British, Traditional Restaurants in London
1. The Bow Wine Vaults British, Traditional restaurant in 10 Bow Church Yd - EC4
“A stalwart for lunches in the City”, this “unpretentious” venue in “lovely Bow Lane by the famous church” has “kept its standards up” for 35 years. The outdoor seating was a major attraction during the pandemic restrictions, and prices are “very reasonable” for the area, while “the boisterous tables make it easy to have confidential chats without being overheard”.
2. Sweetings Fish & seafood restaurant in City 39 Queen Victoria St - EC4
“A unique institution for fish, not to be missed” – this timewarped Victorian curio has been part of life in the Square Mile for as long as anyone can remember (it was founded on a different site in the 1830s and has been here since the 1920s). Seating is fairly crammed and higgledy-piggledy – be it at the counter or in the rear dining room – but that’s all part of its appeal for a besuited clientele who don’t begrudge the daunting prices for simple seafood dishes and proper puds, washed down by the most ardent traditionalists with Black Velvet in pewter tankards.
3. Simpson’s Tavern British, Traditional restaurant in City 38 1/2 Ball Ct, Cornhill - EC3
This “brilliant old-style chophouse” in a City courtyard is “absolutely unique” – and has served classic roasts, grills and a signature “stewed cheese” pudding to a besuited clientele for more than 250 years (although its claim that Samuel Pepys was a customer is stretching it: the diarist had been dead for half a century by the time Thomas Simpson opened for business in 1757!). It is only open for lunch and breakfast – so it’s naturally the “best location for a full English”.
4. Epic Pies British, Traditional restaurant in 53-55 Carter Lane - EC4V
The name says it all about this new ‘Britisserie’ (an ‘authentic British patisserie’), which opened on a corner site near St Paul’s in December 2019. Owners Daniel Jobsz and his mum honed their classic pie-making skills at markets, festivals and pop-ups from 2015 before they found the site, which incorporates a small courtyard. Full English breakfasts (in a tart, of course), plus epic mash and a good list of beers and other drinks complete the formula.
5. Paternoster Chop House British, Traditional restaurant in City 1 Warwick Court - EC4
This City-based grill overlooking St Paul's Cathedral, from D&D London, is pitched firmly at the location’s business diners – but it does have a romantic side, as the location for seven years of ‘reality’ TV show First Dates, starring maître d’ extraordinaire Fred Sirieix, with actors playing the parts of waiting and bar staff.
6. The Swan at the Globe British, Modern restaurant in Southwark 21 New Globe Walk - SE1
“Fab food, awesome views and ambience” make this modern recreation of an Elizabethan tavern – part of the Shakespeare’s Globe theatre complex on the South Bank – a “real delight”, far superior to most tourist-site pit stops. The restaurant features contemporary British cooking, while the bar serves “great high-end pub fare, beautifully presented and in a stunning room overlooking the river”. It’s perfect for pre-theatre dining, naturally, but also works for full meals – thinning out when the audience is called in for the show.
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