a renowned establishment, known for its simple yet extremely tasty dishes, as well as its warm and welcoming atmosphere. It's a part of the St John family, and like its sibling in Farringdon, it champions nose to tail cooking. Visitors can enjoy a variety of meals throughout the day, from a slow Sunday lunch to a hearty dinner, all prepared by Head Chef Farokh Talati.

Recommended by

Fantastic simple food and lovely atmosphereSt. John or St. John Bread and Wine is a must-visit when in London.I had a long slow Sunday lunch here and everything was just perfect. The service was so professional, welcoming and friendly. The food was so simple plated and extremely tasty. Loved the grilled mackerel with chicory and green sauce. Could have sat there for many hours and just watch and follow them work and enjoy the atmosphere of the restaurant.

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St John Bread and Wine

St John Bread and Wine

94-96 Commercial St

94-96 Commercial St, London E1 6LZ, UK

Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill

11-15 Swallow St

11-15 Swallow St, London W1B 4DG, UK

Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill is a well-established seafood restaurant, specializing in oysters, fish, and grilled steaks. Known for its fresh produce from the sea, the restaurant offers a diverse menu including delectable oysters, rock and native, plain and dressed, and rich, tasty bouillabaisse. With over a century of history, Bentley's continues to be a haven for seafood lovers, serving quality dishes under the guidance of Michelin star Chef Richard Corrigan.

Recommended by

The heart of LondonWelcoming seafood restaurant in the heart of Piccadilly. Been dining here countless of times and always recommend it to friends visiting London. Would suggest sitting at the downstairs oyster bar, if space. They serve the best oysters the Island can offer.

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Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill

Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill

11-15 Swallow St

11-15 Swallow St, London W1B 4DG, UK

Gymkhana

42 Albemarle St

42 Albemarle St, London W1S 4JH, UK

Gymkhana is a spot for refined Indian cooking, offering a mix of classic and contemporary dishes. The restaurant is known for its aromatic and flavorsome meals, cooked to perfection, with a generous portion size. Notable dishes include Keema with brain and any of the Dum Biryani, enjoyed in a beautifully decorated setting.

Recommended by

One of, if not the best, Indian restaurants in London. Everything is so flavoursome, aromatic and cooked to perfection. Portions are generous so go easy on ordering. Not all traditional dishes but there’s a beautiful balance of classic and contemporary cooking here. Beautiful decor too.

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Gymkhana

Gymkhana

42 Albemarle St

42 Albemarle St, London W1S 4JH, UK

Gordon's Wine Bar

47 Villiers St

47 Villiers St, London WC2N 6NE, UK

Established in 1890, Gordon's Wine Bar is believed to be the oldest wine bar, offering an extensive selection of wines and a variety of French-style food. The bar provides an alluring ambience with its vaulted candlelit cellar, old oak barrels filled with sherries and port, and walls adorned with historic photographs and newspaper clippings. With an outdoor seating area under heated awnings, a diverse food menu including over 15 different cheeses, charcuterie, and vegetarian and vegan options, Gordon's Wine Bar ensures a memorable experience for wine lovers.

Recommended by

The oldest wine bar in the city in a space full of history.Gordons Wine Bar was established in 1890 and is believed to be the oldest wine bar in the city. Since then, it has been a bastion of great wine and great French-style food in London. And it fits right under the embankment inside the old caves.

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Gordon's Wine Bar

Gordon's Wine Bar

47 Villiers St

47 Villiers St, London WC2N 6NE, UK

Holborn Dining Room

252 High Holborn

252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN, UK

Holborn Dining Room is a bustling brasserie in the heart of London, known for its exceptional British cuisine with a twist. The restaurant's standout dish is the pork and bacon pie, a creation of chef Calum Franklin, encased in a golden crust and served with shiny veal gravy. Besides their iconic pies, Holborn Dining Room also offers a wide range of British dishes, a sizable gin selection with over 400 bottles, and a private dining venue known as The Pie Room.

Recommended by

A temple of Pie perfection by chef Calum Franklin. Go for the pork and bacon pie in a golden crust.Meat pies are an essential part of the British cuisine, and there’s plenty of pies around in London. One of the temples of pie perfection is the Pie Room at the busy Holborn Dining Room brasserie in the Rosewood Hotel. Here, chef Calum Franklin and his team has dug very deep into all things around pies, resulting in a new wave of British pie artistry. Go for the pork and bacon pie encased in a golden pie crust, baked to order and served with a shiny veal gravy, or any of the other pies or baked things (Beef Wellington, chicken pie, pithiviers). Don’t miss a starter of Scotch eggs with runny yolks or gin cured salmon. On the constantly changing menu there’s many other great British dishes like smoked haddock, a proper Sunday roast and trifle for dessert. Gin enthusiasts should also head for the Gin bar with some 400 bottles in the selection.

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Holborn Dining Room

Holborn Dining Room

252 High Holborn

252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN, UK

Norman’s Cafe

263 Hool Cl

263 Hool Cl, London NW9 8UG, UK

Norman’s Cafe is a humble British establishment situated between an upholstery shop and an off-license on Junction Road. The interior is simple and unpretentious, featuring a black and white chequered tile floor, red and white chequered fabric curtains, and a framed Bobby Moore World Cup 1966 photo. The menu offers a variety of dishes, including the Full English works, and rotates weekly with options like kedgeree, fish pie, pea risotto, chicken tikka masala, and kippers on toast.

Recommended by

The Great British Cafe remains a cultural institution that’s as compelling as it is a cultural treasureThe cafe on Junction Road is perched unassumingly between an upholstery shop and an off-license on a scruffy stretch leading to Archway. It has no hype-stoking publicist or former Masterchef winner at the stove, but the buzz is real. Buddies Richie Hayes and Elliot Kaye opened the old-school British cafe in November last year, mid-pandemic. They gutted and renovated the entire place in just two months. Inside is small and unfussy, with simple tables and chairs. There is a framed Bobby Moore World Cup 1966 photo on the wall next to a humming refrigerator lined with cans of Stella and juice cartons. They have a black-white chequered tile floor and red-white chequered fabric curtains. Each table is fixed with the Holy Trinity of ketchup, brown sauce and Colman’s English Mustard.The menu is concise and direct, brilliantly priced with the Full English works and rotating weekly menus. Looking at Instagram, I can see that lunch options vary, from kedgeree, fish pie, pea risotto, chicken tikka masala and kippers on toast. Simple food done well. They also offer dinner and natural wine on Thursday and Friday evenings.

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Norman’s Cafe

Norman’s Cafe

263 Hool Cl

263 Hool Cl, London NW9 8UG, UK

E Pellicci

332 Bethnal Grn Rd

332 Bethnal Grn Rd, London E2 0AG, UK

E Pellicci is a longstanding restaurant in East London, known for its Italian cuisine and traditional English breakfast. The establishment has been serving the community since 1900, and is currently managed by the third generation of the original family. Customers often recommend the Full English Breakfast, and appreciate the friendly staff and genuine East London atmosphere.

Recommended by

Genuine East London greasy spoon atmosphere and a great place for Full English breakfast.My favourite greasy spoon cafe in East London for Full English Breakfast. Pelliccis on Bethnal Green Road opened in 1900 and is now run by the third generation of the same family. Mostly Italian menu and Full English Breakfast. Friendly staff (as long as you finish your plate) and great place for East Londoner spotting.

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E Pellicci

E Pellicci

332 Bethnal Grn Rd

332 Bethnal Grn Rd, London E2 0AG, UK

The Ritz Restaurant

150 Piccadilly, St. James's

150 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9BR, UK

The Ritz Restaurant is a Michelin-starred establishment known for its elegant classics and old-school French cooking. The restaurant offers a stunning dining room and a menu that combines traditional cooking with modern touches. With live music performances and a focus on providing a memorable experience, the Ritz Restaurant is a perfect destination for those seeking a timeless dining experience.

Recommended by

Going back in timeEating at the Ritz in London takes you back in time and I don’t mean in it in the bad sense of the word. In fact the complete opposite. The architecture goes back to 1903 and is in Louis XVI style which is impressive not only when you enter but also throughout the meal. So much to see! Live music performances. The menu is classic but with lots of modern touches. FOH is dramatic but shines very bright here with Giacomo as the star. Perfectly executed preparations at the table with fun exchanges in between were the cherry on top of the visit to the Ritz.

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The Ritz Restaurant

The Ritz Restaurant

150 Piccadilly, St. James's

150 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9BR, UK

Rules

34-35 Maiden Ln

34-35 Maiden Ln, London WC2E 7LB, UK

Rules is a historic restaurant in London, renowned for serving traditional British food since 1798. The menu is particularly noted for its classic game cookery, including grouse, partridge, duck, pigeon, and guinea fowl, with the steak and kidney pudding being a standout favorite. The ambiance of Rules is reminiscent of a warm family hug, providing comfort and joy through its hearty, classic British grub and carafes of claret.

Recommended by

Proper big, hearty, classic British grub and carafes of claretLondon's oldest restaurant. Opened in 1798, the year Napoleon opened his campaign in Egypt. Serving proper big, hearty, classic British grub and carafes of claret. Food is at its best in Game Season - grouse and partridge, especially (Grey Legs are indigenous to Britain and Northern Europe, and are better tasting than Red-Legged partridge). Duck, pigeon and guinea fowl all brilliant, too. A soft, silken steak and kidney pudding is my absolute favourite, with buttered cabbage and rivers of gravy. I visit once a year, it has become ritual. This is classic food that's like a family hug, all comfort and joy.

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Rules

Rules

34-35 Maiden Ln

34-35 Maiden Ln, London WC2E 7LB, UK

Beigel Bake Brick Lane Bakery

159 Brick Ln

159 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB, UK

Beigel Bake Brick Lane Bakery is a well-established eatery in East London, known for its hot salt beef bagels served with pickles and mustard. Since 1974, it has been a part of the area's rich Jewish food culture, operating 24/7 and producing a remarkable number of fresh bagels daily. Besides their signature salt beef bagel, other commendable items include the salmon and cream cheese bagels, strudel, and cheesecake.

Recommended by

A true East London institution. 24/7 hot salt beef bagels with pickles and mustard. The bagel bakeries on Brick Lane are part of East London’s Jewish food tradition. Beigel Bake has been around since 1974 and is open 24 hours every day of the week. Churning out an impressive amount of fresh bagels in the bakery in the back of the building, the must try is the hot salt beef (corned beef brisket) in a bagel with pickles and mustard. The pro tip is to wait for a new tray of salt beef arriving to the window where it’s sliced for the bagels. Also try the salmon and cream cheese, strudel and cheese cake.

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Beigel Bake Brick Lane Bakery

Beigel Bake Brick Lane Bakery

159 Brick Ln

159 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB, UK

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