Sweetings was established in 1889 and little seems to have changed at this time warp since the last days of the British Empire. There are some things Sweetings doesn't do: reservations, dinner, coffee, or weekends. It does, mercifully, do seafood—and rather well. Not far from St. Paul's Cathedral, and kitted out with Victoriana, Colonel Blimp, and sporting cartoons, the restaurant is patronized by pinstriped City gents who down pewter tankards of Black Velvet (Guinness and Champagne) and love to eat potted shrimps, roe on toast, Dover sole, and skate wings with black butter sauce, all this perched on high stools at white linen-covered raised wooden counters. West Mersea oysters are fresh and plump, and desserts like spotted dick or baked jam roll are timeless public school favorites. The long-serving waitstaff wear funereal black and white and know all the regulars.
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