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Ratings and reviews

#891 of 15,573 Restaurants in London
Travellers' Choice2022
RATINGS
Food
Service
Value
Atmosphere

Details

CUISINES
European, British
Meals
Lunch, Dinner, After-hours

Location and contact

Covent Garden
0.2 km from Trafalgar Square
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MICHELIN Guide's Point of View

London's oldest restaurant boasts a fine collection of antique cartoons, drawings and paintings. Tradition continues in the menu, specialising in game ...
Read more on MICHELIN Guide
Reviews (4,828)
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Traveller rating
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All reviews steak and kidney pudding potted shrimps oysters rabbit custard pies dover sole potatoes soup salmon bread oldest restaurant visited rules downton abbey traditional british food cocktail bar upstairs english restaurant
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Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Wonderful traditional restaurant producing all the old favourites. We started with a cocktail in the winter garden. No problem with making a bespoke cocktail. Then on to the main event. Smoked salmon and crab to start. Then a venison and steak & kidney pudding. Couldn’t...fault any of it. Great service, too.More

Date of visit: January 2023
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

My husband and I have visited Rules for special occasions over the last thirty years so we brought our son here for lunch post graduation ceremony as we know he too loves visiting here. Had aperitifs in the top floor garden room which was utterly...charming before being shown to our table in the main dining area. Our waitress was a charming French lady. I chose my favourite, the ribeye steak with a Caesar salad side - £28 for just the steak on a plate was steep, especially as it was rather tough and tasteless. My husband and son had the steak and kidney pie and feathered beef respectively, both said theirs was good. The ‘house’ red wine was stunning. The ambience and decor are a delight as are the staff but the food wasn’t quite up to the high standards that we remember. That said, we shall return.More

Date of visit: January 2023
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

I really wanted to like this restaurant; after all , it has history and a reputation. Unfortunately, the experience was not as I had hoped. I knew that I had to scare my table after 2 hours, but to be reminded of that as soon...as we arrived left a sour taste. The serving staff were excellent but the food was minimally better than I have had at many.other much cheaper restaurants. Im sorry Rules, the experience just did not meet with my expectations and I will not be retuning.More

Date of visit: January 2023
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Rules has a great reputation and so I was expecting to be made to feel special when visiting on my actual 50th birthday. A point my husband had mentioned when booking. On entering the restaurant I was disappointed to be told immediately that the table...was needed back dead on 2pm as they were busy. I understand it was near Christmas but unfortunately you cannot change your birth date. I politely mentioned to our waitress that it was a little disappointing and asked that we were not rushed between courses and if there was a bar that we could go to within the restaurant to have a drink after we had eaten. Our waitress was lovely and asked that I remind her before ordering dessert for her to reserve a seat upstairs in the bar. My food was delicious, although personally having eaten at many fine dining establishments, there was a small part of me that also felt that we were paying a lot for something that wasn't particular special. Even more so given that each dish requires a side be it potatoes or a bit of veg. Both of which are chargeable. (I appreciate veg for example can be chargeable but you normally have your food served with something else on a plate). The bar upstairs with its colonial feel is definitely relaxing and I would most definitely return for a drink but having now dined, I feel its a box ticked but could not say that I would return. Maybe at another time of year there would be a different experience which is a shame as the restaurant is decorated beautifully at Christmas time but as mentioned to be told in what felt like an abrupt way that the table was needed and then to see the same person speak to our waitress again to remind her that the table was required left you feeling like the restaurant is more like a conveyor belt.More

Date of visit: December 2022
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Our 5th dinner at Rules was arguably our best. The atmosphere is always a winner and the menu is inviting. The rib of beef is our go-to choice. There is that special something about Rules which fosters comfortable conversation and warm feelings. Our waitress was...quite a character and added to the experience. As the stroke of midnight neared I started a count down from ten seconds. Staff and patrons joined in and we all toasted the New Year. What a wonderful time!More

Date of visit: December 2022
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

You have to go and live a culinary wonderful experiences, the oldest restaurant in London, oh my god… it’s amazing the place, the waiters and the food, everything it’s a magical experience.

Date of visit: January 2023
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

What a place, the ambiance, food, Cocktail Bar all 10/10. The only slight criticism is the value, £5.50 for potatoes etc needed to add to the main courses. Would definitely return.

Date of visit: January 2023
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Most of the reviews over the last few months will tell you that rules has deteriorated badly. I wish I had taken them seriously before attending. It was new year’s eve 2022 and my boyfriends 30th. What a disaster. Also we emailed the restaurant to...complain about our experience, like another poor reviewer, we received no response. Two of us arrived in the pouring rain with sopping wet coats, only one older man on duty who took about 10 minutes to take our coats. Before helping us, he proceeded to serve someone else who had just walked in. Not a great start. Now time for the food, firstly the service was poor. No one explained the menu and they seemed to want to rush the order. For example, when I ordered the oysters they didn’t bother asking which ones (there were at least 2 varieties on the menu), they didn’t care. When the food arrived…oh wow. The oysters weren’t prepared properly they were unpleasant. Then 2 of us had the pheasant, one was bloody and uncooked the order tough and overcooked. The other 2 had braised venison, both of which were chewy and overcooked. Why wasn’t there a quality check in the kitchen? Puddings fine. We were celebrating so didn’t want to embarrass our guests by complaining at the time but we were always going to follow up with a message of complaint. This was a milestone birthday celebration with family visiting from overseas, we had recommended this restaurant so you can imagine the embarrassment we felt when the food was so poor. For a restaurant with such a great heritage, it’s shocking how far things have fallen. No staff asked us how our meal was so we just left feeling hungry and deflated. Clearly there are staffing issues and maybe budget ones too, perhaps they have changed suppliers as the quality of the produce has dipped big time. Please avoid this place until they sort themselves out. Also, management, if you fail to respond to customer messages about their experiences, they’ll be forced to post publicly like I’m doing now. Big mistake. Word gets around….More

Date of visit: December 2022
Helpful?4  
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

We arrived at Rules around 10:30pm on the last week of December for a late dinner under reservations we made online. We just finished the Back to the Future show at Adelphi theater across the street and a proper English afternoon tea at Harrod’s across...the street so were already dressed in semi-formal attire. The gentlemen hosts upon entrance were very business-like and sophisticated (a more formal tone which reminded me of private membership dinning rooms in Manhattan or old school Houston), which worked well. We were searched at a comfortable table in a smaller dinning room at the main level. Our waitress was nice and friendly. The decor and atmosphere were the best part - elegant, sophisticated and traditional showing its history, beauty and charm throughout the restaurant. In particular, the holiday decorations were extensively planted in detail throughout in a colorful uplifting display but integrating well with the historic upscale charm. The lamb was tender and cooked perfectly. There was a separate vegetarian menu and the wine list a bit more extensive than many other restaurants. Even the simple stuff like the ceasar salad was good. They also accommodated our prior special requests made during our reservation, which was much appreciated. Overall this is definitely worth a visit to appreciate the continuing charm of the oldest restaurant in London (est 1798) and deserving of a higher TripAdvisor ranking. Thank you to the restaurant! Tip: great for a business dinner or somewhat formal celebratory events.More

Date of visit: December 2022
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

My family of four dined here over the holidays. The food was fantastic. I had the venison. I have eaten quite a lot of venison over the years, as my father-in-law hunts quite a bit, here in Indiana. The taste of the venison at Rules...was delicious, could not be better. But, in my own opinion it tasted more like beef than the venison I am used to eating. Anyway, I don't know where the deer at Rules came from, obviously not Indiana. Could that make a difference? Finally, our server "Cesar" was just so kind and made us all feel at ease, explaining the menu and making suggestions. He even raced after us when my wife forgot her scarf.More

Date of visit: January 2023
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Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

We visit Rules from time to time when we are in London. We have always thought it was a good experience This time it was amazing The food , the service the ambience !!! We look soo much fw to come again

Date of visit: December 2022
Helpful?1  
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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We have been coming to Rules as a special treat at Christmas for over ten years! We were SO disappointed with the food ! My starter of smoked salmon was so meagre and the thick ugly chunk of bread awful !£18.95 really? Then our main...was rib of beef which we have every year because it's usually delicious. This year it was a total gristle disaster! The Yorkshire puddings were slightly burnt and the vegetables were lukewarm and no roast potatoes were available! Why? Perhaps too much trouble for the chef!!!Disgraceful for £90!!!! The staff were as usual wonderful and attentive and we didn't complain because we were with our family and didn't want to cause a fuss and spoil the treat! We will never go back there unless we see excellent reviews! Rules are existing on their hitherto excellent reputation!!!More

Date of visit: December 2022
Helpful?1  
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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Allow me to preface this review: two days earlier I contracted food poisoning and I was a bit of a mess. Rules is a complete sensory experience. My dehydrated and delirious mind could barely process the environment, let alone the waiters who seemed upset that...we had a late reservation and two Americans in our group. I can summarize the experience best by referring you to the music video for Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker's "Don't Come Around Here". So be of sound mind upon arrival. If you aren't, you won't be able to keep up with the snark and melodrama unfolding between the staff. The menu was simple but each dish seemed very carefully developed and thoughtfully prepared, with the exception of the dry steak and kidney pie. The beef was excellent.More

Date of visit: December 2022
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Reviewed 5 weeks ago

Went here today because our son remembered a wonderful meal here several years ago. What a total change. It's like the place has been taken over from aliens or people from some other part of the world who have no idea about English traditions or...cooking. Our waitress could not answer the most basic questions about the menu, which has become much more basic than in the past. That could be a plus with more care taken over each dish, but sadly it wasn't the case. The only half decent dish was the steak, the steak and kidney pudding was a stodgy, tasteless disaster, the lamb simply mediocre. It's a shame because the place itself is still lovely, but that doesn't make up for high priced mediocre food and poor service. We won't be going back again.More

Date of visit: December 2022
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Reviewed 18 December 2022 via mobile

Becoming a birthday/Christmas tradition. Service excellent,food fabulous, Christmas decorations amazing as always. Service charge of £30 a bit steep but us optional do we could fave declined ,however would have felt rather churlish because as previously stated it was great. Special place.

Date of visit: December 2022
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Questions & Answers
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W4585UHhelenh
20 January 2023|
AnswerShow all 5 answers
Response from NorthStar34073858534 | Reviewed this property |
Not sure
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Harold C
29 April 2022|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from raffles7 | Reviewed this property |
Hello Harold, This is one of my favourite restaurants in London. Everything is perfect, from the service, the ambience, the wine and the food. Do try the game, such as pheasant or venison. Have a look at their menu online... More
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AmyDesi
18 November 2021|
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Response from AnneandSpot | Reviewed this property |
We had a fabulous meal - didn’t see a cream tea but you could email Rules and ask
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RULES RESTAURANT, London - Covent Garden - Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Rules Restaurant

Rules Restaurant is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travellers:
  • Food: 4.5
  • Service: 4.5
  • Value: 4
  • Atmosphere: 4.5