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Come, escape the 21st century. Opened by Thomas Rule in 1798, London's oldest restaurant is, according to some, still London's most beautiful. The main dining salons are, indeed, an all-round olde-world wonderland, what Maxim's is to Paris. The décor begins with the plush red banquettes, lacquered yellow walls, and spectacular etched-glass skylights. Then, in High Victorian fashion, every nook and cranny is covered with vintage needlepoints, Regency oil paintings, antique clocks, stuffed pheasants, antlers, bronze figurines, and hundreds of framed prints. Little wonder Rules has been a stage across which everyone from Charles Dickens to Laurence Olivier has pranced. For your shining day—be sure to ask for a table in one of the "glass house" skylight rooms, the bar area, or the cute Maggie Thatcher corner—dig into the menu's pricey and historic British dishes, such as steak-and-kidney pie, jugged hare, or roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. For a real taste of the 18th century, you can choose, in season, daily specials of fabulous game from the restaurant's High Pennines estate, including grouse, partridge, snipe, and woodcock.
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