Food and history in London’s listed restaurants
In a city as established as London, it is no surprise to find restaurants in historic buildings, many of them with grade I or II listed status. The architectural and artistic merit of these buildings adds an extra thrill as you eat where people have dined for centuries and where famous figures may have enjoyed their meals as much as you are enjoying yours.
Five London restaurants in listed buildings:
- Quo Vadis is a Soho restaurant in an eighteenth-century terraced house. It gained listed status due to it once being the home of Karl Marx. As well as the restaurant and bar, there are also two private dining rooms. One of them is called, most appropriately, the Marx Room.George and Vulture in Hoxton claims to be London’s tallest pub. This building dates back to the early eighteenth century. If you dine here, as you tuck into your sour dough pizza, remember that you are eating in an establishment that was once a haunt of Charles Dickens.
- It will be of no surprise to anyone who dines at Criterion in Piccadilly that this listed building has many of its original nineteenth-century features still evident in the elegant restaurant today. Mentioned in classic fiction as the place where Watson first heard of Sherlock Holmes, it has also featured in ITV’s Downton Abbey.
- The Gilbert Scott in St Pancras is named after its architect, George Gilbert Scott. In 2011, it underwent a renovation to restore its original gothic splendour. Enjoy classic British dishes in this historic restaurant.
- Rules in Covent Garden is London’s oldest restaurant, having opened in 1798. Today, the restaurant owes much of its design to the 1873 rebuild by Alfred Cross for the then-proprietor Benjamin Rule. Threatened with demolition in the 1970s, the restaurant was spoken up for by author Sir John Betjeman and many others.