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Quintessential comfort food classic mince on dripping toast at Quality Chop House, one of 10 places to eat in a listed building in London
Mince on dripping toast at Quality Chop House
Quality Chop House [Official Photo]

Eat History at These 10 Listed London Restaurants

They’re not just for architecture buffs

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Mince on dripping toast at Quality Chop House
| Quality Chop House [Official Photo]

Another week, another spectacular new London restaurant. Restaurant design gets more extravagant, ambitious, and expensive by the year. But how many of the city’s latest squeezes will look the same in 10 years, 20 years, even 100 years? Which, if any, will have the historical or architectural interest to make it on the National Heritage List? The roster of listed eating places in London includes everything from the grand hotels to ornate department stores, local boozers ,and greasy spoons. How lucky London is to be able to not just gawp at them but explore them, enjoy them, and actually use them. Below are 10 that have stood the test of time.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. L. Manze

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76 High St, Walthamstow
London E17 7LD, UK
020 8520 2855

This Walthamstow pie shop, opened by Luigi Manze in 1929, was Grade II-listed in 2013 for its ‘exceptionally complete interior’. It is indeed a ‘typical and attractive example’ with its tiled counter, pressed tin ceiling and terrazzo floor. Open seven days a week, it sells traditional pies, mash and liquor by day, and on Friday and Saturday evenings it plays host to cocktail and small plates pop-up The Jellied Eel.

2. The Royal Oak, Bethnal Green

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73 Columbia Rd
London E2 7RG, UK

There are many listed boozers in London to choose from but the wood-panelled, Vitrolite-bedecked Royal Oak, as seen in The Krays, stands out as both a fine example of an inter-war public house and of an early 21st century gastropub. Head upstairs to see its swankier side (think bavette steak or whole plaice with caper butter) or enjoy the hurly-burly of the horseshoe bar with a pint and a fish finger sandwich. Est. 1923.

Instagram/@royaloaklondon

3. E Pellicci

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332 Bethnal Green Rd
London E2 0AG, UK

It’s not just the Vitrolite panels, the Art Deco-style marquetry and Formica counter that should be listed at this classic east end caff (founded in 1900, done up in 1946) but the entire cast of characters that frequents it, from Pellicci siblings Anna and Nev to cousin Tony, matriarch Maria and a host of regulars and local soapstars. Solid picks include the full English, lasagne and anything involving chips.

Instagram/@veggieoption

4. The Quality Chop House

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88-94 Farringdon Rd, Farringdon
London EC1R 3EA, UK

The Quality Chop House’s Historic England listing has this timber-panelled treasure as a ‘probably unique example of early C20 working class restaurant, surviving complete with all fittings of high quality’. Now under the careful custodianship of Will Lander and Daniel Morgenthau (Emilia, Portland etc), this place still has the original Victorian oak benches, as punishing to sit on as they ever were. Given enough of chef Shaun Searley’s confit potatoes, however, the body will over time form its own natural padding.

The Quality Chop House [Official]

5. Pizza Express

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30 Coptic St, Bloomsbury
London WC1A 1NS, UK

For a slice of history, head to this handsome Victorian former dairy in Bloomsbury, where Peter Boizot opened his second restaurant in 1967. It may not have the blue plaque of his 1965 Wardour Street debut but, as keen students of the ailing chain will know, it was the first to feature the now distinctive Pizza Express ‘look’ by Italian designer Enzo Apicella. Note the chequerwork marble floor, stained glass and exterior brick cartouches. Order classically here: Fiorentina, Veneziana, La Reine.

Pizza Express restaurant in Oxford Circus has been redesigned to “future-proof” the Italian restaurant chain Pizza Express [Official Photo]

6. Mercato Mayfair

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St. Mark's Church, N Audley St, Mayfair
London W1K 6ZA, UK

This early 19th century Grade I-listed church, after a painstaking restoration and refit, now hosts nine traders, a grocery store, wine cellar and cocktail bar underneath its Romanesque roof. Pop in for gelato at Badiani, pide at Lala or bao buns at Steamy & Co. Cocktails are served at the altar, where the deconsecration process appears to be ongoing.

7. Rules

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

London’s oldest restaurant, founded in 1798, quickly established a name for itself as a safe place for ‘rakes, dandies and superior intelligences’. It’s little changed to this day, only now there are food critics and tourists in the mix too. Take the scenic route to the table (i.e via the bar, where legendary bartender Brian Silva mixes the Martinis) then settle in for jugged hare or suet pudding in the cosseting surrounds of this swirly-carpeted time warp.

Rules Restaurant [Official]

8. Serpentine Bar & Kitchen

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Hyde Park, Serpentine Rd
London W2 2UH, UK

Superfans of design-led property portal The Modern House will be rubbing their Comme-clad thighs at the sight of modernist architect Patrick Gwynne’s 1964 building The Dell, now Benugo’s Serpentine Bar & Kitchen. Perched by the lake, far enough from Winter Wonderland not to be able to hear ‘Santa Baby’ on repeat, the curvy concrete pavilion boasts a Brescia Violetta marble floor, chunky terrazzo seating, windows for days. The best seats are at the ‘trapezoid-shaped tables angled to the zig-zag form of the building’.

Royal Parks [Official]

9. The Cafe on 3 at Debenhams

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315 Lavender Hill, Clapham
London SW11 1QL, UK

There are worse ways to while away an afternoon than over a cream scone and pot of tea at the top floor café at Debenhams in Clapham Junction (Arding and Hobbs, as was). The café doesn’t look much until — lo! — one beholds the stained glass dome above: south London’s very own version of Galeries Lafayette. Let’s not overstate it — this is Lavender Hill, not the Boulevard Haussmann — but as the 1910 building is up for redevelopment in 2020 this may be the last chance to get a squiz at it. Jacket potatoes, £4.95; sausage sandwiches, £3.

Christmas Past and Christmas Present Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

10. Tart

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65 Lordship Ln, East Dulwich
London SE22 8EP, UK

There’s a trove of period details inside this late 19th century grocer’s shop, once a link in the David Greig grocery chain founded in 1870, a year after its great rival Sainsbury’s. The thistle motif on the glazed ceramic tiles and frieze inspired Le Chardon (‘the thistle’) French bistro that stood here for nearly two decades before Tart’s Jason Smith and Adam Harrison took over the site in 2017. It now does Volcano Coffee and a nice line in soups, salads and, obviously, tarts.

Tart London [Official]

1. L. Manze

76 High St, Walthamstow, London E17 7LD, UK

This Walthamstow pie shop, opened by Luigi Manze in 1929, was Grade II-listed in 2013 for its ‘exceptionally complete interior’. It is indeed a ‘typical and attractive example’ with its tiled counter, pressed tin ceiling and terrazzo floor. Open seven days a week, it sells traditional pies, mash and liquor by day, and on Friday and Saturday evenings it plays host to cocktail and small plates pop-up The Jellied Eel.

76 High St, Walthamstow
London E17 7LD, UK

2. The Royal Oak, Bethnal Green

73 Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG, UK
Instagram/@royaloaklondon

There are many listed boozers in London to choose from but the wood-panelled, Vitrolite-bedecked Royal Oak, as seen in The Krays, stands out as both a fine example of an inter-war public house and of an early 21st century gastropub. Head upstairs to see its swankier side (think bavette steak or whole plaice with caper butter) or enjoy the hurly-burly of the horseshoe bar with a pint and a fish finger sandwich. Est. 1923.

73 Columbia Rd
London E2 7RG, UK

3. E Pellicci

332 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 0AG, UK
Instagram/@veggieoption

It’s not just the Vitrolite panels, the Art Deco-style marquetry and Formica counter that should be listed at this classic east end caff (founded in 1900, done up in 1946) but the entire cast of characters that frequents it, from Pellicci siblings Anna and Nev to cousin Tony, matriarch Maria and a host of regulars and local soapstars. Solid picks include the full English, lasagne and anything involving chips.

332 Bethnal Green Rd
London E2 0AG, UK

4. The Quality Chop House

88-94 Farringdon Rd, Farringdon, London EC1R 3EA, UK
The Quality Chop House [Official]

The Quality Chop House’s Historic England listing has this timber-panelled treasure as a ‘probably unique example of early C20 working class restaurant, surviving complete with all fittings of high quality’. Now under the careful custodianship of Will Lander and Daniel Morgenthau (Emilia, Portland etc), this place still has the original Victorian oak benches, as punishing to sit on as they ever were. Given enough of chef Shaun Searley’s confit potatoes, however, the body will over time form its own natural padding.

88-94 Farringdon Rd, Farringdon
London EC1R 3EA, UK

5. Pizza Express

30 Coptic St, Bloomsbury, London WC1A 1NS, UK
Pizza Express restaurant in Oxford Circus has been redesigned to “future-proof” the Italian restaurant chain Pizza Express [Official Photo]

For a slice of history, head to this handsome Victorian former dairy in Bloomsbury, where Peter Boizot opened his second restaurant in 1967. It may not have the blue plaque of his 1965 Wardour Street debut but, as keen students of the ailing chain will know, it was the first to feature the now distinctive Pizza Express ‘look’ by Italian designer Enzo Apicella. Note the chequerwork marble floor, stained glass and exterior brick cartouches. Order classically here: Fiorentina, Veneziana, La Reine.

30 Coptic St, Bloomsbury
London WC1A 1NS, UK

6. Mercato Mayfair

St. Mark's Church, N Audley St, Mayfair, London W1K 6ZA, UK

This early 19th century Grade I-listed church, after a painstaking restoration and refit, now hosts nine traders, a grocery store, wine cellar and cocktail bar underneath its Romanesque roof. Pop in for gelato at Badiani, pide at Lala or bao buns at Steamy & Co. Cocktails are served at the altar, where the deconsecration process appears to be ongoing.

St. Mark's Church, N Audley St, Mayfair
London W1K 6ZA, UK

7. Rules

34-35 Maiden Ln, Charing Cross, London WC2E 7LB, UK
Rules Restaurant [Official]

London’s oldest restaurant, founded in 1798, quickly established a name for itself as a safe place for ‘rakes, dandies and superior intelligences’. It’s little changed to this day, only now there are food critics and tourists in the mix too. Take the scenic route to the table (i.e via the bar, where legendary bartender Brian Silva mixes the Martinis) then settle in for jugged hare or suet pudding in the cosseting surrounds of this swirly-carpeted time warp.

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

8. Serpentine Bar & Kitchen

Hyde Park, Serpentine Rd, London W2 2UH, UK
Royal Parks [Official]

Superfans of design-led property portal The Modern House will be rubbing their Comme-clad thighs at the sight of modernist architect Patrick Gwynne’s 1964 building The Dell, now Benugo’s Serpentine Bar & Kitchen. Perched by the lake, far enough from Winter Wonderland not to be able to hear ‘Santa Baby’ on repeat, the curvy concrete pavilion boasts a Brescia Violetta marble floor, chunky terrazzo seating, windows for days. The best seats are at the ‘trapezoid-shaped tables angled to the zig-zag form of the building’.

Hyde Park, Serpentine Rd
London W2 2UH, UK

9. The Cafe on 3 at Debenhams

315 Lavender Hill, Clapham, London SW11 1QL, UK
Christmas Past and Christmas Present Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

There are worse ways to while away an afternoon than over a cream scone and pot of tea at the top floor café at Debenhams in Clapham Junction (Arding and Hobbs, as was). The café doesn’t look much until — lo! — one beholds the stained glass dome above: south London’s very own version of Galeries Lafayette. Let’s not overstate it — this is Lavender Hill, not the Boulevard Haussmann — but as the 1910 building is up for redevelopment in 2020 this may be the last chance to get a squiz at it. Jacket potatoes, £4.95; sausage sandwiches, £3.

315 Lavender Hill, Clapham
London SW11 1QL, UK

10. Tart

65 Lordship Ln, East Dulwich, London SE22 8EP, UK
Tart London [Official]

There’s a trove of period details inside this late 19th century grocer’s shop, once a link in the David Greig grocery chain founded in 1870, a year after its great rival Sainsbury’s. The thistle motif on the glazed ceramic tiles and frieze inspired Le Chardon (‘the thistle’) French bistro that stood here for nearly two decades before Tart’s Jason Smith and Adam Harrison took over the site in 2017. It now does Volcano Coffee and a nice line in soups, salads and, obviously, tarts.

65 Lordship Ln, East Dulwich
London SE22 8EP, UK

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